The old man thought that she was drunk!
We don’t expect a Jewish monk
With sacrilegious sons to see
Much more in Hannah’s ecstasy.
The blind will gaze at the divine
No matter where, and call it wine.
And yet old Eli spoke for God
(God takes a bramble for his rod!):
“The son you sought from heaven’s throne,
And suffered for, will soon be sown.
You suckle him ’til he is three,
Then bring the gift of God to me.”
Her heart was glad to have the long
Awaited child. A son! A song!
A sacred vow to have… and lose…
Her only child…Might they abuse?
My God! My God! What have I done?
My joy! My jewel! My only son!
To grow with Phineas the priest,
The shame of Shiloh, and the beast,
His brother Hophni?”
Night by night
She woke amid the horrid dream:
Two beasts, one child, the cry: “Blaspheme!
Come little Samuel, don’t fear;
We’ll show you how to hold your beer,
And carve from every sacrifice
Some sirloin for yourself and nice
Young lady when you’re old enough
To learn about such priestly stuff.”
And night by night she wept and prayed,
“O God, to whom my vow was made,
I meant that Samuel should dwell
With you, not in that priestly hell.
If Eli’s sons are uncontrolled,
What hope for him at three years old?
But she had made a vow to God
And when the time was come she trod
The way to Shiloh. And she said,
“The boy is God’s ’til he is dead.”
She turned and made her way toward home,
And put her hope in God: “Shalom,
My son, and keep the altar lit.
Fear not the forces of the pit.
The Lord our God will conquer them.”
And so it was at Bethlehem,
And is: some give their only son
To light the flame of candle one.