Archive for the ‘Holiday / Holy Day’ Category

h1

Twas the Night of Thanksgiving

November 23, 2005

Twas the night of Thanksgiving,
and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring
not even a mouse.

We all had had more than
our share of good food,
eating turkey and stuffing, and
not to be rude

but our waists had expanded
past one more belt notch,
was it fate that demanded
that last glass of scotch?

Well, now that the eating
is finally done
and all of the “younglings”
are resting their “tums”,

it’s time to start planning
the shopping excursion,
we’ll take in the morning,
some say it’s perversion

the sheer gabs of money
we spend on our gifts
when all the world over
their needs are for thrift

but we spend our dough
as though it will never
diminish and so
we think we are clever

when deficits rise
(both our own and the national).
Can you sense the surprise,
we don’t think that it’s rational

when our stomachs and purses
fill up, pop our buttons,
the rest of the nations
know we are just gluttons.

h1

Dirty Pipes or The First Plague (revised)

February 11, 2005

I turn the tap on my faucet and the
Water runs russet.
What turns the water red?
What sediment of ages past flows in my pipes and into my body
Turning what was a fountain of life into a repository of death?

Was this what the Egyptians saw with the coming of the first plague
Life-giving water turning to blood
Mother of rivers brought to her knees,
Raw, bitter, bringer of death
To her children?

What did the Egyptians do for water during those terrible days
Did they consume the red liquid
Taking into their own bodies the pestilence and disease
Or did they run parched and dirty
Through the streets of the great city?

Did they marvel at the Awesome Power that brought the first
Menstruation of their Mother
And what of the Jews
Beneficiaries of this first great tragedy,
How did they satisfy their thirst?

But back in my kitchen I look to much more mundane realities
I call the plumber and make an appointment
Ensuring that he Roto-Rooters my drains,
Snaking through my pipes
Removing any doubt about their cleanliness.

And I am free to wash away the blood that runs through my reality
Chalk it up to past experience,
Forget about the lesson I unwittingly learned
That behind every bringer of life
Lies the potential for death.


This is the 2nd try at a poem that I posted in its first form here. Today, I am heading over (at 12:00 noon) for the weekly MIT writers (students, faculty, staff) who offer critique to each other on their writing. Each week a different person brings something to share, and we offer our insights. A great group which meets in the Writing Center in Stata on Fridays during the year.

This version of the poem is slightly changed due to some feedback I have received from last week’s session (during which we began to consider the piece) and some feedback from the Critical Poets online forum (another great resource for poets) where I had the piece reviewed under the category of “Poems for Critique and Revision”.

If you want to add your two cents, please feel free. I will be posting my final(ish) version sometime next week.

h1

Thanksgiving and Charlie Brown

January 10, 2005

11/2002


I smell the damp, dewy scent of fallen leaves,
As I watch them, red and yellow and orange,
Twirling in the sky,
I see the pregnant clouds,
Puffy, bloated, ready to unleash gentle flakes of newly fallen snow,
Dripping, cascading from the sky in near perfection.


I think of Charlie Brown,
And the T.V. special I watched when I was younger.
The many Thanksgivings that were only complete with his presence.
I think of all the past years,
The turkey, the long table, the friendly company.
I think of Snoopy
All alone (but with Woodstock, always with Woodstock)
Spending his Thanksgiving in a snow-covered dog-house
Left behind.


I return to the clouds, the snow,
Amazed at their torrent,
The way the snow blankets the ground, renewing it with whiteness.
I close my eyes and breathe the warmth of the holiday.
The good cheer, the toasts, the splendor, the thankfulness.


I open my eyes and sense the hungry in the streets, the poor in our alleyways.
A million Snoopys without a yellow companion
Spending their time in their own snow-covered dog-houses.
Can I ever know your sorrow, Snoopy?  Your joy?
Do you have anything this year to make you thankful?
I’ve never been alone or hungry or without a reason to give thanks.
I bow my head and pray for you, Snoopy, on this day of Thanksgiving,
I pray for an end to your hopelessness and your sorrow


And I also pray for myself.
And give thanks for all God’s blessings.


On this beautiful, sharp, snow-covered day I give thanks
And remember.

h1

Dirty Pipes or The First Plague

January 3, 2005

12/22/04


I turn the tap on my faucet and the
Water runs russet,
I wonder what particles turn the water red?
What sediment of ages past flows in my pipes (even when they are clean) and into my body
Turning what was a fountain of life into a repository of death?


Was this what the Egyptians saw with the coming of the first plague?
Life-giving water turning to blood?
Mother of rivers brought to her knees,
Raw, bitter, bringer of death
To her children?


What did the Egyptians do for water during those terrible days?
Did they consume the red liquid
Taking into their own bodies the pestilence and disease?
Or did they run parched and dirty
Through the streets of the great city?


Did they marvel at the Awesome Power that brought the first
Menstruation of their Mother?
And what of the Jews?
Beneficiaries of this first great tragedy,
How did they satisfy their thirst?


But back in my kitchen I look to much more mundane realities.
I call the plumber and make an appointment.
Ensuring that he Roto-Rooters my drains,
Snaking through my pipes
Removing any doubt about their cleanliness.


And I am free to wash away the blood that runs through my reality.
Chalk it up to past experience,
Forget about the lesson I unwittingly learned
That behind every bringer of life
Lies the potential for death.




I am beginning work on a series of poems relating to the Ten Plagues of the Exodus story.  Some serious, some humorous, some in free verse, some with rhyming structures, I want to take the stories of the plagues and relate each in some way to modern times.  This is the first plague (the plague of Blood) where the Nile River turned to blood.


More will be posted but I would invite your feedback on this first one.

h1

Rest for the Weary

December 23, 2004

12/2001
 
Rush,
from the house to the job
from the bank to the day care
from the school to the
Rush


Run
Hurry, hurry through the day
Hurry, hurry get it done
Hurry, hurry need to
Run


Fast
Feed the dog, pay the bills
Feed the kids, clean the dishes
Feed the ego, feed the
Fast


Quick
See the windows and the sales,
O p e n   u  p,   m y   m i  n d     s     e     t     s                   s         a         i            l


And
I
pause…


Breathe


Drink
in
the
holiday


Revel in the winter gift of lazy do-nothing holiday days when the winter white snow falls and time stands still and all of my cares slip from the knots in my stomach and the stress in my shoulders and the only time I care about is now and the only place I need to be is here and I have arrived…


If only I could stay here forever


But it’s…


Back,
To the office to the school,
To the store and to the bills
To the hustle and the
Back


I want to go back
To the holy day and rest.


–Daniel T. Barkowitz





This poem was written for a poetry challenge sponspored by WBUR, Boston’s NPR News Station.  It was submitted in December 2001 and selected as a featured poem, and read on air by WBUR guest poet Molly Saccardo.   Her reading of the poem can be heard here (Real Player is required to listen to the show).