Thursday, December 14, 2017

Chanukah Poems

Last year we started a new (to us) tradition of lighting the Chanukah candles. No, we're not Jewish—obviously!—but we like bringing a little extra light into our home, and we like the idea, and practice, of affirming that we're all in this (life) together, despite differing beliefs and traditions. I guess I look at this ritual as a little prayer for brother (and sister) hood. Humanity. The planet too.

In the Jewish tradition, a blessing is recited as the candles are lit. Us, we're reading poems. So herewith, our poems for the first three days of Chanukah.

The Palmist

Susan Rich

She touches a stranger's hand, turns it into the light.
Examines the spacing of fingers, the arc of his thumb,
the way the head line forks towards Upper Mars.
She takes in the whole form the curve of his wrist
to the pink inside the nails. She learns the language of his hand.

She measures flexibility, admires the sculpture of knuckles,
the relationship of flesh to bones. In the islands, branches, stars
meaning unfolds. Words she cannot anticipate
come from her lips. She knows more than she tells.

Every hand she reads is a map she gets to travel,
a master plan of past and potential lives.
She touches the mounts, then fingers the chains—
discovers another's journey and holds on.

She knows the Kabbalah of the Jews, the Brahmin's Hindu Vedas.
She knows nothing is written until we write it
and rewrite it again, that it's desire that alters destiny
that all of our lines will change.

Listen to the Mustn'ts

Shel Silverstein

Listen to the mustn’ts, child.
Listen to the shouldn’ts,
the impossibles,
the won’ts.
Listen to the never haves,
then listen close to me . . .

Anything can happen, child.
Anything can be.


Jim Harrison

"The mind of which we are unaware
is aware of us." —R. D. Laing

The rising sun not beet,
or blood,
but sea-rose red.

I amplified my heartbeat
one thousand times,
the animals at first confused
then decided I was another
thunder being.

While talking directly to god
my attention waxed and waned.
I have a lot on my mind.

I worked out
to make myself as strong
as water.

After all these years
of holding the world together
I let it roll down the hill
into the river.

One tree leads
to another,
walking on
this undescribed earth.

I have dreamed
myself back
to where
I already am.

On a cold day
bear, coyote, cranes.
On a rainy night
a wolf with yellow eyes.
On a windy day
eleven kestrels looking
down at me.
On a hot afternoon
the ravens floated over
where I sunk
myself in the river.

Way out there
in unknown country
I walked at night
to scare myself.

Who is this other,
the secret sharer,
who directs the hand
that twists the heart,
the voice calling out to me
between feather and stone
the hour before dawn?

I have turned into
an old brown man
in a green coat.

Having fulfilled
my obligations
my heart moves lightly
to this downward dance.

No comments:

Post a Comment