Weiglein adapts the Bible into verse in this debut collection.
The author’s journey through Scripture, as she describes in a brief foreword, is not that of a typical reader. As she made her way through the Good Book, she says, she noted highlights of each chapter and summarized them in brief poems. This volume, the first in a planned series, represents her poetic rendering of the Pentateuch, the Historical Books, and the Wisdom Books. These feature many of the Bible’s most famous stories, including those of Adam and Eve (“God formed Adam from the dust of the ground. / Then He planted a garden all around”); Noah’s ark (“Noah was told to build a boat / and make sure that it would float”); the Exodus (“God showed the strength of His mighty hand. / The Red Sea parted and there was land”); David and Goliath (“David’s courage, faith, and skills / helped him the giant to kill”); and Job (“For Job things got really bad / He lost everything he had”). Each chapter of each book gets its own brief poem, generally four to eight lines in length. Weiglein generally writes using rhyming couplets, giving the poems an unmistakable nursery rhyme quality, but it’s one that lends itself well to the ancient stories. Unfortunately, she largely ignores meter, so each of the two lines in a couplet can have anywhere from five to 12 syllables. This keeps the reader from ever finding a consistent rhythm, which would have made the reading experience much more enjoyable—particularly during the drier books, such as Leviticus: “We have not used sex God’s way. / It has been degraded in our day. / Washing was the act of purification / that kept the act from degradation.” Weiglein writes that she hopes this book will provide a jumping-off point for readers who might be unfamiliar with Scripture, and it’s true that her work is much less intimidating than the Bible itself. By breaking each chapter into a rhyming, bite-sized unit, this book will allow readers to quickly understand and even memorize the main points of the stories. Although many other summaries of Scripture are available, this is perhaps one of the more fun offerings.
Awkward poems, but sound biblical summaries.