Friday, January 23, 2015

Morning After Genesis

 Morning after Genesis

The sun  still asleep
 Awakening at appointed time
It has no troubled soul 
That  rouses rest from its nest of night 
While darkness hovers over  God.

But man awakens 
 in the shadow of dreams that prick one’s past, telling a story steeped in fear ,
 tales of disguised darkness, 
Of buried bones now come alive, resurrected in the valley of  
Visions visible only to the sleeping soul.
“It was evening”  but the morning hasn’t come-the sun still sleeps-and I must wait for its cleansing light.

Stars stud the sky;  blankets of cloud  
Bar the  way of sparkling  night-
It is morning, without rays of sun but the moon's  silver crescent bodes well for the day yet to come.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Je Suis......

Je Suis.....

“I am what I am”
 Declared by bush burning
Je suis,  what a jam!
Ray of  light, world’s yearning

does that mean for us
a road open to all
to make all the fuss
whatever the call

words of satire
bullets of hate
a world set on fire
why not hesitate 

before He decided
to make us from dust
could have longer abided
Before He could trust

that word and weapon
in hands of my brother
too easy to step on
the Je suis of another

what ingredient in soil
what part of our frame
allows us to spoil
life’s championship game

is that God’s reflection
tender children to slaughter
nothing’s left but dejection
abandoned by the Potter ?

perhaps Je suis.
in the end is the quest
who do we want to be
life’s ultimate test

I am Je suis
answer for now I see
a broken heart, humility.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Scenic Mountain-Jerusalem-November 18, 2014-7:01 am

The sea of Talmud has turned red,
Its depths drenched in the  blood of sainted scholars

Where was the staff of Moses?
Where was God’s outstretched hand?
Why finger pointing to hatred’s poison?
Who will part raging waters, red with blameless blood?

No  magical wands, meat cleavers instead!
Murderers’ outstretched hands , stabbing white draped backs bent in prayer,
Talit turns red!
“Allah akbar,” the God of desperate death
Paid a visit to the synagogue that morning,
seeking sacrifices of unblemished souls

“If your sins be like crimson” a  prophet declares-
Seven in the morning, prayers
borne heavenward  on droplets of red,
Ascending from altars of bloody floors
and holy pages crimson splattered.

will bloody offerings 
cleanse sinful stains? 
will white ashes
soothe broken hearts,
a balm for lesions of love?

Worshipers watch arid dust 
poured  upon  corpses of consecration,
the deep is now their home
swallowed by the sacred soil of the  restful mountain .

Not pursuing enemies, sinking in sea’s churning waters,
but stricken Jews
drowning  in  tears of inconsolability.

“Allah akhbar!”-God of terrible might-
Away with Your furious face-
Get off Your bloodthirsty throne!
God of murderous might-turn around, do Teshuva,
show  Your back , that side seen by Moses on another mountain,
the tefillin knot that blunts  a bloody blade,
a back benign  and merciful;
Please take a seat on a fleece pillow, one soft as snow.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sex,Suffering and Song

Sex, Song and Suffering 

People’s lives 
Stand on many things
On what survives
And on passing flings

A Jew would say,
With faith and trust
Study, give and pray
without question a must

I don’t disagree
With any of  this
Yet it seems to me
We dare not miss

The true reality
Whether we like it or not,
Of another basic three
In their snare we are caught

Sex, suffering and song,
The gist of  humanity
 If right or if wrong
 Outlines of our sanity

Whether young or old,
Just ask Dr. Freud,
To life’s joy we can’t hold,
Without Eros buoyed  

 Disappointment and pain,
 Loss and much sadness,
They come like the rain
So do death, grief and madness

Amidst all life’s  story
All the good and the bad,
Strains of grace and of glory
That make the heart glad

Sound of music and  song 
Made by one or by throng
Spaces empty and aching
Filling souls as they’re breaking

One song  to endure
Either  popular or obscure
How can God walk away
Without one tune to play?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


How d’ya light the candles when you’re old-Hannukah-2014

I’m beginning to feel a lot like Shammai
as the years go by
all eight were lit the first day
not one like Hillel’s way

His students perhaps were older
returnees or those retired
Hillel’s young and bolder
to risk their brains are wired

He thoughtfully declared
At first lets start with eight
to live in the now he dared
Tomorrow may be too late

and whose version is real
of Hanukah’s true tale
History’s trial and ordeal
or legend  of oil so frail

the battle of the hero
the din of war hearts beating
pride and human ego
glory with triumph meeting

those who light one candle first
 have unlimited time
to grasp the explosive burst
of energy ‘s upward  climb

making history 
through clashing swords
hailing victory
by conquering hoards

adrenalin through pulsing veins
cries of forward making gains
the few, pious, unswerving
against the many, arrogant, undeserving

That’s how to celebrate,
at the end all the eight,
confident we’ll get there,
that’s Hillel’s path and prayer

but for me, 
its not the  clamor
nor mortal victory
not even Judah’s hammer
not enough spirituality

a tiny cruse of oil,
glowing in the dark
a refuge from all toil
a human’s holy spark

 not the noise and thunder
gushing guts and gore
 but a moment of quiet wonder
no room for sounds of war

so while Shammai’s the minority
 and Hillel reigns so strong
i thank him for sensitivity
to the weak who plod along.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Grateful for a remarkable birthday

It has been quite quite a while since I have posted any gratefulness comments.This is not to suggest that there has been nothing for which to be grateful all these months. To the contrary, every moment of every day represents untold reasons for gratitude.
But today is indeed special-it is Helen Fisher's 110th birthday!
I began visiting Helen over a year ago as part of a "doula" program that provides visits by volunteers to those whose passing is imminent. She had fallen and was reported as someone whose days were "numbered!" Over a year later, after weekly visitations to a woman who continued to survive and maintain her physical health,
she celebrated her 110th birthday. Helen has never taken a pill in her entire life and until her fall several years ago would take daily walks in her neighborhood and visit the local restaurants for meals.
While her cognitive capacities have been compromised, she maintains an upbeat attitude, charming me with her smile, her beautiful blue eyes and her capacity to blush when I kiss and hug  her.
Each visit to Helen is a reflection of the  miracle of life, its wonder and its hidden mysteries. I am grateful for the  opportunity to visit her and witness by her presence the  hope and marvel of life.
Happy birthday Helen-may you reach the Biblical span of 120 years of life.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Grateful for a fall

It was a "stupid" accident-arent all accidents stupid? Late at night, I made my way down  a flight of stairs and missed the stairs-it was dark, I was half asleep, disoriented, and landed  with a thump and a crash on the landing below-the result was a fractured clavicle!
I am not grateful that this happened-yet, if one reviews any mishap from the vantage point of being grateful, one can discover  insights of meaning from the pain and fear and inconvenience of such an experience.
What did I recognize that could enrich my life at this point?
How fortunate I was that the consequence was not more severe; to pay closer attention to one's environment and increase alertness to pitfalls in our way ; to experience one's vulnerability and the  inescapable reality of human dependence; to understand the pain of others. Perhaps most strikingly is the feeling of the deepest gratefulness for loved ones and health professionals ready to bring support and aid, and to ease one's pain and contribute to the natural road toward recovery.
It is said that God creates the healing before the affliction.While we may not believe in angels, this occurrence reminded me of the angelic nature of human beings. In the angelic entourage was the arch angel, my wife, without whose devotion and care my ordeal would have been unbearable. Physicians, nurses and physical therapists occupy the higher strata in the domain of the angelic presence. All attepts to help and words of empathy and encouragement, likewise, reflect the divine nature of the human soul.
Out of this episode I try to remain grateful and not dwell on -"why did this happen-to me??" but now that it did, my eyes have been opened to the gifts of healing for which I am deeply grateful.