In my busy life, with tasks never-ending, I have but a short supply of energy and a very small staff (namely me!) to do it all. Thinking about this, in the context of these hectic times, I immediately thought of the story of Joseph in Egypt, where he rises to become the Pharaoh’s right-hand man, and has the great idea, to store grain in times of plenty, and dole it out, in times of famine.
SImilarly, I must do what I must do a wee bit at a time. But having written the poem, I realize, that this metaphor also describes government’s basic function, to provide welfare to its citizens in times of need.
I imagine Joseph, standing before some enormous ancient silo. he turns a spigot on, to pour out exactly one cup of grain. I imagine a long line of hungry Egyptians. And there, up high on a golden throne, is the Pharoah (who looks something like Tutankhamen, in his blue and gold and spectacular eyeliner.) Impassive. Barely deigning to look, upon the unwashed.
I realize now, that a spigot in ancient Egypt might be an anachronism. But per my googling, the spigot was invented around 1700 BC by the Romans, and Joseph is supposed to have lived, at right about the same time.
I picked this photo because Re or Ra, the sun-god, was believed to be the divine father of the pharaohs. He was also the King of Gods and the patron of the pharoah.
With our country going through multiple crises all at the same time, we really need the comfort and calming effect our leaders can have upon us, on those splendid occasions, when they do the right thing. We need them to assure us, that everything will be okay. That they have it under control. That they support the experts, and are staying out of their way.
Now is the time, for leaders to concern themselves with the welfare of their citizens. Not with their own greed or vanity. Whether that means staying out of the way, coming up with creative new solutions, speaking out, or staying silent.
Let us hope, that instead of acting on their own perverse whims, our leaders will be divinely inspired, to do what is right.
To hear the poem as intended, speak the first line of each stanza slowly, and read the rest at normal pace.
I am Joseph,
With all the nation.
Upon his golden perch.
Don’t pour grain,
A single cup,
A single family’s worth.
Grain, like gold,
Fills the storehouse,
Times of plenty.
Seven years, a
Like interest, on a coin.
And the lines,
They wind and wiggle.
Not knowing, where they’re going.
We have feasted
At the table,
Gorging from the golden trough.
Now we grieve,
Pharaoh’s eyelid twitches…
Turns the spigot off.
Copyright 2020 Andrea LeDew
If this poem leaves you feeling like you want to join a protest, try this tiny story: The Right Side of History.