Monday, March 10, 2014


Now, Mama Deborah was a prophet;
she knew what would happen.
She’d said a woman
was going to get the job done.

Sisera had been
dreaming of spoils—silver,
and purple garment plunder,
a woman on each shoulder—
his mother, so proud.

Until his mighty 900
were swept away
in the torrent of Kishon,
and he alone, on foot, found Jael.

And let’s just say
the stars were not aligned
in his favor.

You’d like some water?
I can do better,
here’s some milk.

Get cozy,
here’s a blanket,
that’s right,
take a load off.
There now,
rest your head—

they may not have made swords
fitted for feminine hands,
but trust me, a woman
knows how to get creative
when she must—

you may feel
a little sting;
this peg, this hammer
are no
small things.

And it happened, just
like Mama said.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Notes:  Deborah was a prophetess and judge (and poetsmiles) in ancient Israel.  Sisera was a notorious commander of the army of the Canaanites who had oppressed the Israelites for many years.  Jael was the woman who defeated him by driving a tent peg through his temple with a hammer, pinning his head to the ground. 

To read both prose and poetic accounts of the story of these heroines go here:  Judges 4, 5.


Wendy Bourke said...

An interesting tale. Leading an army against invaders – certainly qualifies as an achievement. (And here I thought I was a Busy Bee.) Loved: “let’s just say the stars were not aligned in his favor”. A clever spin on an old story.

Anonymous said...

I thought this most interesting to read and how excellently you wrote it.


Fireblossom said...

The wife of Heber! Don't turn your back on her, she's a serious woman!

RMP said...

I admit, I had not heard this story 'til now. You did a lovely retelling.... no, they may not have made a sword for woman's hands, but would we really expect such a thing to stop a woman?

Brian Miller said...

dang...its a vicious story....can you imagine driving a tent peg through someones head...geez....

Laura said...

excellent retelling of this ancient tale!

Magyar said...

two strikes, three
a payment's peg driven deep
one flame quenched


Preeti S. said...

Wow. Fairly new characters for me, but what an interesting back-story. Never underestimate the power of a woman, eh? Great post.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

This is exactly why women should rule the world :)

janetld said...

Wow, that was an achievement!
Enjoyed reading this most-interesting poem!

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

Loved the story here and how you told it!

ayala said...

Beautifully told !

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Whoa! A side of womanhood not often looked at. You wrote this so well, the denouement comes as a shock.