3: Tanakh excerpt, Genesis 8.
The raven in Goldberg’s first stanza suggests two possible allusions: the biblical story of Noah’s Ark and Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven.” In Genesis 8, we are told that once the rains stopped, Noah first sent out a raven, which circled around (or back and forth) until the waters cleared. Then Noah sent out a dove, which brought back a sign of land. (We'll discuss the Poe poem in resource #4 of this kit.)
Suggested activity: Ask students to think about the significance of the raven in this poem. Have them think about the relation to the biblical story and why Goldberg highlights the raven and not the dove, the bird that ultimately finds a place for the Ark to settle. Why choose the raven, a bird that circles around without finding a destination? Ask them to think about the implications of turning the raven into a herald of “different continents.” Does the raven make us think differently about immigration and settlement?
Sources: Genesis 8, The Hebrew Bible, http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0108.htm.