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The Song of Miriam   (From “Timbrel” – Finishing Line Press, 2013)

(Awarded Second Prize in Artists Embassy International's 2018 Dancing Poetry Contest and read at awards ceremony at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, September 2018)

Verse 1:           Prophecy

Abba, Father of Abraham, Great I AM,

I awake from the New Moon dream

tell the women we shall soon dance in the middle of the sea

watch our enemies vanish, water washing over them

Get your timbrels ready

sisters, mothers, daughters

ready to follow me

in a dance of victory

With each New Moon, we rehearse the dance

Lifting our instruments to heaven

cloud by day, fire by night

In the dance, we take our flight

The prophecy takes root

in a watery, dark womb

my hips bring it forth

in a great cry of praise

You Abba made me leader of this dance

I speak Your truths in wordless song

Sisters and brothers, it won’t be long

till the water breaks and

brings the dawn

Verse 2:           Moving to the Beat

The music makes our journey flow

We move in military formation from Succoth to Etham

On the edge of the wilderness

I play and we chant as we march

Glory to You, God in the Highest,                                                    

Our strong deliverer leading us onward

And we will not be afraid

I shake the eternal circle of praise

Dancing in captivity back in Egypt

and now in freedom

at births, in the death watch

Circling those coming and going

Pleasure always mixed with pain

I stay true to my calling,

Oh Great I AM, I remain

Faithful to Your dance

Sunrise over the Wheat Field

Sleeping with the Serpent

                                                            ~For Aunt Mary Ellen

On threshing day, she said,

we emptied the straw tick mattresses

poured the old chaff into the pig sty,

washed the cotton sacks and hung them

to dry in early autumn sun.

None of us saw the black snake slither

into the pile of new straw.

He did not move when we picked up the stack

and stuffed it into the large pillow case,

sewing the prison shut.

Uncle slept atop the hibernating serpent

until spring came, the mattresses were

once again emptied for washing, and out

crawled the survivor –

well rested, resurrected.

~Marianne Mersereau (Appeared in The Hollins Critic, April 2019) 

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