The ninth verse of this poem, the one concerning the Ark of the Covenant, was the first thing I wrote since it was the first thing mentioned while reading Exodus 25. After writing a few more stanzas, I started forming the poem as a series of questions and answers — a complete stranger stumbling upon this large structure in the desert and having a child explaining what it was: We serve God Jehovah who told us to build, etc. After that idea stalled, I decided on a self-guided tour of the Tabernacle.
After the first nine verses were completed, with the first thing I wrote literally being the last thing I wrote, I was wondering how to wrap it all up. I had walked through the entire structure, from the entrance to the east — all the way to the Holy of Holies, and was looking for the exit.
It bothered me that I hadn't described all of the contents within the Ark. As I was contemplating those things and thinking that I was left with some really crappy choices for possible rhymes, like the word staff — suddenly the word half came to mind with the idea of the torn veil. Thank you, Lord, for the save!
They served God Jehovah who told them to build
a place he could dwell and atone for their sin.
He gave them a pattern for space to be filled
with objects of worship he wanted within.
They'd enter the courtyard through gates to the east,
and come to an altar of bronze-covered wood.
The priest laid his hands on their innocent beast,
then killed, disemboweled and burned up where they stood.
Behind this horned altar a washbasin stands;
from bronze, both the basin and stand have been cast.
A place where the priests washed their feet and their hands
before they could enter God's presence, at last.
A couple steps further, within a small tent:
the Holy Place, hidden from everyone's sight.
The priests intercede while the people repent;
replacing the shewbread and feeding the light.
A gold-covered table was set to the north,
its golden utensils and dishes in place;
with bread loaves for God that the Levites put forth,
called bread of the Presence or bread of the Face.
A solid gold lampstand that brilliantly floods
the room with its flickering glorious rays.
A golden menorah with petals and buds;
resplendent, replete with gold snuffers and trays.
An altar for incense, in front of the veil
diffusing sweet fragrance Jehovah desires.
Both morning and evening the priests, without fail,
brought coals from the courtyard's last sacrificed fires.
The Holy of Holies, the innermost room,
the high priest could enter but once every year.
Since unconfessed sin in his heart would bring doom;
he'd enter God's presence with reverent fear.
A chest, or an ark, from acacia was made,
with stones of his law God inscribed in its hold.
Adorned with the wings of two cherubim splayed,
its lid hammered out of solidified gold.
Along with those tablets the ark would contain
a jar filled with manna and Aaron's bloomed staff.
All this was God's Grace until his Lamb was slain,
when God tore the veil to his Mercy in half.
And they are to make a sanctuary for Me, so that I may dwell among them. You must make the tabernacle and design all its furnishings according to the pattern I show you.