Archive for August, 2006

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When Last It Was I Looked Upon Your Face

August 21, 2006

When last it was I looked upon your face
your pregnant eyes were full of certain grace
your gentle touch, with all its soft carress
your spirit free, your soul by angels blessed.
Your dappled smile gave hints of summer dew
and joyous mirth. These images of you
are all that’s left to me now. Winter’s here
and what was newly born is old and sere.
Your memory, a portrait in my head
is drained of hue. My recollection dead
as passing time, the enemy of years
has drowned my childhood fantasy in tears.

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Opinions

August 20, 2006

11/1984

Opinions have a way
of hurting those they touch
for never is a true
opinion kind, with love

For I may say, “I like it,”
but deep inside you know
that what I really mean
is that “It doesn’t go”.


Another busy week getting ready for the school year to start again, and so no time to sit and write. I miss it!!! I hope to get back to writing this week, but in the meantime here is a little ditty about the position none of us love to be in: “So tell me, how does this look on me? Do you like it?”

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Global Winds

August 13, 2006

7/11/1986

Here I sit on a rolling hill
as the global winds rush past me,
with an eagle’s view and an iron will
and the news that will not last me,
and I see the sound and I hear the sight
of a world that is in trouble,
for a single bomb and a nuclear night
will leave this world in rubble.


Ahhh… for the days when all a teenager need worry about was the end of the world in some kind of nuclear conflagration. So, wait, has anything really changed?

Not my best poetic effort by far (I like the first four lines much better than the last four), but not bad for a 16 year old.

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Subway Dream

August 13, 2006

Something happened on my way home yesterday
you opened up your blue-green mouth and I was
swallowed up by the noisy indignation of the
brutal street; grey taxi-cabs passed me on the
thoroughfare of little angels and I dove into a waterfall
of slowly swirling images of doubt.

When I surfaced for air, all I could see was a sky
light of stars as they fell upwards, moving
to plug the leaks in the firmament that were left
by your big footprints, your high heels punching
patterns of holes in my self-esteem, and when
I turned the corner, I was back in my bedroom alone.

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A Blessing for Eric

August 11, 2006

May you have the wisdom of Abraham,
finding the courage to question
and the certainty that there is an answer.
May you have the strength of Jacob,
wrestling with the messenger
and questioning the message.
May you find the same joy Miriam found
at the shores of the sea,
bursting into a song of gratitude and awe.
May you follow in Ruth’s footsteps,
taking strength in the faith of our people.

May you know what it was to be at Sinai
when the mountains trembled
and the trumpets blared
and Moses spoke to the assembly
saying, “All that Adonai has spoken
we will faithfully do.”

Today, we add your name to the list of those
who witnessed the fire in the desert.
You are now counted as one of those who
live by the example of the Torah;
subject to its commandments.
Your future is tied to its past.

You have been counted today.
And we are blessed by your action.
We are better for having you among us.
We welcome you and honor you.


It is often harder to stand up for something you believe in, and make a change from what you know to what is new, than it is to simply be what you always were. This poem / prayer was written for our friend, Eric, who converted to Judaism within the last several months. I offer it to you as a prayer for someone newly converting to Judaism.

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The Bird, the Student and the Teacher

August 10, 2006

She holds it in her hand,
the tiny bird, its heart
fluttering, snatched from the nest
unsuspecting, its vital
role on this clear spring day.

He sits, lotus position,
hands in an open pose
folding in on himself,
like an onion, layer
on layer, she approaches.

“Teacher,” she says, “A lesson
I have for you. Wonder
what it is I carry
in my hands?” She pauses
knowing she has stumped him.

The Master pauses, smiles
knowing on his shoulders
lies the weight of the world.
She will crush the bird, kill
it if he says it lives

but open her hands, free
the bird if he answers
that it is dead there, so
he gives her the answer
that still haunts me today

“You, my child, are the
master of your own future.
You have life and death in
your hands, choose wisely, child.”
She opens her hands, ashamed.

Have I chosen wisely
Teacher? Have I chosen life
when I had the power
to wound small creatures who
looked to me for safety?

Am I the student or
the teacher now? Can I
understand his smile
in the face of the bird’s death?
His faith and utter

certainty that she would
choose the wiser path, and
not abandon life. Can
anyone know what it was
to be the bird, praying

hoping, calling for life,
your heart fluttering as
your world, cavalierly,
decided your fate? We
are our own architects,

we write with footprints on
the shores of ancient seas,
but still we don’t recall
the ancient lesson, help us
remember to choose life.


Some of you may recognize this legend as one told of the Ba’al Shem Tov, the Master of God’s Great Name, a Chassidic Rabbi who was a great teacher and a mystic. I have taken some liberties with the story, but the fundamental message is the same. In this crazy time, why don’t we learn our lessons from the past? We do hold the power of life and death in our hands and the choices we make daily show our impact. I continue to pray for peace.

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Library

August 6, 2006

Books spill,
Overflowing arms —
“Quiet, please!”