14 April 2014

A Passover Story

Moise blesses the children of Israel - Marc Chagall

Holding the Afikoman for ransom
kept my attention at the first Seder
I recall attending—I remember it
because of the payment—
oil painting supplies:
my first palette
paints, thinner, canvass
and brushes—
a bit of heaven.

Uncle Hi and his sons couldn’t find it,
so I bargained hard to my parents’ shame
and my relatives’ amusement. Some laughed
aloud, encouraging me—
oh I know how
clever children
entertain their classes
I remember that night
differed from all others.

How stubborn, naughty, and flushed I
felt as I won the day; my story joined 
those of exile, enslavement, plagues and 
their reverse: escape with manna 
and matzo in faithful obedience 
then Red Sea parts and 
desert and bush burn
golden calf and tablet 
break and I am like them.

Funny that I don’t remember using
that oil painting set.  Maybe I stored it
until painting mountainous horizons
and landscapes of ocean shores—
canvasses I completed
at age thirty four—or did
I use it right away?  Looking back
I see hot red wine fingerprints
on white  porcelain.  That’s all.

Written for my prompt Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Holy Days and Holidays. Opens Wednesday 4/16 at 7am Eastern.

Copyright © 2014  S.L.Chast


Mary said...

Interesting to read how the memory of your first Seder coincides with memories of oil painting supplies. And that your story joined the story, part of family history now....along with the story of exile and the parting of the Red Sea! I wonder if you now, as an adult, paint.

Gabriella said...

Susan, I like how the child you were at the time made this night a different one through your own storytelling. I guess that your being able to repeat the Passover narrative means the whole purpose of the seder was fulfilled.

Kay L. Davies said...

I love this story, Susan.
For a while, I was the clever child, entertaining family members, but I was soon overshadowed by my brother Clint, a born clown. I was just as happy being in the background, reading a book.
I'm surprised you don't remember using that first set of painting supplies, for surely it would have lasted you a while, but perhaps you were in your own world while you painted, a world not subject to ordinary things like remembering.
Luv, K

Anonymous said...

sneaking in early, huh? and well done. you've brought me into that child's world ~

Laurie Kolp said...

The ending w/ the red wine... funny how those memories take precedence over the others. Love this, Susan... great prompt, too.

Jae Rose said...

I suppose we remember and cherish special days for are own special reasons..i love the parting image..very vivid

ZQ said...

I enjoyed reading this after my morning prayers... with a smile

Sumana Roy said...

I love how you relive the story of childhood that gradually mingles with the great exile story...

Anonymous said...

I love

golden calf and tablet
break and I am like them.


Looking back
I see hot red wine fingerprints
on white porcelain. That’s all.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

A wonderful story. I can see the flushed, giddy child....and those "hot red wine fingerprints on white porcelain."

parentforward.blogspot.com said...

There is an intrigue to this, especially brought in by the last line,a darkness behind the light.

Anonymous said...

It is very interesting how we hook memories into other memories... Beautifully and very vividly described.

Unknown said...

A child's world..innocent and full of happiness. A colourful piece of childhood..so sweet Susan :-)

Adriene said...

Quite an interesting holiday tale from a child's perspective. Very imaginative. Thanks, Susan!

Marcoantonio Arellano (Nene) said...

this and you remind me of a friend with whom i recently became aquainted.

gracias for this and like mi amiga, Sherry, said; i can picture the ...hot red wine fingerprints on white porcelain

Peggy said...

Interesting how childhood memories blend. Interesting prompt! Thanks

Loredana Donovan said...

Lovely childhood memories. I like how you blend them in with traditions and biblical references. The Red Sea and red fingerprints ... an interesting association of this vibrant color, so symbolic.

rallentanda said...

Religious festivals are important memories in a childhood. They are the fabric of who we are.