Kevin O’Byrne, LC
in light the Wood was made which with the fallen fruit was fraught
the water ceased and to the Wood both wood and bow were brought
no land no lamb a test complete Wood laid upon the son
for flocks and wives the Wood in hand the duel with God was done
from bond blood Wood and water pass to law that gold did break
the king did dance with golden Wood but ewe the man did take
in time fulfilled true lamb on Wood
poured forth first fruits of water good.
This poem is about Salvation History, it is about the seven covenants in the bible.
Everything in the poem revolves around the number seven. There are seven lines, except the last one is broken into two which represents the eighth day of the resurrection.
Each line has seven groups of Iambs making them iambic heptameter, all except for the seventh/eighth line which put together has eight iambs.
It also follows a basic pattern of Creation, Fall, Redemption
Creation – in these lines there is creation, water, life and promises made that find their fulfillment in Christ
Line 1: Adam – this is about Creation, the Tree of Life/Knowledge of Good and Evil, the fall
Line 2: Noah – this is about the Flood, the olive branch which the dove brought to the ark, and the rainbow in the sky
Line 3: Abraham – this is about the Test, the call for Abraham to leave his land and go to the Promised Land, this also shows the moment where he is willing to sacrifice his son Isaac, but instead “God will provide the lamb”
Fall – in these lines there is conflict with God, sin and temptation that need to be redeemed by Christ
Line 4: Jacob/Israel – this is about the Struggle with God, the tests that Jacob had to get his wives and sheep as well as the fight he had with the angel of God. The “wood” in this line is the shepherd’s staff which Jacob held while tending the sheep
Line 5: Moses – this is about the Passover, when the blood of the lamb was put on the wooden doorposts and freed the Israelites from bondage, through the Red Sea and then talks about their fall with the Golden Calf.
Line 6: David – this is about Temptation, David, who danced before the Ark of the Covenant (which was made of wood and covered with gold). It also tells the story of Bathsheba and the story that the prophet Nathan describes. Nathan tells a story of a man who stole a ewe lamb from another man. David gets upset and then Nathan says to him “You are the man.” The poem plays on the sound of the words here “ewe” sounds like “you” which is “ewe the man” is like “you are the man”
Redemption – these lines speak for themselves
Line 7: Jesus – this is about the True Fulfillment of the Covenants Jesus, the line breaks because the pattern of seven breaks with Christ to begin something new, something on the eighth day, the Day of Resurrection.
Line 8: Jesus – this is about Baptism which Christ won for us on the Wood of the Cross.
There are many themes throughout:
The last line of the poem completes these themes making “true lamb”, “first fruits,” “water good” all because of the Wood of the Cross.
Photo Credit: Becky Johns