On beginning a Torah podcast...with my students
Kedushat Levi on seeing God "face to face"

Drawing (on) our dreams

When I describe
the characters in Super Why
diving into books
to change the story
and save the day

your face lights up:
you've done just that
with your younger daughter
when nightmares tore her
from her sleep

she'd tell you tearfully
about the bad green man
and you'd draw him
on your biggest sketchpad
and then scrawl him out

or adorn him
with silly hats
a feather boa, a banana
her laughter the talisman
that banished him for good

this week the Torah's
bedecked with dreams:
Joseph's dreams
the cupbearer's dream
the Pharaoh's dream

how different
would our story be
if, when Joseph brought
his dreams of the sheaves
bowing down before him

his parents had said
let's draw that dream together
here on this parchment
then write a new story
for you and your brothers

without their wounds
what would have set
the spheres in motion
to bring us down
so we could be raised up?



This Torah poem arises out of the confluence of this week's portion (which is replete with dreams and the interpretation of dreams) and a conversation I had with a dear friend over lunch about ways of soothing a child's nightmares.

I can't help feeling that the Joseph story needed to happen exactly the way it did in order for all of its outcomes to unfold. But I'm grateful that we have ways of working with dreams to lessen some of the anxious power they may hold.

I don't usually post poems in html tables like this, but I like the visual prosody of the two columns of stanzas playing off of each other. I can format the poem that way in my word processor, but couldn't find a better way to do it in-blog.

All comments welcome, as always.