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Poet CM Davidson struggles with the theme of "poverty" and Isaiah 58:6-11 in his work for Spark+Echo, Yoked.

Isaiah 58:6-11



CM Davidson


Artist Location: Southern California

Curated by: 

Chris Davidson



Image by Giorgio Trovato

Primary Scripture

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The passage from what's called "Third Isaiah" suggested a process as natural as photosynthesis: Fast by action, in this case, free the oppressed and give what you (as a people) have to those among you who need it. The result will be God's favor, restoration, and greater abundance than you already enjoy.

Walter Brueggemann provide conceptual grist for the poem. He writes, of this passage,

It turned out that the "facts on the ground" in restored Jerusalem were modest and shabby when contrasted with the lyrical anticipations of Second Isaiah.1

This helped me think of the narrator as someone who, in the midst of his comfort and security, feels ill at ease, dislocated. This is a common theme for literature of the last couple hundred years, but it was new to me to think that the source of that dislocation is that the privileged are the invisible ones, not the poor (verse 7). The existence of poverty and injustice doesn't divide us from "the other" but from our brothers and sisters, from‚ it seems banal to write it so directly‚ ourselves. It should be said that what attracted me to these verses is not equivalent to what the poem expresses. As all poems do, this one found its own path.

1 Walter Brueggemann, An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination

Spark Notes

The Artist's Reflection

CM Davidson’s work has appeared in Zyzzyva, Green Mountains Review, Zocalo Public Square, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. He lives in Southern California with his wife and sons. He sporadically keeps up a blog,

CM Davidson

About the Artist

CM Davidson

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