My Name is Shepard: When King David was very old, he could not keep warm
ancient kings grow aged, time offeres no exemptions,
hard life body, worn from glory, battle hoary, many women,
his story was not an allegory, it was allegorical story retold,
a poet loved the lord, sunk to sin, pride, yet, always asking why,
for all kings have boundaries, limits, even offenses unforgivable.
his psalms depleted, his eyes rapid failing, and the warmth
gone missing was not from his body, that but a side casualty,
his eyes were to mountains cast, wondering whence will come.
a warmth needed live forever, knowing full well no such power
exists except his Lord’s lasting embrace, their joint, last verse.
My name is David, born a shepard boy, dying a king, a human saved
by the hand of the Lord from the paw of the lion and jaws of the bear,
gave courageous trust to slay a Philistine giant, the greatest gift?
To pen powerful words that long outlived my actions and misdeeds,
a gift transferred to you and you, a certain knowledge that truthful
writs, will be your everlasting scrip and scripture, a name well recalled, poems of praise, songs of lament and sorrow, lyrics of wisdom, even those of mistakes, errors of sin, asking for wisdom for the greatest bravery, to ask, and greater still, to give forgiveness.
the warmth I seek will arrive at last, as the watchmen recite my poems by candlelight to me, as I ascend to meet my maker, the candle giving both heat and light for this is the dual nature of human life, this balance striven to leave our ledger level, letting our history be an honest reflection of we we were, who we hoped to be, and the record giving the warmth of our human truths long lasting.
When a Jew dies, a watch is kept over the body and tehillim (Psalms) are recited constantly by sun or candlelight, until the burial service. Historically, this watch would be carried out by the immediate family, usually in shifts, or the Burial Society. When my father passed on the sabbath, in the hospital, my job was to guard, watch over his body, till night fell, and the Sabbath ended, so the body
could be moved.
“When King David was very old, he could not keep warm even when they put covers over him. So his attendants said to him, ‘Let us look for a young ****** to serve the king and take care of him. She can lie beside him so that our lord the king may keep warm.’ Then they searched throughout Israel for a beautiful young woman and found Abishag, a Shunammite, and brought her to the king. The woman was very beautiful; she took care of the king and waited on him, but the king had no ****** relations with her” (1 Kings 1:1–4)