Beginning my fall semester with the Qur'an
On posting the wrong week's Torah poem

This week's portion: blessed


Blessed shall you be in the garden
and blessed shall you be in the kitchen.

Blessed shall be your canning jars
and your gleaming pantry.

Blessed shall be your nursery
with diaper pail and rocking chair.

Blessed shall be your address book
overflowing with names.

Blessed shall you be on the elliptical
and blessed shall you be on the rail trail.

Blessed shall you be in your learning
and blessed shall you be in your teaching.

Blessed shall be the work of your hands
and blessed shall be the work of your heart.

This week's portion, Ki Tavo, contains a string of curses and a string of blessings. Much has been made of the ratio of curses to blessings, and of the content and context of the curses and the blessings. Unsurprisingly, I gravitate toward the blessings, both theologically and poetically.

This week's Torah poem riffs on the notion of blessings. I took the form of the blessings in this week's Torah portion and extended it to new arenas: not just basket and kneading bowl but also pantry and nursery. "Coming and going" implies both ends of a journey, the setting-forth and the returning-home; "learning and teaching" does, too. I wanted to include blessings in all four worlds: the physical realm, the emotional realm, the intellectual realm, and the realm of essence.

I winnowed my couplets to seven, one for each day of the week. (It's also a gentle nod to the sonnet form, though I decided I liked the shape of repeating couplets better than four quatrains plus a couplet.) But if you have other blessings to add, I'd love to see them.

As usual, if you can't see the audio player at the top of this post or if you'd like to save the recording of this poem, you can download blessed.mp3.

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