A poem for #blogElul 28: Give
New poem: the story of Chanah

The last #blogElul poem: Return

Blogelul2014-1RETURN (ELUL 29)

This month is all about return.
Take stock of who you are and start again.
You can always turn over
a new leaf. Nothing's written
in stone, no lock is sealed.
The important thing is to begin.

The habit may seem strange when you begin.
Pausing each night to turn and re-turn
the day's events in memory before they're sealed
by sleep? What's the point of that, again?
But you know your hard drive's written
by your words and deeds, over

and over. Go deep, let the waves wash over
your head. Once you're there, begin
to read the lines you've written
in your book of memory. Return
to where you started from again.
Life imprints the soft wax of your heart, sealed

like a signet ring, sealed
and drying fast. But it's not over
yet. You can try again.
Pick up your pencil and begin.
Only a few days until you'll return
your blue book, and what you've written

is what God will judge. Days written
on your body; your choices sealed
into your skin. Time to return
the library books you've kept over
due, face up to the fine, begin
to think about reading lists again.

Freedom's carved on your tablets again.
Inscribed with God's own hand, written
under your skin. Will you begin
to excavate what's concealed
inside your heart? Over
turn the harsh decree and return

again? On Yom Kippur is sealed
what now is written. Can you get over
your own fears? Begin. Be loved. Return.

This is the final poem of this year's #blogElul. Whether you've only just started reading, or whether you've been reading all the way along, thank you for sharing this journey.

(I'm already working on revising and polishing these 29 poems, and hope to make them available as a print chapbook before next year's Elul. Stay tuned for more on that.)

May your Days of Awe be awesome, meaningful, and sweet; may you be inscribed for a good year to come. Here's to 5775!


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.