COUNT (ELUL 11)
September ticks by. Count
your way through. It's time
to get the year's bill, measure
what the soul has spent. Turn
over your hands, see each day
marked on your palms anew.
Remember sharpened pencils, new
backpacks, how you would count
the hours of school's first day?
When we learn to resent time
an Eden is lost, a turn
we can't undo or measure.
Now how do you measure
your heart's response to new
beginnings? And in turn
do you remember to count
kindness given or received, time
to pause and breathe each day?
This is the day
that God has made: let us measure
ourselves against the marks time
has drawn on the doorframe. New
means that "before" doesn't count:
consult the old maps, turn
toward your yearnings. Return
to a clean slate each day.
Stop, this instant, to count
blessings. Who could measure
the gift of your body made new,
trees shifting colors, time
eddying like a river? It's time
to forgive yourself. Turn
around and make it new.
The sages say repent the day
before death, but who can measure
what's left in the glass? Count
your time a gift every day.
Turn toward mercy. Take the measure
of your soul anew. Make it count.
Today's poem takes me back to one of my favorite poetic forms, the sestina. (There's a whole sestina category at this blog, because I've posted so many of them over the years.) This form, which relies on six repeated end-words, seemed appropriate for today's prompt.
I'm participating again this year in #blogElul, an internet-wide carnival of themed posts aimed at waking the heart and soul before the Days of Awe. (Organized by Ima Bima.) You can read last year's and this year's #blogElul posts via the Elul tag; last year's posts are also available, lightly revised, in the print chapbook Elul Reflections.