Judith’s To Do List

The maid, Abra, must be ready and willing.
Wear finest and most revealing garment.
Ensure that everyone in the camp is sleeping
before entering General Holofernes’ tent.
Instruct Abra to wait in the gloom for a sign.
Extinguish all but one of the candles, and pour
Holofernes a jeroboam of wine.
Keep within reach his sharpened sword.
When he slumps into sleep, signal the maid
to grasp his hands while you grab mane
and beard, and wrench back his head,
slice through flesh, muscle and spine.
Put the head in a bag. Show no pity.
Rejoice with your people in delivering your city.

Kim M. Russell, 9th April 2021

Judith Slaying Holofernes Painting by Artemisia Gentileschi, 1612-13

My response to NaPoWriMo Day Nine

Our challenge today is to write poems in the form of a ‘to-do list’. The fun of this prompt is to make it the ‘to-do list’ of an unusual person or character. For a long time, I’ve found the Old Testament’s Judith a fascinating character, about whom I’ve written several poems, and one of my favourite, although very gruesome, painting is Gentileschi’s Judith. As often happens, my to-do list turned into a sonnet.

15 thoughts on “Judith’s To Do List

    1. Thank you, Ingrid. There is so much artwork around Judith’s story, which is, indeed, fascinating. I’ve written several poems about her, one of which was for a dVerse prompt.

      Liked by 1 person

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