Jezebel’s Got The Blues

Jezebel's Got The Blues by Merrill FarnsworthJezebel’s got the blues and I am red, red ochre mined from the earth and dried in the sun, the color of passion, fire and blood, the color on Jezebel’s cheeks. They call her  “whore”, and  “harlot” but I call her My Queen – she is more Queen than her enemies can handle.  They want to own her, shut her down, drown her in a lake of her own fire, because this woman holds her head high, too high, stirring up madness in the hearts of men who call themselves holy.

They want her on her knees in a darkened room mumbling the prayers they put on her lips. She fills her mouth with wine the color of crushed garnets, the essence of pepper and earth rolling across her tongue as she stains her lips with dark incantations.

They want her amber skin draped in coarse gray cloth, her blazing eyes and red cheeks covered with a long black veil shrouding the golden bracelets circling her ankles and arms and the jeweled amulet resting on the rise of her breasts. She drapes her body in red silk that caresses every curve, then kicks away the veil and paints red across her face where I cling, whispering her name softly, reminding her that she is Jezebel.

They want her to choke on the smoke of their sacrifices. She fills her lungs with the pungent scents of sandalwood and sage, and breathes in the jasmine piled high on Ba’al’s altar.  It is true that her pagan god stains this altar with the blood of innocents, but Jezebel closes her eyes and holds her breath, barely remembering the tangle of writhing bodies.

A dark mood overtakes her and she rides the night like a wraith, wandering the temple gardens, chanting to the moon, calling out to her husband, longing to wrap herself around him like the soft wild animal she is, drowning him in her perfume. She wakes at dawn remembering her husband is dead and her sons have been murdered and concedes everything but her pride.

It was Elijah who brought her down, Elijah, covered in animal skins; hair long and tangled, eyes wilder than hers. With passion hotter than any lovers, those two became enemies, leaving dead bodies in the wake of their holy war.

Jezebel killed Elijah’s prophets, hundreds of them, all in one night.

Elijah killed Jezebel’s faith, all of it, in one flash of holy fire, Yahweh’s fire, while her god remained silent, impotent, useless.

A righteous mob gathers at her door ready to toss her to the dogs, accusing her of all the wrongs in the world and all she can think to do is sit before the mirror painting stroke after stoke, layer after layer, red, upon red, upon red… trying to mumble their prayers, feeling a dark shroud falling around her, feeling blue.

My Queen! Do not falter!  If you must die, die as Jezebel -let them see you forever red.  Let them tell Elijah you died with fire in your eyes!

Hold your head high as you fall, feel red drops falling like rain, red drops falling from a thorny crown on a savior’s head, a savior gathering the broken pieces of your heart, bending them towards the light, caressing each note of Jezebel’s blues.

Merrill Farnsworth



About Merrill Farnsworth

Merrill was declared a poet in 6th grade by Sister Mary McDonald and kept writing. In addition to being named an ASCAP songwriter of the year for her work with Michelle Tumes on the single, Heaven’s Heart, she has written lyrics for various artists, worked on animation projects for Sony Wonder and Columbia Pictures and written numerous stage, video and radio scripts. Her current project is a collection of stories and paintings titled Jezebel’s got the Blues…and other works of imagination (slated to be published in 2012). This work has been performed several times with an outstanding cast that includes performances by Chip Arnold, Bonnie Keen, Nan Gurley, Robert Kiefer, Jon Royal and features the blues guitar of Phil Madeira. She collaborated with Phil on his new project Mercyland, which features artists Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Shawn Mullins, The Civil Wars and others. She is also in the early stages of working with writer and actor Chip Arnold on a new musical. Along the way, Merrill has discovered the healing power of art in her own life and now integrates the arts into her work as a therapist. After earning a graduate degree in developmental psychology from Vanderbilt University in 2000, She has created Writing Circles to help others discover the healing power within their own authentic voices. Merrill has worked as a therapist in corporate, clinical and educational settings. She currently has a private practice on 21st Avenue near Hillsboro village, where she works with groups and individuals. For more information contact her at or visit -- Merrill Farnsworth, LPC, MHSP Convent Place (formerly St. Bernard's Convent) 2021 21st Avenue South, 430 Nashville, TN 37212
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