The Song of Noah’s Wife
 



“In the eyes of the Lord Noah found grace . . . .”                 1

The Scripture there says nothing about me;

And I would very willingly efface

The part I played, my infidelity

Both to my spouse and to the Deity—

Not of the crude and coarse and carnal kind

For which our neighbors had affinity—

The infidelity within the mind,

To this my undulating song will be confined.


Of course my husband stood out from the crowd!

(It’s what he saw in me I cannot solve . . . .)

In the beginning I was truly proud

To be the wife of Noah. His resolve

To live unto the Lord, not to revolve

Around this wicked world, impressed me much.

Then came the day he said, “God will dissolve

This wilderness of sin”—and other such

Denunciations. If your husband’s out of touch


With you and with the only world you know,

Why, Sweetheart, I could be your patron saint

(If only the good Lord would have it so).

Later I wished that I’d had some restraint,

But since it is our duty to acquaint

Starry-eyed husbands with the facts of life,

And to do my duty I was never faint—

(You’d think a man with such an active wife

Would calculate his blessings and refrain from strife!)


Then, just when you think it can’t get any worse:

“And, Honey, God said we’re to build an ark! . . .”

Some women, I suppose, would never curse,

Not even after such a wild remark;

Well, they would be more ready to embark

On such a voyage than I was back then.

So much for marriage as a walk-in-the-park!

While Noah was busy preaching to the men,

The neighbors’ wives took turns to play comedienne.


It’s easier to be a laughing-stock                                            5

If you’re the one to whom God gave the call.

It’s easier to hear the neighbors mock

If you can read the writing on the wall.

But usually these kinds of things befall

Not just the prophet, but his wife and kids—

And then the cheeky neighbors have the gall

To wonder why your marriage hit the skids;

And all you want to say is what the Lord forbids.


Of course I wondered if he’d heard from God

As all our time and money went to build;

To venture everything is worse than odd:

If the prophecy he gave were not fulfilled

Our foolishness could never be distilled

Into a liquor that would lessen pain.

One’s hopes have irretrievably been spilled:

You cannot, will not dare to hope again;

But will your husband see that it was all in vain?


I’ve wondered if it is the harder part

To be married to a prophet or a fool.

For many years your undulating heart

Will have such motion sicknesses that you’ll

Conclude it hardly matters as a rule.

What difference, you will wonder, does it make

If I have wed a blockhead or a jewel—

If he has made a terrible mistake,

Or is the only man who truly is awake?


In either case you’re bound to suffer much.

Sometimes you’ll wish you never had been born,

Like Job or Jeremiah in the clutch

Of quandaries, calamities, and scorn;

Sometimes you’ll wish that you had never sworn

To follow faithfully no matter what,

Aware of every tongue that tried to warn

You not to throw your lot in with that nut—

And what they’re saying now, you’re unable to rebut.


Of course you will evaluate your man:

The fruit he brings forth, Is it good or bad?

No husband ever will do better than

My Noah, who in righteousness was clad,

In worship of the Lord was ever glad,

Whose love and zeal for God were like a cloak—

But still I wondered if I had been had,

And wished I could be taken with a stroke,

And wondered why we could not be like other folk.


Daughters, I think it is the better part                                10

To give the man the benefit of doubt;

For there’s a peace that comes into the heart

When we realize we cannot figure out

Ultimately what our husbands are about.

Whether we think they’re right or they are wrong

It’s better if we help than if we pout,

For the time of finding out may well be long,

And things will be much neater if we come along.


Authors can drone on all they want about

Metabolism that’s miraculous.

But I was there; I have not any doubt

About the things they comfortably discuss:

Manure and more manure—that was us!

And who do you suppose rolled up her sleeves,

Knowing to clean is better than to fuss?

No time for dusting; it was time for heaves . . .

It’s over. Should I care what anyone believes?


But here’s the thing that would just make me burn,

Except I know that there’s a Judgment Day:

Some big professor, who has much to learn,

Pontificates that it was not that way—

That after I fixed all that disarray,

And after I swabbed all the decks below—

The idiot leads everyone astray:

He says the ocean could not overflow!

They don’t believe the Word, but they believe his show!


But now that I have been delivered twice,

Once from the old world, and once when I came here

(Where everything, thank God, is neat and nice!),

I really am a great deal less severe.

The Bridegroom’s sunny and contagious cheer

Just melts away the things that used to grieve:

I love to see my husband in his sphere;

The Bridegroom grants a permanent reprieve—

I guess He wants a Woman who’s labored to believe.










Notes:


The Song of Noah’s Wife: Genesis, Chapters 6, 7, and 8.


Noah’s wife, stanza 1, “Noah found grace”: Genesis 6:8-9. The sixth chapter of Genesis shows that Noah was the only good man of his time. Therefore his wife must have grown up in a wicked family. Her pilgrimage could not have been an easy one.


Noah’s wife, stanza 11. Authors, metabolism. Some authors have calculated

that all the necessary animals could have fit on Noah’s Ark, according to its biblical

dimensions, and some have speculated that the animals on the Ark may have been in a

state similar to hibernation, which might have made housekeeping less burdensome.




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