gershon hepner

Rookie - 10 Points (5 3 38 / leipzig)

Dinah - Poem by gershon hepner

Not raped, but seduced,
a sister became
a cause that unloosed
a battle of shame.
No person escaped
revenge, which is bad,
though she was not raped,
her lover a lad
who loved her alas,
not wisely or well,
a lover, a lass
leading many to hell.
Revenge may seem sweet
when it acts as a rhyme
to avenge a defeat,
but when it’s a crime,
the circle of hate
is mean misdemeanor,
and this was the fate
of the brothers of Dinah
who some say arrived
from pre-Greek Cyclades,
but would not be wived
with Canaanite ladies.

When twelve of them killed
all men of Shechem
her father was filled
with disgust. “I condemn, ”
he sadly declared,
“the trouble you’ve caused, ”
and sounded quite scared,
but was not endorsed
by Simeon and Levi
who had little time
for girls who like divae
encourage sex crime,
for there’s little doubt
she that her fornication
was willing––no shout
came from her destination
except one of joy
from here to infinity,
a proof to her boy
she had lost her virginity.
“Would you have us ignore
that our sister was treated, ”
they asked, “like a whore?
Your motion's defeated! ”

A stalemate, it seems,
for father and sons
were fighting like teams
in noir movie reruns.
The hero’s no Bogart,
the lady’s a tramp,
but in Hebrew folk art
there’s no writer’s cramp
describing the killing,
no anti-crusade
like that of those willing
to kill once they’ve prayed,
just revenge for the shaming
of father and daughter,
for which they were blaming
all men and the mortar
and bricks in the city,
though women were saved
when found by committee
to be not depraved.

Neither side can recall
what happened precisely:
revenge made it all
even out, but not nicely.

11/30/98


Comments about Dinah by gershon hepner

  • Joe Breunig (4/1/2006 10:16:00 PM)


    An elegant write; I enjoy your poems regarding historical figures of Israel. (Report) Reply

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  • (12/9/2005 7:25:00 PM)


    You definitely get the right mix of ancient and contemporary in this very interesting poem gershon. It does raise many questions. 9 from Tai, it was 10 but the finger slipped. (Report) Reply

  • (12/9/2005 5:43:00 PM)


    Very nice, Gershon...one of the more interesting characters in old testament...and an interesting moral discussion told poetically.

    Raynette
    (Report) Reply

  • (12/9/2005 5:40:00 PM)


    A lovely piece and Biblical, too. Old Testament/Torah seems its source. A nice retelling and a telling poem highlighting morality and the harsh punishment meted out when that morality is expressed in action. It contrasts nicely with the contemporary morality of honor killings in the Islamic community and also with contemporary Western mores.

    Hugh
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, December 9, 2005



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