Poem: Samson’s Temple


Samson’s Temple

The words

come                     slowly.

Like a man in search
of a miracle, you struggle

to carve them out of the stone
of your emotions.

Each letter.
Each word.
Each naked phrase chiseled
out of illusion,
a harder thing…….. than stone.

less real.
more imprisoning.

You lift the chisel. Cold and hard.

You swing the hammer. Cold and hard.
There are walls to tear down. Walls

you built, taking the words of others,
and making them tablets of stone:
dark edifices,

You can not blame those who loved you with hate.
You can not blame the historical enemies,
those you earned and those that betrayed you.

You have to admit
as good as they are at congealing lies
into stone blocks, heavy and strong,
You have surpassed them.

Their mantra has become yours.
Their stones, so readily thrown like Pharasees,
have become yours, leaving you

in the dark. Nothing

where it should be.

And so you take the chisel. Cold and hard.
You grasp the hammer. Cold and hard.
It is time to leave the dark prison behind.
The stone was rubble all along,
and cannot face the cold hard truth,
that your offenses were always small,
and forgiveness always the greater thing.
Your worth always the greater thing.
The stone walls far more frail than you made them,
ready to collapse into rubble at the slightest resistance,
a temple of lies, just waiting for Samson’s touch.

You swing the hammer.

About this poem

A poem about the lies we tell ourselves and how they become both temple and prison.

For those of you whose bible is a bit rusty,  Samson was a great warrior and protector of Israel. His strength was God-given and resided (real or symbolically) in his hair, and when he was deceived by Delilah, he became weak, and prisoner of Israel’s enemies. But in the end, scourged and blinded, chained to the columns of his enemies’ temple, he regained his strength, and with his strength returned, pulled down the columns of stone and brought down the temple, and destroyed his enemies.  (if you want to know more,  and it’s quite the tale, with a moral element as well, it is in the Book of Judges, chapters 13-16.)

The picture was taken at one of the canals on the Erie Canal system, one state over from my little corner of Vermont.





























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