Ghost in the Machine podcast
Returning where we've never been

Contemporary psalms

This Wednesday, Inkberry is offering a workshop in writing contemporary psalms, taught by Ray McGinnis, author of Writing the Sacred: A Psalm-Inspired Path to Appreciating and Writing Sacred Poetry (Northstone, April 2005). The workshop will "explore the psalms as a doorway to spiritual self-expression by inviting people to discover the poetic forms and themes of the Hebrew Psalms and draw upon these to help articulate their own longing for the sacred."

The class will meet from 7-9pm at the First Congregational Church in Williamstown; the cost is only $15, and you can register online here (or by emailing Inkberry.) If I didn't have to attend my Hasidism class on Wednesday night already, I would join this one-shot workshop in a heartbeat. This sounds like a delicious opportunity -- if you live in or near western Massachusetts, I hope you'll participate.

Over the last several years I've written a number of poems that find common ground with prayers and with psalms. (Some can be found in chaplainbook.) Here's a recent one -- written for the siddur we'll be using at mincha/maariv/havdalah the weekend my niece Emma becomes bat mitzvah, just a few short weeks from now!


Amidah poem

Some days I'm
all questions:
what do I have to do
before wisdom settles
over me like a tallit?

Why can't I orient
in the right direction?
Can you ever forgive me?
What does redemption
mean anyway?

I brim with desires:
I want to be whole
and healthy, to thrust
my hands wrist-deep
into seeds, into pearls.

I'd like a world
where nobody innocent
ever suffers, a peaceful
world -- and make it
snappy!  Other days

I overflow: thank you
for these people, for
variegated leaves, for
rain and chocolate and
stiff purple kohlrabi

thank you for rest
and for turning
with Your cosmic hand
the spigot of gratitude
in my endless heart.

Technorati tags: , , .