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I haven’t written a sestina yet, I lamented to Brassica.

They are supposed to be good for laments, she said, somehow

reading my thoughts and mood.  Try a villanelle.  It might be

easier to start there.

So, I tried to think of a topic and turned to The Bible for those

little dramas that illustrate human nature.  Suddenly Jacob, Isaac

and Esau popped into my mind and, before I knew it, inspiration had

prompted the following poem.  Maybe it is an exercise in form,  but

I hope it transmits the essence of their relationship struggle.


Half-blind, he mistook goat for venison.

(Mother and son were partners in the crime.)

And so he gave Jacob his benison.


Take this stew and treat him with kid gloves, son.

Rebekah staged her little pantomime:

half-blind, he mistook goat for venison.


Jacob stayed at home- a tent denizen;

but Esau was a hunter in his prime.

Isaac still gave Jacob his benison.


Isaac couldn’t recognise anyone.

His cataracts obscured this social climb:

half-blind, he mistook goat for venison.


Jacob knew when to put the lentils on.

Esau’s priority was dinner time.

Thus Isaac gave Jacob his benison.


An old man’s craving made him jettison

Divine will.  So, trapped like a bird on lime,

half-blind, he mistook goat for venison

and gave Esau a lesser benison.