Kierkegaard’s Enormous Paradox: A New Poem

Sloucher crooked like a human question mark.

Flaneur of Copenhagen, Street-corner loafer.

Unscientific method-ist, proto-existentialist

Godseeker labeled philosopher by posterity.

Writing the opposite of what you intend.

Shifting persona. Hinting at ephemera.

Mystifying readers, teasing out truth.

How do I know you? Let me count the ways.

Humanities 101. Brandeis Freshman.

Great-genius-wannabe-me. Why study long-dead

Philosophers like Aristotle and you,

I sniffed, who got so much so wrong years ago?

Now at 77 I know you better, a recent taste

Acquired doing research to write this poem,

You who only knew post-Catholic Danish

Worship services with hours-long sermons.

Congregations dozing behind glazed eyes.

Memorized verses filed in their heads.

You weird-bodied sensitive like some of us who get you,

Heard Scripture as the living Word it is.

You eavesdropped when God told Father Abraham

To sacrifice Isaac, belov’d child of His promise.

Journeyed with that father, that son, the knife,

The binding rope, the fuel. Until with great relief  . . .

You all caught sight of the ram. Then you pondered

Whether Isaac ever got over his near immolation

By his own father’s hand. And why Abraham

Set his face like flint to do that monstrous deed.

Suspension of morality? Obedience über alles? I think not.

Did you forget or overlook what St. Paul told us?

Abraham walked with Him so long and knew Him so well.

He reasoned God could raise Isaac from the dead.

And why didn’t you consider this either, how later,

Much later after Abraham’s multitudinous offspring

Were long settled in the promised land, astoundingly

God Himself enabled what He asked Abraham to do?

Roseanne T. Sullivan is from the Boston area and currently lives in a Victorian in San Jose, California. Besides writing poetry, Sullivan writes memoir pieces, essays, and articles about sacred music, liturgy, art, and whatever else captures her Catholic imagination. This poem, “Kierkegaard’s Enormous Paradox,” has been selected for publication in Homage to Soren Kierkegaard, an anthology to be published by Wiseblood Books.

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