LISTEN UP, ABRAHAM

A commentary on a holy book
suggested snakes
cannot hear one another.
Perhaps their deafness goes
beyond family and species.
It would do much
to explain God’s rejection
of Eve’s proffered excuse
that despite her protestations
and those of Adam
the snake would not
take no for an answer –
a deaf snake, after all
having spoken, has little
to do but move along
to the next monologue.

OH, NOAH

None of us can remember
what was here before.
We can search for clues,
develop elaborate surmises
and find telling relics
from which we can conclude
this or that, with a certitude
the gods would surely mock.
But our field of vision
is restricted, our memories
equally so, and we are left
with one certainty, supposition.
And that will be true
at least until the moment
we realize that we too are
antediluvian and we hear the sound
of the approaching flood.

 

THIS IS HOW WE MOURN

This is how we mourn:
we don’t berate the clouds for gathering,
nor begrudge the rain’s ultimate descent.
Our tears fall to the earth as well,
and there are moments when we need the gray,
moments when the sun would
be an unwelcomed interloper.
This is how we mourn:
we wipe the walls clean of history,
we whitewash them for they, too,
must be a tachrichim* and when done
we add the names, each lettered carefully,
this a plaster scroll
of those we dare not forget
requiring the perfection
they were denied.
This is how we mourn:
by walking out into the sunfilled sky,
having given them the grave
once denied them
freshly dug into
our souls and memory.


*tachrichim is the traditional white linen Jewish burial shroud.

Written following a visit to the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague, where  the 80,000 names of Czech and Moravian Jews who perished under the Nazis were hand-written on the walls of the synagogue.

CROW DANCE

Sunday

They gather in the trees
remarkably silent
one speaks
their morning prayers
and they
return home.

Monday

Only three arrive
to commentate
our morning walk.
We appreciate
the silence.

Tuesday

There is a reason
for all
sentient creatures
but the crow
tests our credulity.

Wednesday

A wintered branch
breaks
under the weight
of the blackness.
There is much
gnashing of wing.

Thursday

A single bird
seems pitiable
and lonley
but we lack
avian compassion.

Friday

The usual
morning cacaphony
but why are they
so happy
it is Friday?

Saturday

Would that they
were ravens
and would heed
my entreaty
Nevermore!

CREATION

God created man in God’s image
much as man created God in his.
If there were no God, there
could be no man, and yet,
if there were no man,
there would be no God.
Perhaps Aristotle had it right
but certainly easier, noting
that bird and egg must
have always existed, and so
for that moment, Aristotle
without knowing it,
created both man and God.