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Jewish Journal

Tag: Poem

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  • Poem: Jewish Dream #18

    1 week ago

    The dream is not so simple — learn what is between

    your mouth & God’s ear, feel holy when the ark opens,

    know the history of suffering, when it will suffice,

    how to chant like the sea breaking against rocky shores,

    know all about absence, that a good dish is the experience

    ...
  • Peace Peace: A Prayer During War

    2 weeks ago

    Rachel is crying for her children


    She refuses to be comforted


    From beyond the grave she cries


    Through the centuries


    Her tears flow


    Hagar cries too


    From beyond the grave
  

    Their tears intermingle


    The tears of the mothers


    Grieving over dead sons and...

  • Though we hope for change

    July 2, 2014 | 3:50 pm

    It’s the same song playing under the sun.
    Day after day, a triangle tings
    in the back of the band: barely there,
    but beautiful as chimes trembling in a breeze.
    We quiver, as when finger tips stroke our necks.
    The measures flow, pianissimo, lovely —
    until, in a shift of pace,...

  • The Announcement

    March 28, 2014 | 3:29 pm

    You were at the door with the news
    of a life inside and we wept
    that April day, the jonquils blooming
    late against the wire fence.
    We turned the afternoon into a bed,
    measured the moving sun with mouths.

    We woke in soft rain under street light,
    had a sandwich and milk, and...

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  • Snoa in Curacao

    March 12, 2014 | 3:54 pm

    Somewhere the jaded go
    in search of authentic
    experience — code
    for poverty and bright beads.

    I do not need the famed liquor
    to convince me of essential

    blueness.

    Here, the first synagogue
    in the Americas: yellow
    in the Punda part of town.
    Floors of sand as they had

    in Spain and Portugal to muffle
    the sounds of worship.


    Patty Seyburn’s fourth collection of poems, “Perfecta,” is forthcoming from What Books Press in 2014. She is an associate professor at California State University, Long Beach.

  • Poem: To my children

    March 5, 2014 | 11:41 am

    Instead of using the staircase,

    risk the tendrilled stalks of ivy

    and drop into the muddy copse below.

    Your great grandfathers understood mud

    as they slogged from village to village

    peddling pots and ribbons and scissors.

    They knew days with no light, nights

    with no...

  • Poem: The World Is Not Conclusion

    February 12, 2014 | 4:01 pm

    Answers the size of silence. Tall as tidal winds. The fracture of letters and numbers pulled like wool up to my chin. Grid the knowable world from the sweat of my bed. An empty set. Count the seasons, count the sheep, count the dead. If word equaled father equaled alive again. If...

  • Poem: Sigh in Silence

    January 31, 2014 | 10:54 am

    Ezekiel 24:17

    said the Lord, this sigh indiscernible,
    although the si- contained is louder than
    the second fiddle, second syllable
    that ebbs into its chopped-off sibilance.
    The first one lasts awhile, the way we wish
    that pleasure would endure, the vowel long.
    It’s hard to...

  • A Theory’s Evolution

    January 23, 2014 | 3:04 pm

    The Theory of Flawed Design is not a scientifically proven
    Alternative to evolution. It is based on the everyday life
    Experience that natural selection could not have produced
    Such a catastrophic outcome. Optimists and the religiously
    Inclined will naturally prefer evolution as...

  • Kabbalah

    January 16, 2014 | 2:11 pm

    Two eyes, one nose, one mouth, and what could be
    more perfect? Maybe the small fraction of
    a smile she aims at his glance secretly
    across the table, kabbalistic love
    that no one else divines, and later in
    the loft their silent battle not to wake
    her friend down on the couch,...

  • Friday afternoon: The rabbi’s wife

    December 19, 2013 | 12:00 pm

    Inside the yeshiva he’s busy naming things
    while I, like Eve, watch the smallest movements
    in the world — grass bending as if it aches,
    a bird that carries lust in its beak.
    Through the window I’ve seen him bent over
    the text, saliva flying from his mouth
    as he reads and...

  • Poem: Isaac Bashevis Singer in the Reading Room, 1968

    December 12, 2013 | 12:59 pm

    This old man in the armchair’s plush embrace
    waits for his thoughts to settle. He is not
    my grandfather despite the wrinkled face,
    gleaming skull, vast snout, gargly voice, and odd
    twist of lips. They sound like men from the same
    village in an old country bordering
    on nowhere...

  • Poem: Sound Advice

    December 4, 2013 | 4:10 pm

    You have to know
    who to talk to:
    choose a dry
    cistern
    so that what is said
    is kept there;
    like the rabbi’s
    knowledge
    never leaking out,
    it will remain sweet
    as water in a sealed pit.

    Bor sud, in Hebrew, is a water-proofed cistern, or sealed pit, which holds all the...

  • Poem: Jacob After Fording the Jabbok

    November 13, 2013 | 4:54 pm

    All night long I
    wrestled with an angel — his face
    obscured by hair the color
    of light — arms, strong thin
    swords           we tumbled
    on the road as two animals
    in the heat of spring — we could not be
    parted — bless me, I said — and he touched
    my thigh — the hollow of my...

  • Discourse on the crippled God

    October 30, 2013 | 12:51 pm

    A man swings through the open doors on crutches,
    his long arms thick with muscle like the Christ
    whose marble shoulders shouldering the cross
    are sculpted mighty as Odysseus’s.
    Before he crosses forehead, heart and chest,
    the cripple leans one crutch against the wall
    and dips...

  • Poem: In the same key (Chayyei Sarah)

    October 23, 2013 | 11:32 am

    They come together to bury their father
    in the cave where Sarah’s body lies.

    (No one imagines the vaulted church
    -turned-mosque with painted ceilings

    or the synagogue, or metal detectors
    to keep armed men from getting through.)

    Isaac and Ishmael wash him with water
    and...

  • Poem: Alphabets

    October 16, 2013 | 1:33 pm

    I have always believed in the alchemy of letters 
                                      but never in their permanence.
           
    Just look how the aleph was stripped of its
    rightly earned place to begin the Torah
                                      how the bet is sheltered —
    but only...

  • Poem: Mold

    October 3, 2013 | 4:53 pm

    When Noah prayed
    You sent him a flood
    and charged him with the safety
    of all animal life.

    What I got was rain.
    I forgot to wash my shirt
    so it grew mold.

    In every generation
    the holy men we have
    stand on different levels.
    We all get the hero
    we deserve.

    On behalf of mold
    — and on behalf of my wife,
    who loves when I do laundry —
    I will try
    to be worthy.

  • Untitled

    September 24, 2013 | 3:12 pm

    Yes, it’s true, I’ve lost
    The world you gave me,
    The blue and luminous world,
    Round as a marble,
    In which, if I squinted,
    I could always see you
    Shimmering in slow oxbows,
    Mirroring the river’s
    Mallard iridescence, sketching your face
    In castellated clouds
    And sidewalk...

  • Gospel of the Golem of Los Angeles

    September 18, 2013 | 11:57 am

    The students glisten with youth. Every one of them is beautiful.

    The world has yet to enter them and breathe away their souls.

    I want to be like the children, but I am dirt and clay.

    I woke one day and told myself, Stand up and walk like a man!

    I raised my dust up out of...

  • Cracking the Sky

    September 11, 2013 | 4:23 pm

    It’s time to talk about grief
    as if the mere mention could
    crack the sky leaving the stars
    to break through shattering
    afternoon’s complacency.
    As if at a preordained hour
    all the lovers of the world
    will stand still, like the minute
    of remembrance for the dead,
    then turn...

  • Letter to the Lord

    September 3, 2013 | 2:22 pm

    Lord quite innocent of what it is to live
    bound in paper, bound in steel,
    bound in the incredible ignorance supplied
    by irony and suffering — how are You?
    I regret that I am unable to see You, wrapped as I am in time,
    soiled and sickened by personal situations,
    unable to find...

  • Psalm

    August 28, 2013 | 11:06 am

    like a skin on milk
    I write to you
    I hurl the letters of your name
    onto every page, one and many
    I know you are reading over my shoulder
    look each of us possesses a book of life
    each attempts to read what the other has scripted
    in these almost illegible letters tipped by...

  • Poem: Talking Jerusalem

    August 21, 2013 | 4:54 pm

    Yes, I hear talk
    as I walk the Old City
    from Jaffa Gate
    to Damascus Gate
    from Herod’s Gate
    to the Lions’ Gate
    from Zion Gate
    to the Dung Gate
    I hear talk about dividing
    Jerusalem from Jerusalem
    they’re at it again
    dividing again
    dividing the heart
    dividing the brain...

  • Let Me Thrum (6 a.m.)

    August 7, 2013 | 1:16 pm

    a new lay upon this lute for You 
    Let me hum the new day
    of loose strife and lily
    Let prayer plant and mallow
    Let heads and hearts let heels
    and thumbs feathers and fins
    and all things fleet and slug
    antennae’d and furred
    all sing all shirr all rub and buzz
    and fling their...

  • Grandchild

    August 1, 2013 | 10:09 am

    Elohai, neshama….

    I take her to the park, I swing her in the little swing
    Help her on the slide, lotion her face and arms against the sun
    She runs around in her little bluejeans

    The sun is getting higher, as it does every morning
    The game now is for me to chase her
    The...

  • Poetry: Marriage Psalm

    July 24, 2013 | 1:59 pm

    Blessed is the mattress on which they feast.
    Blessed the yellow sheet on which she lies,
    blessed her skin and blessed are her breasts,
    and blessed are the body’s lamps, her eyes
    lighting the room, rolling in dream, in lies,
    and blessed is the darkness that descends
    and...

  • The transportation of Hens

    July 17, 2013 | 12:05 pm

    ten at a time we carried them
    by their legs
    to cages on the truck

    where they grew silent
    in the darkness
    of an early market

    many hens
    suffocated
    during the collection

    as we reached for them
    they trampled each other to death
    I was one of the collectors
    in the morning...

  • A Lamentation on the Destruction of the Temple

    July 12, 2013 | 11:38 am

    1.  The absence of Presence
    The Romans are approaching. We wallow in callous pettiness. The city will fall soon.
    Desolation.

    2. The presence of Absence
    They are despoiling the sanctuary. We wail in piteous grief. Sun and moon are eclipsed. Horror.

    3. The presence of Presence
    It’s all over now. The dew washes clean our punished world. A lilac is blooming.
    Consolation.

    Copyright © 2013, Jonathan Omer-Man. For more, visit omer-man.net.

  • Plums

    July 10, 2013 | 11:11 am

    Blue plums of Safad
    in the moonlight
    glowing as plump and round
    as the sacred sefirot

    moonlit plums hanging
    just out of reach
    behind a stone wall
    crowned with broken glass

    forbidden garden!
    the taste of Eden
    beyond the wounding wall

    do I take a chance
    risk more than...

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