Home > 3. My Poetry & Translations > The Ivory House (A Poem)

The Ivory House (A Poem)

File:Ivoire (musée du Fort Meherangarh, Jodhpur) (8422003190).jpg

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RT’s perplexities over the history of the Kingdom of Israel (922-722 BC) and the role that the northern kingdom played in the development of Middle Eastern culture have continued: one of the things drawing him on has been the fabled beauty of the ancient Israelite kingdoms–partly based on The Song of Songs, but also on archaeological discoveries. The records preserved in The Book of Kings are usually not told to the advantage of the northerners, and this is especially true of Ahab, which tends to make RT think that Ahab was extraordinary in some ways, at the least an able and conscientious ruler. And Jezebel? Ah, how many princesses have been married away from their home and upbringing! Here is a piece of something that has been whispering in RT’s ears:

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The Ivory House

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Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicle of the kings of Israel?  2 Kings 22:30, KJV

1.

the lord, you know him?

came from nowhere, I

tell you. a hairy

brute, they used to

call him…a bear,

or a she-bear, when

he was angry…

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and here he builds

a house like a

honeycomb, room

after room, all around

the courtyard with its

quince and roses

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and his queen, beautiful

she as a damask rose

and regal, and sweet

everyone loved her…

or at least those who

knew her

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i worked in the orchard

then, when she first came,

that’s how i know

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2.

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And Ethbaal of the Zidonians came from Tyre and

met Ahab in Samaria. And Ethbaal brought a cloak

for Ahab of royal purple.

And his daughter Jezebel followed in his train, and

she married Ahad and became his Queen.

© 2013, The Rag Tree

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Plaque: Mudhgar Women Exercising with Dumbbells; wooden plaque inlaid with ivory, 19th century, Marwar Fort Museum Meherangarh. WikiCmns; CC 2.0 Generic.

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