by Leonard Lehrman
(#2 from Sisters op. 100)
What have I done? Where did I go wrong?
What sin could I have committed to have provoked such a curse? Stricken, as a leper, I am now the bane of all people. They scoff at me. I, who was to lead, am now to be the cause of at least a week's delay. Who will follow me now? Who will ever again listen to what I have to say?
Was it because I chose to speak out?
When we crossed the Red Sea, I led the rejoicing in song: "The Lord has triumphed gloriously! Gloriously!" And my brother Moses proclaimed me a prophetess! Was it wrong of me to question his authority now? I said he might not be the only one to receive divine guidance, might not be the only one questing after Truth. Aaron was with me; and the women listened, but no one followed me. Was I wrong to persist? Shunned as a leper, I shall never lead again - all respect for me has been destroyed; whatever power I did possess is gone.
A new generation of men, and of women, will have to enter the land of promises - promises of freedom, and of justice. Let them remember, and, in memory of Miriam, never allow the self-righteous complacence - no matter how masked in meekness - of any would-be Moses to go unchallenged!
Sources: Exod. 2:1-9, 15:20-21; Num. 12:1-16, 20:1-2, 26:59; ISam. 18:7; Habakkuk 3:7; Micah 6:4
recorded by Helene Williams on Songs of Conscience
cassette 3/91; re-issued on CD, 6/03
[posted online at: amc.net]