ReContoured: She Muses Jael At Zaanaim, Act III

[Jael is absent from the tent. The body of Sisera is still covered by the mantle, which now covers his head as well. A messenger enters and addresses the Chorus.]

 

MESSENGER: I have been sent by Heber to inform
his wife, Jael, that he will soon arrive.
He did not want to just show up. He said
that letting her know in advance would show
loving respect which she wholly deserves.
He speaks about her with rapture and I,
like anyone who hears him talk about
her, know how much he adores her and her curves.
Where is Jael, and who is that beneath
that bloodied mantle?
CHORUS:                   Jael has stepped out
to pray to the Lord God of Israel.
She said she needed a time just to be
alone. That carcass on the floor was once
Commander Sisera, who was sent to make
war on the Lord God's people, Israel.
Jael slew him by driving a long spike
into his skull; she swung that hammer hard.
Asleep he felt no pain, which was far more
mercy than he showed to the victims---girls---
whom he abducted and tortured, then put
to fiery death.
MESSENGER: Yes, we had heard of that.
And Deborah, our leader and the Judge
in Israel, said that the very stars
upon their constant courses fought against
this scourge named Sisera. I think I saw
Jael, not too far distant, barefoot, walking on
the softer grass, and looking toward the sky.
CHORUS: Yes, you have seen Jael, at prayer, barefoot.
MESSENGER: She is a heroine in Israel,
Without his staunch commander by his side,
Jabon will not be able to muster,
much less lead, a replacement army to
attack the Lord's people of Israel.

 

[Jael enters the tent.]

 

JAEL: Greeting to you, and do you bring to me
a nessage from my husband and lover?
MESSENGER: I do, my Lady, he will soon arrive,
and wanted you to have some notice of
that so he did not just show up at home.
JAEL: He always keeps me so informed about
his whereabouts and his intetions for
the future. He is so considerate.
MESSENGER: He loves you, and he speaks always of you.
Some men speak of their weapons, chariots,
horses, and whores, or how they throw the dice.
But Heber is not given to such talk.
You are the centerpiece of his whole life,
and when he mentions you---which is always---
his words seem more like raptured poetry
than ordinary conversations in
a tent full of men, most of whom engage
in profane words and thoughts, but not Heber.
He said your beauty, your curvacity,
is God's own making, God's own poetry.
CHORUS: How sweet to have such a delectable
effect upon a man, who is not like
the twisted soul that once dwelled in this corpse.
But now has been, we do think, damned to hell,
quite unrepentent of his attitudes
and heinous acts; sent to his destiny
by Jael's hands; there, for eternity,
to suffer the worst spiritual agony
for his warfare and gross perversity.
JAEL: I only did as I believe the Lord
had called me to accomplish, to release
His people Israel from Sisera,
and punished him with harsh finality
for his belligerence, and, even worse,
the evil pleasures of perversity.
I am no heroine, but just the Lord's
humble handmaiden to obey His Will.
And soon my Lover will return to me
to cover my whole naked body with
the kisses that I long to have again,
and that love we make, night after night,
will keep us both in full satiety.

 

Starward

 

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