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3 Nisan: Slavery

2 Nisan: Retelling (Pesach Sestina for #blogExodus)

The story's always ours to tell:
how Moses demanded that Pharaoh free
the Hebrews. We'd forgotten how to ask
for open air, for rest, for the taste
of all the possibilities of spring.
So God ordered: let My people go.

Pharaoh said: who exactly intends to go?
Maybe the men, sure, but don't tell
me you intend to try to spring
the women and children free.
Moses stammered. He knew the taste
of words locked tight, unable to ask.

This time the words were God's own task.
We know how the narrative will go:
Nile turned to blood, the taste
of locusts, darkness too thick to tell
one hand from the next. We made free
with lamb's blood on the lintels that spring

and Pharaoh relented. We got to spring
through the parted waters of the sea. We didn't ask
what it would mean to be set free.
All our leaders said was, it was time to go.
Bring your children on your back, tell
the women to bake in haste. Taste

and see that God is good! Now the taste
of that flatbread hyperlinks us with spring.
The full moon of Nisan, when we tell
our tale, when our children ask
why, on this night, do we all go
to seder? We recline, free

to take our time, to learn, to eat, free
to savor matzah and maror, the taste
of liberation in our mouths. I yearn to go
and sing all night until the sun springs
over the horizon and the sages ask
if it's time for the morning shema. Tell

me: what's it like to be free in spring?
Taste the sweetness of being able to ask.
Go and sit down. We've a story to tell.

BlogExodusFor my second contribution to blogExodus, I wrote a sestina. (If you dig sestinas, you might enjoy browsing the new sestina category here, which will bring you to all of the sestinas I've posted here over the years.)

Today's theme is retelling, which is pretty much what Passover's about. In a certain way this retelling is central to Judaism all year round: we remember the Exodus daily (in our liturgy), weekly (in the Shabbat kiddush), and of course at Passover-time.

I enjoyed this chance to do some retelling in a new form.

For other people's contributions to these two weeks of Nisan pre-Pesach-blogging, keep an eye on the #blogExodus hashtag. Enjoy!