Barley Harvest

We are starting a Wednesday series on Ruth this coming Wednesday. Preparation for the study reminded of this poem I wrote a couple of years ago:

When Naomi re-entered Bethlehem,
She was greeted by the barley fields.
These formerly dry and barren hills
now swept in a teeming tide of subtle
currents as far as the horizon allowed her to see.

But Naomi returned empty;
Only Ruth,
the foreign girl her now-dead son had married
was with her.
And Naomi was as empty and barren
as these same fertile hills had been,
years before,
when she’d left her beloved and famined homeland.

Even after their chosen exile,
even in that foreign land,
She was full, then,
full, and happy with her pleasant life;
her husband and her two sons —
all of them–

But then he died — her love — he died.
Her sons married;
but then they died too.
They died.
They died,
leaving her only, and two foreign widows.

Then came word,
that the Lord had visited his people and land,
and ended the famine.

So empty Naomi decided to undertake
the bitter journey home —
alone —
releasing both widows of any obligation.

The girls both wept salt-soured tears,
but Ruth seized Naomi’s worn, loose-fitted cloak,
and with knuckles fading pale,
invoked the name of life’s only Sovereign,
and swore that only by death would she part.

So empty Naomi and that Moabite widow
travelled on foot the long journey home,
and coming into those fields of ripe barley,
they entered the city,
needing to be filled.


About Danny Slavich

I am a Christian husband, father, pastor, and poet. I lead Pembroke Road Baptist Church a multi-cultural, multi-generational church in urban South Florida.
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3 Responses to Barley Harvest

  1. Laura says:

    I really like this poem. I think I told you that when you first wrote it, but incase you forgot, I think it’s great.

  2. dad says:

    “don’t neglect the gift you have, which was given you”

    I encourage you to exercise your gift for writing. Continue to write; poetry and/or prose. Even if you simply make your study notes into poetic form or refine your devotional notes. You’re making notes anyway. Why not use those notes to keep your gift sharp?

    I miss you.



  3. I enjoyed your poem. A few years ago, I wrote something about Naomi that I shared at our Women’s Retreat (I am the Women’s Ministry Director)…anyhow I am posting it in parts on my blog and WordPress brought up your link. So I checked it out!

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