TO MY HAGGADAH
Over the years your staples have slipped
and pages loosened. Here a faded purple crescent
of ancient wine, there a smudge
from bricks of date paste.
But when you speak I swoon. Tell me again
how we were slaves to a Pharaoh in Egypt
but the Holy One brought us out from there
with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.
Sing to me of unleavened bread, of parsley
dipped in bitter tears. Remind me
if I wait until I feel fully ready
I might never leap at all. Waltz me giddy
through psalms of praise. Promise me
next year a world redeemed.
The first draft naturally came to sixteen lines; when I printed it out and read it aloud, I realized that if I tightened it a little bit I could get it down to a sonnet's fourteen lines, so that's what I did. Though it doesn't rhyme and has no meter, it's loosely based around the Petrarchan sonnet form -- it breaks naturally into eight lines followed by six lines.
I do love the haggadah. All of them. Every version, every iteration, from the most traditional to the most avant-garde. Variations on a theme which never fails to stir my heart. My favorite holiday is almost here!