February 27, 2020

Poem: Shemot

A new King rose over Egypt who did not know Joseph.

It is in our nature to be fruitful and multiply.

To grow strong when left alone. 

To win Nobel prizes and invent technology
that turns salt into sweet.

So, centuries into our stay in the narrow place
it is no surprise the locals became nervous.

It may be the first time the Israelites
are referred to as a problem.

But it won’t be the last.

Every son who is born you shall cast into the Nile
This is where the idea of
the strong woman was invented.

Shifrah and Pooah,
the midwives who refused to
follow Pharaoh’s instructions,
who let the boys live.

Yocheved, who floated her son
down the river to save him from those
who would put him
in the river.

Miriam who followed a waterproof basket
who tricked a princess into
letting a baby return to
his mother.

Pharaoah’s daughter
who doesn’t get a name
who defied her father
and raised a Hebrew child
as her own.

This is where the idea of
the strong woman was invented.

There would be no Moses
without them.

Behold the bush was burning, but not consumed
Enter the reluctant hero

Shoes off and having a conversation with the Lord
Speech impediment and all.

Armed with miracles and
a well spoken brother.

Did I mention the fancy stick?

You’re not going to impressayone
without a fancy stick.

Takes a meeting with the Pharaoh.

Tells him we’re Milk and Honey bound.

Doesn’t go well. Now the people
have to make bricks out of nothing.

The first reported case of kvetching
happens right here.

Pharaoh snickering in one corner.
Moses, the referee.

The Lord on the other side of the ring
dancing like a prize fighter
who hasn’t even started yet.


Rick Lupert, a poet, songleader and graphic designer, is the author of 23 books including “God Wrestler: A Poem for Every Torah Portion.”