Dan Bellm uses the methodology of midrash, which is a way of explaining omitted parts of biblical text by expanding on what is there or imagining what might have been said, to comment on modern life. For example, in his poem “Esau,” he imagines what Jacob might have been thinking when he is supposed to reconcile with his brother:
I should go and make peace with my brother. Trouble is we’re not fighting. Where I come from, we have such good manners we don’t talk to each other.
This, of course, is also an observation on non-communicative families of today. He continues that idea in musing on the practice of lighting yearly Yahrzeit candles for a loved one who has passed away:
How simple it ought to be, to practice compassion on someone gone, even love him, long as he’s not right there in front of me.
In another ironic poem, he compares his fifty-seven year old, flabby body, climbing the unending stairs of the Stairmaster to Jacob’s ladder “burning calories like prayers.”
He skillfully intertwines parables and biblical stories with every man’s daily struggle with the world and himself today. And for those not well-versed in the stories of the bible, the references for each of the texts are made clear in the appendix.