A couple of days ago I posted links to my ten favorite prose posts of the (secular) year now ending. Today I'm sharing links to my ten favorite poems which I posted here this year. They're shared chronologically, starting with a sestina written early in the year, moving through poems about parenting, Shabbat, hope, funerals, the book of Jonah, Sukkot, theology and grief, the coming of evening, and ending with a poem I shared recently about the longest night of the year.
Thanks for reading! I wish you joy as we transition into 2014. See you on the other side.
Sestina for a three-year-old - "You can turn anything into a car. / Drive your bread across the bright / expanse of table, look to see/ whether I'm watching, if I'll say no. / Tell me you can do it, you are big/ enough, you know you are three."
Right here, right now - " Powered by an everlasting generator / until bedtime when you shove your fists / into your eyes. Curl beside the giant tiger. / Playgrounds are miraculous. So are trains..."
Saturday afternoon request - " Help me to silence / my mind's aggravation alarm, / to quiet the voice which says / the to-do list matters, / to temporarily eschew / continuous partial attention..."
Affirmation - " Even when factories explode, / when gun deaths rise / like flood waters, // when long-held prejudices / prove impossible to dislodge, / when there's no way around // admitting that what hurts / isn't going away..."
Funeral after Tisha b'Av - "The windshield wipers sway from side to side / like whip-thin Hasidim shuckeling in prayer. // I traverse Silver and Old Orebed, roads named / after gashes in the flesh of the earth..."
We are Jonah - "In Rabbi Eliezer's vision / Jonah entered the whale's mouth / as we enter a synagogue. / Light streamed in through its eyes. / Jonah approached the bimah, the whale's head. / Show me wonders, he said, as though / his own life weren't a miracle."
Decoration - " The rainbow foil garlands broke / on the night of heavy rain. / Slivers of color adorn the lawn. / Your tears fell like willow leaves. // You insisted we find / the decoration store..."
Firmanent / Tearing - " Our sages teach: read not 'firmanent' / but 'rupture.' Swap two sounds / in the original Hebrew
and the vastness of the sky's expanse / becomes the primal tearing /at creation's birth.."
Autumn nightfall - "You mix the watercolors of the evening / like my son, swishing his brush / until the waters are black with paint..."
The longest night - "We wrest what gifts we can / from the dying days..."