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January 4, 2011

I Am I Am: According to Dr. Seuss

By W. Alan Froggatt

I Am I Am, I Am I Am,
What kind of name is I Am I Am?
A name that follows here and there
A name which leads me, who knows where?
Just answer the question of Moses man:
What kind of name is I Am I Am?

Once I could call Egypt home,
but now have been condemned to roam
For anger made me kill a man,
and hide his body in the sand.
In the wilderness I live-
Moses, desert fugitive…
Expatriate upon the I am,
Until I met I Am I Am.
Despite my guilt, I thought I’d leave,
and ask the Pharaoh for reprieve;
I thought I might return to Cush
when I Am lit the burning bush.

“Take off your shoes! “-the words resound-
“For where you stand is sacred ground;
“My Son,” he said, “I have a chore,
and thus to you do I implore:
Moses, free my little band
and bring them out of Egypt’s land.
Pharaoh’s forgotten Little Joe,
but he must let my people go.
Tell Egypt’s king I am the Lord,
and he’ll forever be abhorred
If he won’t free the Hebrew slaves,
for I am always one who saves.”
Quickly came my first reply
I had the perfect alibi:


“I Am, I don’t know if I can,
for I’ve become a wanted man;
Death awaits in Egypt’s land,
I cannot go, I Am I Am!”
I said, “The task is much too hard;
besides, I’ll need a calling card.
I’ll need more than a weekend pass,
if I’m to free the working class.
For Egypt wields stupendous might,
and won’t give up without a fight.
And have you thought it just may be
the Jews don’t care to be set free?
It’s often been Israel’s proclivity
to prosper in captivity.
I Am, are you sure you know
your people want to be let go?
You must provide me with a plan,
or I cannot go, I Am, I Am.”
Afraid I Am would find a way,
I dreaded hearing what he’d say:

“Don’t look so glum, don’t look so dour;
for I intend to give you power.
Moses, don’t look so alarmed,
I will not send you forth unarmed!
If asked what you intend to do,
say I Am has sent me to you.
They will understand your aim
once you reveal the holy name:
I Am I Am-what’s more, you see,
I will be what I will be.
The name’s the thing, my Moses man,
soon all will know I Am I Am.
They will know me here and there,
they will know me everywhere.
They’ll say so far as breath allows:
“May I Am bless me and my house.”
They’ll worship when the day turns dark,
they’ll carry me within the ark.
To take Egyptians by surprise,
concoct a plague of gnats and flies.

Proclaim my name with boils and hail
I Am I Am will never fail.
Moses, you must do your part
to soften Pharaoh’s hardened heart.
When I set my people free,
I’ll part the waters of the sea!
My name will reach the Amorites,
the Perizzites, the Jebusites;
When Israel finds the promised land,
the world will know I Am I Am.”
“I Am,” I said, “these things you ask
seem to me an awesome task.
Do you indeed intend to tame
all of Egypt with just a name?

I don’t know what happens next,
but I Am, I am quite perplexed.
My basic question’s still the same:
how is it done with just a name?”
“Moses, ” came the heavenly call,
“I give my name to one and all.
When my words are once believed,
my messenger will be received.
Today you are the bearer, son,
but my messages have just begun.
Redemption is the final aim
for everyone who bears my name.
My people must return to me
no matter what that name might be:
Yahweh, Jehovah can apply,
the Holy One, or El Shaddai,
I Am, Messiah, if you please,
the God of Jacob, Prince of Peace.”
“I see, I Am,” I said with a nod,
“No matter what, you still are God;
Almighty, known by many names-
Creator, Redeemer, Who Sustains,
And even if we balk or fuss,
the fact remains, you still call us.
Regardless of what we all call you,
you beckon us in all we do.
It sounds to me a perfect plan-
count me in, I Am I Am!”

W. Alan Froggatt is the minister of the Bridgewater Congregational Church, Bridgewater, Connecticut. He is interpreting the text, Exodus 3:14, in the style of “Dr. Seuss” (Theodore Seuss Geisel, d. Sept. 25, 1991).

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3 comments

  • At 7:45 pm on January 4, 2011, Adonis commented:

    “In the style of..” :P Misleading headline.

  • At 7:59 am on January 7, 2011, archshrk commented:

    Sorry, that’s the actual title of the piece. “in the style of…) does occur at the bottom of the page. See, there, right before the words “Dr. Seuss”.

  • At 10:28 am on January 7, 2011, Adonis commented:

    Where do you think I quoted it from? :p

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