Why trouble the teacher?


With his opening line

the distraught father, one Jairus by name,

grabs the teacher’s attention.

Finishing the sentence,

he claims his sympathy:

“My little daughter

is at the point of death.”


Jairus and his nameless wife

are distraught at the prospect

of losing their beloved child;

they will not lightly let her go.

Tears and wailing are not enough

to bind her to them, nor the embrace

of their arms, nor even their love,

to tether to earth her soul.

The well-respected leader of the synagogue

does not hesitate to sacrifice his dignity

upon hope’s altar.

Begging on his knees, he risks

offending his colleagues

as he pleads for help

from the alleged blasphemer.


Perhaps the unnamed girl

was particularly diminutive,

or else her father used the adjective

to indicate his affection.

By her given age the girl

was no more than a year, or thereabouts,

short of that which might have seen

her betrothal.

At twelve years old,

her parents know well,

that the time is not far away

from the good letting-go. For now

they will brave the derision

and take their chances

with the teacher.


© Ken Rookes 2012