03 October 2014

Naamah: A Name

"Zillah bore Tubal-cain, who made all kinds of bronze and iron tools. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah." (Genesis 4:22)

I am a name
without a story.

Because one day someone decided
a girl's story is not worth telling.
Because one day someone decided
a girl has no story
except that written by a man,
What is a girl alone,
but a burden,
reminder of what
a woman once lost -
a woman with a story.
How can they risk
a woman having a story again?

They forget
that men's stories
bring hurt and damage too,
that we are all
equally responsible,
spiralling down together,

Someone is reaching
into our stories,
reaching to catch us as we fall -
Someone who wants to be a part
of this sad, doomed, sordid tale,
who wants to risk
a story of His own.

I am a name
without a story -
but I have a name.
And He knows me,
and He calls me by name:
They may deny me
the chance to share my tale -
but He won't let them hide
my name.


[30. / 31. August 2014]

I tend to not write poems about the "story-less names" (otherwise I'd have to sift all the genealogies and make up hundreds of stories!). But my mother pointed out Naamah to me once and wanted me to write a poem for her too, so now I did...

I hope what I meant to say is visible between the lines... it's basically about inequality, more focus being put on men's stories, and women not really being mentioned much except in connection to "their men". The "woman with a story" is Eve: she lived free and equal and could make her own choices, but they led to destruction. Often when people think of "the Fall", they push blame on Eve, forgetting that Adam was there too and took the fruit as well, forgetting that all of us are responsible for our own sins. I can imagine men shortly after the Fall trying to deny responsibility, and pushing down women because if given freedom, wouldn't they just do damage again? But denying responsibility and blaming others, to the point of treating them as lesser beings, is not the way to go.

What's interesting about Naamah is that, unlike most other women who only appear by name in the Bible, she really appears only by name, and not in connection to any man (except for her brother). And now anyone who reads the Bible and does not skip the genealogies will read her name. (Probably not remember it, but still...) So even if people want to hem us in and make us small, we are still all equal before God: He knows us by name, He cares for each of us, no matter what society says.

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