The First by Dr. Thomas Davison

The First

I dreamed that God crafted a man in His own image
He toiled with earthly clay
An informal, undemanding material
His first endeavor appeared a mighty creation indeed
So…. He breathed life into the earthen golem
Stretched down
Raised up His construction to the heavens
For a stricter judgment
What He perceived
Displeased Him greatly
He spread His great hand
To permit His handiwork to plunge to the world below
Where it shattered into countless pieces
God sighed
Then stooped
To attempt once again

Author’s Note: This ekphrastic poem is based on the 3D rendering
of a shattered human head by Ana Aguirre Perez
(See shutterstock illustration ID: 1116866342)

Dr. Thomas Davison teaches at two all-male prison facilities in Northern Ohio. He has been deeply moved by his interactions with incarcerated students and has been motivated to create poems and short stories about these experiences. Thomas has started a non-profit dedicated to providing free one-on-one support services for felons.

Editor’s Note and Image Credit: In Jewish folklore, a golem is an animated anthropomorphic being that is created entirely from inanimate matter (usually clay or mud). The word was used to mean an amorphous, unformed material in Psalms and medieval writing. [Citation: Idel, Moshe (1990). Golem: Jewish Magical and Mystical Traditions on the Artificial Anthropoid. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-0160-X. page 296]

The image is taken from an article by Uribrito. It subscribes, arguably, to both the creation of man from clay and dust, and that of a pair of hands holding up one’s head in prayer or in frustration. The dichotomy fits the poem well.