"The Sacrifice of Isaac" by Tiepolo‘Isaac’ and Other Poetry by J.R. Solonche The Society November 5, 2020 Beauty, Culture, Humor, Poetry 3 Comments Isaac They woke no earlier than usual, just dawn, as though it were another day of tending flocks. At once he saw the way was different, though, not toward the jagged wall of date palms, and through it past the rock-fall. Where were they going then? When would he say? He looked. His father’s look did not betray intent or doubt. It was a stern white wall. He nearly fainted when he saw the knife. He fainted when he smelled the ram’s fat burn, the smoke like black wool curling from the stone. That night he dreamt he was a man with wife and child. The angel came, stony white, stern, and his face was flame. He said, Wake your son. Schopenhauer at the Englischer Hof A Monologue in Blank Verse I have been called a pessimist. I am. What man who calls himself a thoughtful man, a feeling man, can be ought else? The wine? The wine is good, but I prefer the beer. I took no wife because I wanted none. I live alone because I wish to live alone. The passions must be overcome. I recommend the veal. It’s excellent. The monarchs made a mockery of hope. My father was a businessman. He killed himself when I was seventeen. I left my mother’s house soon afterward because she chose a life I could not tolerate to look upon. She was a novelist, you know, received the intellectuals of Weimar in her parlor. And her bed. She let old Goethe bring his Christiane with him, but when he told her I, her son, would be a very famous man, she pushed me down the stairs. Her name is only known through me, the bitch. Who reads her novels now? I come to dine here almost every day. Before I start I place a coin—this one— beside the plate, and when I’m done, I put the coin back in my pocket once again. It is a wager that I’ve made myself to drop it in the poor box of the church the day the English officers who dine at this establishment should talk of else than horses, women , or dogs. Here, I have one. His name is Atma. It means World-Soul. Why was my masterpiece unrecognized? Because just those who could have given it publicity—the university philosophers—I have attacked in it. Ah, yes, good man, the veal for both of us. The rule, I sing the song of him whose bread I eat, has always held. It now, too, holds. I make no living from philosophy. I have inherited an interest in my father’s firm, and that has been enough. The life of every individual, when we survey it as a whole and stress its most important parts, is tragedy. But in the details, always comedy. The world is bankrupt in the end, and life’s a business which does not recoup expense. All happiness requires ignorance or youth, for youth and ignorance are one. The fear of death is the beginning of philosophy, religion’s final cause. Diogenes refused to breathe—and died. A brilliant victory! Alas, how vain. The more things change, the more they stay the same. This is the essence of philosophy. The true philosophy of history lies in perceiving this eternal truth. In general, the wise have always said the same. The fools have acted all alike as well and done the opposite. And thus reality is suffering and pain. And thus the genius suffers most of all. You hear? You hear the English gentlemen? The coin is in my pocket yet again. J.R. Solonche has been publishing poetry in magazines, journals, and anthologies since the early 70s. He is the author of twenty books and coauthor of another. He lives in the Hudson Valley. NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 3 Responses Dave Whippman November 5, 2020 “Isaac” is a well-crafted sonnet re-telling a powerful narrative from the Bible. Skilfully done. Reply C.B. Anderson November 5, 2020 The first poem stands out for what it didn’t say, for what it didn’t HAVE to say, for all of the important ideas were implicit in the text. Explicit expression of these ideas would probably have ruined the poem. The second poem was Browning-esque in the best possible ways. Though you eschewed rhyme (except in a few spots), you caught the mood of “My Last Duchess” in a thoroughly digestible and delectable manner. Reply Cynthia Erlandson November 6, 2020 The story of Abraham and Isaac is such a profound and moving story, and your re-telling of it really illuminates it in our minds and makes us feel it in our guts. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.