Poems for the new year
August 24, 2009
In 2003, the same year that I started this blog, I started the practice of writing a "new year's poem" (or, maybe more accurately, an Elul poem -- a poem written during this month of spiritual preparation for the Days of Awe) and Ethan and I began sending them to family and friends as our new year's card each year. The first few years, I went to the copy shop in Williamstown and made print copies of the poem and mailed it on paper. In more recent years we've transitioned to sending out the card via email, and also posting it to this blog to share with the friends who read these words.
Recently I got an email from someone who had heard a snippet of one of my poems in a sermon. "Can you send me your poem about teshuvah?" she asked. (Teshuvah is the Hebrew word usually translated as atonement; in my rendering it means repentance or return.) The email made me laugh; I had to explain that I wasn't sure which poem she meant, since I've written many poems on these themes! But I figured the odds were good that she had encountered one of my new year's / Elul poems, since those are the ones I've put the most directly out into the world.
So I collected them, by year, and have put them online. If you're interested, you can find them here:
Velveteen Rabbi's New Year's Poems (2003 & onward)
Please feel free to share them with friends, to quote them in blog posts or synagogue newsletters, to use them in sermons -- whatever feels right to you. But please do keep my name and URL attached to them, so that if they speak to someone new, that someone will know who I am and where to find more of my writing. Thanks, y'all!