Aliyah Jacobs – Bowls on a Sunday Afternoon

February 28, 2014 | By | 3 Replies More

They gather, huddled beneath the cathedral roof. Whispering monotone conversations that echo like prayer.

The laity prepares the ground—sweating to serve.

Vine covered pews are prepared, seating five at a time.

The laity usher beginners to their seats, while the mast stands with its cross beam moving in the wind.

The cardinals, bishops and deacons huddle beneath the cathedral roof—bags in hand.

A few women arrive; they gather towards the back. The crowd is ushered into silence, the sound of power begins.

Bag in hand like incense burners, two by two they enter.

The bickering begins—who shall be the winner?

The laity stand in the corners, while a feeble priest discards some crumbs. A woman reaches forward to grab some—enough to feed a hungry son.
White handkerchiefs to the brow—the work is tiresome today. One reaches inside his robe, while the others greedily peer on.  The “Urim” and “Thummim” of red and white, decide the game.

The bickering continues—who shall win the game?

As the rain lightly begins to teem, the clergy run together; robes of white thunder in the rain.

Huddled beneath the cathedral roof—the laity return home, hungry again.

“Urim” and “Thummim” of red and white—left upon the pulpit shelf, who shall be the winner?

They peer at one another greedily; the strongest will decide among themselves.


Editor’s notes on Bowls on a Sunday:  

The Urim and Thummim were two mysterious objects that some scholars describe as stones, usually worn on the breastplate of a Jewish high priest, and used to determine God’s Will through divination. Even though there are several references to them in the Bible, no clear description of them is given.  In Hebrew, Urim means “lights” and Thummim means “perfection.” 


Author’s notes:

As much as this was written while watching grandpa play a game of bowls on a Sunday, it’s a comment about the power that the Traditional Church held over people. It was all about power!

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Category: 4 - Power, When Women Waken Literary Journal

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  1. I, too, have a poem about the power of the traditional church but over children. I enjoyed the description of the ritual and the ominous mood and destiny-driven question of who will be the winner?

  2. aliyah says:

    Hi Lia
    Thank you for your comment, I am glad you like the piece and may you continue to write and address these issues which are so important!

  3. The images here are awesome. It’s one of those poems that I’m not sure I will relate to personally and then, I read it, and it doesn’t matter.

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