Sacrifice of Isaac

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Caravaggio - The Sacrifice of Isaac

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn


Juan de Valdez Leal

Juan de Valdez Leal

Tizanio Titian Vecillio

Sacrifice of Isaac Tiziano Titian Vecellio

Isaac – Amir Gilboa

Early in the morning the sun took a walk in the forest
Together with me and with Father
And my right hand in his left.

Like lightning a knife flamed between the trees.
And I fear so the terror of my eyes facing blood on the leaves.

Father, hurry and save Isaac
And no one will be missing at lunchtime.

It is I who am being slaughtered, my son,
And my blood is already on the leaves.
And Father’s voice was stifled.
And his face pale.

And I wanted to cry out; writhing not to believe
And tearing open the eyes.
And I woke up.

And bloodless was my right hand.

Here is a site with more poems on the subject, interesting commentary, and even lesson plans for you teachers. It is well-worth checking out:


He really meant to do it.
All it took was an angel’s merest touch
to stop him, but the boy’s hands
were tied, the father’s fingers
wrapped around his jaw
(perhaps to smother him — one paltry act
of mercy before the fatal slice?).

What kind of God would require
such appalling fidelity?
What kind of father could bear
to imagine the blade
leaving its trail of red
in the tender skin of a throat
no beard has covered?

What would it take?

What must be the magnitude
of a love that would go this far?
The look in Abraham’s eye
is crazed. The angel’s message
relieves him (though all his life
some madness will haunt him,
and Sarah will follow his steps
with darkened eyes).

You don’t have to do this
any more. Another father
will take your place
Another son will be led to slaughter.
The promise will be fulfilled,
Israel’s seed will be planted.
Let him grow old and die.

~ Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, born 1949, American poet and essayist, from Drawn to the Light: Poems on Rembrandt’s Religious Paintings

Leonard Cohen

Bob Dylan

I forgot Chagall…

the-sacrifice-of-isaac-1966 Marc ChagallActually, Chagall is not my favorite. I always want to like him, but I don’t so much. Here is what Ferlinghetti has to say about him…kinda…

Don’t Let That Horse . . .


Don’t let that horse
                              eat that violin
    cried Chagall’s mother
                                     But he
                      kept right on
And became famous
And kept on painting
                              The Horse With Violin In Mouth
And when he finally finished it
he jumped up upon the horse
                                        and rode away
          waving the violin
And then with a low bow gave it
to the first naked nude he ran across
And there were no strings

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “Don’t Let That Horse…” from Coney Island of the Mind. Copyright © 1958 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation,

Source: These Are My Rivers: New and Selected Poems (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1993) 

I do like Ferlinghetti!