28 March 2015

Tamar: Dirty Laundry

2. Samuel 13:1-22

I want to SCREAM,
to tear my clothes -
but that's what HE did,
tore them clean off me,
and then -

Don't remind me.
Don't take me back there,
don't let him touch me,
don't you touch me either -
I'm afraid,
so afraid
of every look
   every touch
   every man ogling my way,
   every brother
   even Father -
Don't want to trust again.
I can't,

He said
he was sick with love.
Then he used me
like dirty laundry
and threw me away -
is that what love is?
Over powering.
Not heeding cries of NO.
Is that what love is?
Then let me die
                              die -

I'm already dead,
wish I were dead,
he killed me,
killed my love
          my trust
and I'm dirty,
so dirty -
just throw me away,

like he did -
threw me away,
like a worthless piece of rubbish.
And that's how I feel
because that
is what he's made of me.

Are you here?
Were you there
when it happened?
Why didn't you stop him
with some lightning from heaven
or send down an angel
to whisk me away?
WHY must I live
with this shame that's killing
                                                killing me?

Do you care?
Or am I dirty
in your eyes too?

He's a man.
He'll get away with it
Father won't say a word,
of course.
While I bury myself in shame
and hope
that YOU
who comfort the suffering



Not to be confused with the daughter-in-law of Judah, whose poem is right here.
David's daughter Tamar was raped by her own half-brother, Amnon, who for a long time moped about how he was so in love with her and couldn't bear it, then pretended to be sick, tricking her, and raped her. Afterwards he lost interest and sent her away - which to her was almost the worse shame. (I feel Amnon really had no clue what love is...) And one of the many many terrible things in this story is that Amnon just gets away with it; David doesn't move a finger. I have a feeling this episode contributed to Absalom's later uprising against David - Tamar was Absalom's sister. 

What I tried to focus on here was Tamar's feelings of shame - as well as the inequality which enabled Amnon to do what he wanted, without even getting in trouble, while her life was probably ruined for ever ("violated women" carry huge stigma even now in some cultures, even though what happend wasn't their fault).

There's another (newer) poem for Tamar over here if you want to compare... see if I've improved or de-proved over the past few years... ;-)

Picture by N. Regnier

No comments:

Post a Comment