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Jewish Journal

Tag: Poem

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  • Poem: Josephs, In a Time of No Peace

    4 days ago

    A gnarl of streets
    and Purim boys — my sons with striped towels
    for their many-colored coats — roam them
    until a rock, a boom, debris.

    Then a rain of flesh on a door in a city

    Because my father’s father’s
    father stole a goat, the child of that goatless
    father’s father’s...

  • Poem: Where I Live Now

    2 weeks ago

    Tall Janet’s cane sounds a jangle of keys

    Melvin keeps time to a thud as he seizes

    the wooden handle of his, rubber-tipped, sorely

    needed on carpet or linoleum floor.

    A third leg evolves for many here.

    Zigzagged by Peter, motorized, who steers

    with childhood memory of...

  • Poem: From the Whirlwind

    February 4, 2015 | 12:34 pm

    From the whirlwind

    a voice answers

    the ill asked question

    and the answer is

    no answer

    a caution

    a rebuke

     

    an evasion

    for the question

    ill asked

    can the answer be other

    than no answer

     

    June 2000


    From “The Lord Has a Taste for Clowning,” Skirball...

  • Poem: Funky Fuchsia

    January 29, 2015 | 1:16 pm

    Friday nights at my mother-in-law’s

    I follow the exquisite nails

    of my Armenian sister-in-law from Iran.

    Pale blue sometimes like her mohair sweater,

    or yellow, pushing back a strand of dark hair.

    Burgundy on the white bread she raises

    to her lips at the evening meal;

    ...
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  • Poem: Meet Me (Breathless)

    January 7, 2015 | 11:14 am

    on the corner of sky and lamppost. I will look for you so wear your eyes. Wear your face that has slept in curls. I will breathe the tulip scent of your hair and the sidewalk’s soot-lined snow. Don’t forget to bring your delicate feet, those edible toes uncold in your oversized...

  • Poem: Small Antiques

    December 17, 2014 | 1:37 pm

    Once there were three girls beautiful as gold,

    who bragged about the rare antiques each of them did hold;

    “I have a little head scarf,” one boasted with pride —

    “From my great grandmother, with squares and flowers wide.” 

    “I have a jeweled needle” — the second proudly...

  • Poem: Sticks and Stones

    December 17, 2014 | 12:55 pm

    Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis wrote this poem about genocide on the eve of the High Holy Days earlier this year. He submitted it now as a reminder that "Never Again" should be pledged to halt the killings of unarmed Black men by police in New York and Ferguson, Mo., and many other...

  • Poem: Yeshiva in the Pale, January, 1892

    December 11, 2014 | 1:08 pm

    Early morning, as Cossacks on horseback

    circled the old wooden synagogue, chants

    seeped out like smoke through the walls. Black

    hatted elders inside shut their eyes and danced

    in circles of their own before the holy ark.

    Prayer deepened the air as one fat soldier nailed

    ...
  • Poem: Climbing

    November 19, 2014 | 12:00 pm

    This morning,

    in the small basement shul,

    amidst several Chassidic students lost in prayer,

    I looked up from my siddur

    to see a man in worker’s clothes climb a ladder

    and enter through an open ceiling panel.

    And I thought, Oh yes,

    he is just another one

    like all of...

  • Poem: Isaac’s Body

    November 12, 2014 | 1:03 pm

    The Lord took note of Sarah as He had promised, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken.

              -Genesis 21:1

    From the beginning she had not believed

    It could happen. This voice that summoned

    Her husband to perform these rituals

    Cared nothing for her: she knew she...

  • Poem: Elegy for a Child Who Fell

    November 5, 2014 | 2:42 pm

    This fallen child, whose empty eyes

    mourning could not harmonize,

    nor the reaching requiem

    contain the wood enclosing him

    slips from the circled reach of eyes

    without a jolt, without surprise,

    whose stuttered step has stumbled in

    to words that now embroider him.


    Published in Blue Unicorn magazine.

    George Ellenbogen is the author of five collections of poetry and a memoir, “Stone in My Shoe: In Search of Neighborhood.”

  • Poem: 55th High School Reunion

    October 29, 2014 | 3:24 pm

    Smoked fish, an omelet station. It was a bar mitzvah

    but only the grandparents were invited

    and the child may just have died. 

    We wore on our backs our graduation pictures

    for pats or slaps, for easy recognition.

    Programs and bags were shoved aside

    in the rush to claim...

  • Poem: Sigh in Silence

    October 14, 2014 | 1:07 pm

    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...

  • Poem: Freestyle, on the first of Tishri

    October 7, 2014 | 2:06 pm

    The metaphor here is the pool, regular

    and deep as the tradition itself. First I float,

    still and buoyant in what I don’t

    accept. Then I shatter the surface, a scholar

    dissecting text not to destroy but to enrich,

    a farmer plowing and disking the earth

    before planting....

  • Poem: Yom Kippur

    October 1, 2014 | 12:48 pm

    A tree beside the synagogue atones

    of all its leaves. Within the ram’s horn blows

    and sins come tumbling down to rest among

    old cigarettes and handkerchiefs. My sins

    are dried and brittle now as any leaves

    and barely keep me warm. I have atoned

    for them before, burned...

  • Poem: My first theology lesson

    September 23, 2014 | 12:13 pm

    Rumpled and furious, my grandfather’s friend

    stood up in a bookstore on the North Side

    and lamented the lost Jews of Poland

     

    and declared that he felt sorry for God

    who had so many problems with Justice

    and had become disillusioned and sad

     

    since He wanted to...

  • Birthday of the World – A psalm for Rosh Hashanah

    September 17, 2014 | 1:36 pm

    Today is the birthday of the world.

    But the world knows nothing

    of this invention.

     

    The world just keeps moving about itself,

    buzzing and humming, exulting and keening,

    birthing and being born,

     

    while the mind keeps on its own way—

    form-craving, metaphor-making,...

  • Poem: How to Resist Temptation

    September 10, 2014 | 2:12 pm

    Read the notes from the morning’s class

    on the Sota

    on the winds of folly

    that blow through the secret place

    where God is asked to vacate

    and no witness sees.

    Don’t mention it to a soul.

    Try to imagine the ink in which all of His Names

    are erased

    and the...

  • Florida: Schoolboy on break

    August 27, 2014 | 11:12 am

    Eager to make a catch, any catch he can,

    he grips the rod and sets eye on the bobber;

    imagining the strike, he wants to reel it in

    to see what’s lurking in the water.

    The intracoastal avenue is calm

    until bridge jaws open to let a tall mast pass;

    he loves the clap of...

  • Lost photograph of Trotsky, from the family album

    August 20, 2014 | 12:30 pm

    In that snapshot of Leon with Great-Uncle So-and-So, they’re slouching

    somewhere equatorial, two Jews exiled in direct sunlight. To the right:

    a cactus, which reminds them it’s thirsty this work — to stand for the

    workers. To the left: some sand as if to say Keep Walking. My...

  • Poem: A Theory’s Evolution

    August 13, 2014 | 12:30 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...

  • Poem: After

    August 6, 2014 | 12:59 pm

    After a loss you live

    with your gasp, your gaze,

    with your hungry mouth as you lift the fork.

    Something Sane. Open the door.

    A guest sits down at the kitchen table.

    Washing evening dishes:

    something simple, something sane.

    Water dreams over your wrist,

    your hand, a...

  • Wish you were here you are

    July 30, 2014 | 12:51 pm

    time isn’t the same for everyone there is

    science behind this when you fly into space

    you’re not experiencing time at the same rate

    as someone tethered to Earth & someone

    moving quickly experiences time at a slower rate

    even on Earth so as I run through Central Park

    at...

  • Poem: Jewish Dream #18

    July 23, 2014 | 3:23 pm

    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

    July 18, 2014 | 12:06 pm

    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...

  • 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...

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