Poem on Moses

March 13, 2018

My seventh-grade Old Testament class reached the end of the Pentateuch today, after several hard weeks of slogging through the Sinai desert. Some while ago, one of the students observed that, instead of drawing pictures (which is what I let the students do when their attention spans wane, which happens not infrequently), we should write songs on selected Old Testament themes. I approved of the suggestion, and proposed that, for extra credit, they each write a poem on Moses; I did not anticipate that what some of them would come up with would be rap songs. Below is my own contribution to the class project.

When Moses through the wilderness
the people once did lead
with manna fallen from the sky
their hungry frames he’d feed
thus teaching them that man does not
survive on bread alone
but by each word that comes from God
we feed our flesh and bone

But stiff-necked were the people and
his guidance they did spurn
and for Egyptian flesh-pots they
incessantly did yearn
So God sent them such flocks of quails
that meat dripped from their noses
and thousands died of sickness there
as sacred writ discloses

Then Dathan and Abiram raised
their heels in dire revolt
and from the rule of Moses
they encouraged men to bolt
but God procured a remedy:
beneath their sullied feet
a sudden chasm opened wide
wherein they death did meet

So we also, if we complain
about God’s laws and ways
shall find ourselves in gloomy pit
of hell one of these days
But whereas we a Savior have
who shows us life and light
let us our whole hearts turn to him
and learn to do what’s right

2 Responses to “Poem on Moses”

  1. Matthew Beaver Says:

    Hi Peter,

    This is Matthew Beaver from years ago at St. John’s college. I don’t know if I would recognize myself from then so don’t tax your memory. Reading your writing today and remembering how you had us write plays in class or write poems, I am humbled with gratitude to God to have been taught by you. I still have the book you inscribed to me of St. Gregory’s poems, and have peeped into it from time to time when I forget that the Christian life aint no picnic. I am happy to hear you are working with kids and I wonder how much of my work with kids ( I am a play therapist) was influenced by your way of making serious stuff approachable. Unfortunately a bulldog my wife and I were dogsitting took a liking to the upper left corner of St. Gregory’s poems and decided to return that portion to the earth. A bulldog knows a bulldog! Thankfully the words are still legible.

    Many years!

  2. bekkos Says:

    Hello Matthew,

    I of course remember you, and it is a blessing to hear from you after all these years. Thank you so much for your kind words about our class; they mean a lot to me. I have fond memories of that Language Tutorial, and our collaborative attempt to write a tragedy on King Arthur, which turned out more of a comedy. I am doing well; I turned 61 last month, and have been teaching at The Lyceum outside of Cleveland for the past nine years; they seem to like me there. Books, it seems, have many legitimate uses; I’m sure St. Gregory would have seen your friends’ bulldog’s enjoyment of his poems as, on some level, fitting.

    In Christ,
    Peter Gilbert

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