Amnon and Tamar

King David had a son
and Amnon was his name.
He fell in love with Tamar,
his sister to his shame.
So strong were the pangs of love
he lay in bed, now lame.

One morning came his father
blind to this deceit.
"What ails you my Amnon?"
quite worried, he did repeat.
"It's just I'm sick, oh father,
so sick I cannot eat."

"But eat, you shall dear Amnon
the tender meat of turkey
and drink the finest wines we have"
the king proclaimed unto he.
"Then eat I shall, dear father,
if Tamar cooks it for me."

"I'll call Tamar right away
before the moon has shone"
said David rising from his chair
the truth to him unknown
Said Amnon, "but when she comes
won't you let it be alone."

The king he left the room
and Tamar soon arrived
"What ails you?" she asked of him.
"My love for you," he sighed.
"Well I'm sorry but if loving me has crippled you,
but you might as well just stay in bed and die."

He reached to touch her breast
and threw her to the bed.
Tamar screamed so frightfully
she could have woke the dead.
She cried aloud, but no one came
then sadly bowed her head.

As Tamar left the room
that burning did begin.
She felt flames ignite her heart
with pain from deep within.
When on the way she met Absalom
to ask her where she'd been.

"What is it now that seizes you
and forced you here to scurry?"
"It is that wretched Amnon
who has cause my honor injury."
"Oh do not grieve sweet Tamar
for he soon will feel your fury."

"Oh do not grieve sweet little one,
for anything he's done.
For you shall be avenged I swear
just as, rises the sun.
One morning you will be relieved
as the blood of Amnon runs.

Adapted from a Ladino romance
(see The Sephardic Tradition by Moshe Lazar, Norton, 1972)

© 1993 & 2005 Steven Clotzman - all rights reserved