Nameless

Ancient Women

by Anne Waters Green

Manoah’s wife was one of those women
with closed wombs who inhabit pages
of the Bible, women like Sarah and Elizabeth,
too old to conceive, Rachel and Hannah,
who also yearned for children,
their rewards always sons.
No surprise conceptions
of daughters.

Four chapters in Judges tell Samson’s
story: his father, Manoah, named
again and again; his mother, mentioned
only as she, the woman, his wife,
as if lacking identity except as the once
barren vessel by which a man
named Manoah gained
a son.

It is ever so.  Genealogists find it hardest
to link grandmothers to ancestral lines,
their husband’s wills and deeds labeling
them by married names alone,
fathers’ family Bibles inscribed
with only given names of baby girls.
No forwarding addresses
to their husbands’ homes.

 

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