Returning to leaven
Daily April poem: on the couch

Another morning-blessings poem


You bring my son's footfalls to my door
and shock me awake with his cold heels against my ribs.

You teach me to distinguish waking life from dreaming.
You press the wooden floor against the soles of my feet.

You slip my eyeglasses into my questing hand
and the world comes into focus again.

In the time before time You collected hydrogen and oxygen
into molecules which stream now from my showerhead.

You enfold me in this bathtowel.
You enliven me with coffee.

Every morning you remake me in your image
and free me to push back against my fears.

You are the balance that holds up my spine,
the light in my gritty, grateful eyes.

I drafted this prayer/poem while preparing for the National Poetry Month Shabbat service I'm leading at my shul this weekend. I'll be pairing each of our morning prayers with an English-language poem which will hopefully illuminate the prayer in some way. I was looking for a poem to go with the birchot ha-shachar (morning blessings, which Mishkan T'filah calls nisim she'b'chol yom, blessings for the miracles of each day.) So I wrote this one.

Then I decided that my outline featured too many of my own poems, and struck this one from the plan in favor of a terrific poem by Adam Sol. But I still like this variation on the round of morning blessings, so I'm sharing it here. If you actually daven it, I'd love to hear how / whether it works for you! I suspect the opening couplet may be too me-specific to be workable for anyone else, but if I'm wrong about that, let me know.

Also: if you like these, you might like my morning blessings poem cycle, which features variations on Elohai Neshama (the blessing for the soul), Asher Yatzar (the blessing for the body), Baruch she'amar (the blessing for God Who speaks the world into being), and Nishmat kol chai ("The breath of all life"), originally drafted around 2002-2004.

NaPoWriMo 2013