Mikvah, expectations, and the blessing of failure
Happy everything!

New year's poem

For the last several years, I've written at least one poem during the month of Elul which relates somehow to the Days of Awe or to the process of teshuvah that characterizes this season. Each year Ethan and I send that poem, as our holiday card, to family and friends during Elul.

All of you who read and comment upon this blog are part of that circle of family and friends, so I wanted to share this year's holiday poem with you. (Last year's is here.) Once again, I'll put it beneath the extended-entry link; click if this sort of thing appeals to you.

As Elul draws to a close, I wish you a sweet and meaningful journey through the Days of Awe. Thanks for walking this road with me!


I'm cleaning the cupboard
beside the stove, low to the floor,
where pots and pans hide

Our kitchen is well-used,
baker’s rack gleaming
with neat jars of peaches,
string beans, preserves

but one swipe of paper towel
across this hidden surface
and I flinch at the grime
I never noticed before.

This is teshuvah: opening
every closed-up space. I'm
a window smeared with dust,
a cabinet in need of scouring.

It's simple work, but
part of me resists, preferring
distraction to clarity.
When I make the leap

I suddenly can't believe
I ever ignored the dirt.
Hot water blesses my hands
into action. God, help me

put my house in order,
begin the year in readiness
for the wonders I know
are coming, are always here.


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