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My Name Is Ishmael

A Poem by:

Roger B. Humes

Colourful Bar


Copyright shall at all times remain vested in the Author. No part of the work shall be used, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the Author's express written consent.

my name is ishmael

i come from the desert

where i was abandoned with my mother

by a man whose face i no longer remember

although the defeat shouldered on his back

as he walked away will never leave my mind


my name is ishmael

i come from the desert

where i lay under a bush with no food or water

while the sun burnt through like fire and beneath

the concerned touch of my mother’s hand

i fell into a long dream


where i gazed at the stories that unfolded

about three strands that twisted into the same rope

so that only those of each thread

could ever tell any disparity between them


the blood of sacrifice broke the seal

when the knife was stayed for the sake of the child

at the time the lamb appeared to take his place

in a land where man had eaten from the tree of life

and no one was sure if the serpent

was banished for eternity or had become

the guardian of the gate


the mark of cain stained the land

as one man fell by the road blinded for the lack of faith

and a king was punished for lusting another’s wife

and a woman danced for a prophet’s head

and trumpets brought down the walls of a city

and words on clay tablets too wise for men were broken in despair


i walked the streets of the city of seven hills

as i watched the beast uncaged and the pale rider

thunder forth while the pharisees prayed

in the temple hopeful the audience

that viewed them would accept a destiny

where a brother could steal the birthright of another


then although the bush still burned the air grew cool

and before me i beheld an angel terrible radiant beautiful

who spoke softly that we were safe and i felt

the water of life touch my lips with the sweet taste of faith


the angel said “one day the loss shall be lifted

from the shoulders of your father

and together you will offer hope

to the generations like many rivers

diverging as one until they meet the sea”


he slowly faded from our sight as we arose

and journeyed on into the story of our lives

which is still being written at this moment

when i gaze upon a new sunrise and tell you


my name is ishmael

i come from the desert


Roger B. Humes
Copyright © 2003

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