Oil for the Lamp: A Poem

Oil for the Lamp

by Joel E. Jacobson

The parable of the 10 virgins couldn’t happen today because cell phones run on batteries. We’ve heard the stories of those who forgot their phone charger but still stayed up late texting and facebooking, checking defining their status, and others’. I too will shop ‘til my phone drops and then drop myself into a dead sleep, salvation. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is awake to hear it, it must not make a noise.  Because they are not here in front of me, there are no tornadoes or tsunamis or economic crises; there is no knock on the door, no parents demanding I wake up, nobody sweeping me off my feet or out of my bed, and there surely isn’t a buzz telling me I must read this important text because the batteries are dead. Plus, I’m not a virgin.


I don’t write prose poems very often, as it seems I have a hard time making them work. But it seems that this poem was demanding to be prose. What works? What doesn’t? Feel free to discuss!

“Oil for the Lamp” is part 5 of the Storytellers project. Here are parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.


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