Friday, January 10, 2014

Tobit's Song

Augustine could argue either way
for the burial of the dead. Since the dead
knew not the state in which they were left,
the point seemed moot. Yet God's recognition
of Tobit kept the argument alive.

The Ninevite who received the ire of Sennacherib
for burying his casualties, Tobit was exiled and robbed,
blinded by bird droppings while asleep in the streets.
But his marriage to the shrewish Hannah
produced a son that would carry God's blessing.

The angel Raphael guided Tobias to cool his feet
in the Nile,  catch a fish with his toe, extract
the organs and make a potion that healed
his father's blindness. To seal the deal, Raphael
cast the demon from the wife bequeathed to Tobias.

Aware of the marriage-bed deaths of seven previous
husbands, Sarah's father had already dug the grave
for Tobias, but he hadn't reckoned the presence
of Raphael nor the grave blessing God intended
to preserve in Tobit's lineage and his song.

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