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.