an offering to the most high

Emil Nolde, "Dance Around the Golden Calf"

while the two men chiseled commandments in stone on
the mountaintop the people sculpted an offering that
gleamed like pure gold from the altar of their surrendered
desires they cried tomorrow shall be a festival to
the most high offering up their
wildest hopes their desperate dreams dancing and
shouting hallels until at last they came into
the heart of their liberation the blinding
truth of their commitment when moses came down and
saw the people wheeling and whirling round like
sacred scrolls unfurling he shattered the tablets at the
foot of the mountain and
started to dance

(Exodus 32:1-5)


7 Comments on “an offering to the most high”

  1. That is a most interesting and thought provoking version of that passage. Lots of food for thought. Thank you.

  2. Lori says:

    This is all a mistranslation of the text. It was actually a golden caffeine, a kind of irresistable latte.

  3. Sallie Gratch says:

    I love it!

  4. bodysherpa says:

    i prefer your version of the story, brant. joyous and roomy.

  5. Julie Parson Nesbitt says:

    Another beautiful poem interpreting Moses and the tablets is “The Old Man is Like Moses” by the Spanish poet Vicente Aleixandre. Here is an excerpt: “Because like Moses, he dies. / Not with the useless tablets and the chisel and the lightning up in the mountains / but with the words broken on the ground, his hair / on fire, his ears singed by the terrifying words. / And the breath is still in his eyes and the spark in his lungs / and his mouth full of light.”

    • Gwenan says:

      Julie, I tried to find this whole poem, but it doesn’t seem to be available online. Do you have it?

      • Julie Parson Nesbitt says:

        I have it in an anthology that is probably out of print. I’ll make a copy and drop it by for you.


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