The Deronda Review
OUR PRAYERS FOR ISRAEL
Note: the first of the poems below was sent out to our email list with a request for other poem/prayers for Israel, and the responses that follow were received. We will post further responses as we receive them. -- EC
FOR OUR FRIENDS IN ISRAEL
In lands not ours, at morning comes your night
With whistling shells and clamorous sirens’ blare.
We listen through our days and strain in prayer
Sending what strength we have to make more tight
The dual screen of merit and of might,
Of man's precaution and G-d's loving care --
Must not our wills, conjoined, give off a flare
To put the plague of hate to final flight?
If you have thought to spare, pray for us too,
Pray for each spark of spirit scattered far
And yet no less at risk, no less at war,
And in our separate strife sustained by you --
May G-d send us the surge that could unite
Against this darkness all our scattered light!
Michael E. Stone
This morning, rockets from Gaza ,
brought bombs back to Gaza ,
and more rockets back to Beer-Sheba.
The air here is washed clean by rain,
And fresh with autumn cool,
The dawn sun reddens the mountain tops,
And the flowers, innocent of human folly,
Shine with joy as their roots
Luxuriate in the black, moist soil.
There, sirens and shrapnel.
Lifting of the Fog
By Shoshanah Weiss
As Toldot entered we witnessed the emerging of the progenitors of Esau.
His hands shake us into fits.
We awaken from our deep slumber.
Rockets attack and wailing is heard throughout Israel.
Our machzorim have been put away on the bookshelves.
But, the shofar on high bids us to repent once more.
Avinu Malkeinu prayers are heard at the Kotel.
As the Philistine nation rears its bloody head from the borders of Aza again.
Where are our Shoftim and Shotrim?
Who can protect us from harm’s way.
We are not safe anywhere in the world.
Protest erupts against the Jews worldwide.
The hearts of the Klal are leaping from fear to fear.
Dreading more sleepless nights
The sirens are blaring through darkness and fog.
Each morning I am bleary eyed.
I am addicted to the news reports each hour.
As I stand from afar, my soul seeks temporary relief from the waves of Lake Michigan.
Standing at the beach, I can perceive the grandeur of G-d again.
Beaches are empty now, with dried out weeds and brown leaves scattered along the shore.
Being at the water helps me to reconfigure my thinking.
Man is a player on the stage of the world.
His vision is cloudy and murky.
Like a cataract over the eye.
Isaac became blind.
Jacob gains the birthright through his father’s confusion.
Esau’s cries are heard above Jacobs.
May my tears pierce through the fog cover of heaven.
Let our vision become cleared to herald the ram’s horn of Elijah the prophet.
Lift us up so we can have a clearing and usher in the peace.
It is mincha time.
I watch the birds fly in the sky near the horizon
My prayers become invigorated, powerful, more intense and renewed.
Bowing my head I give my burden over to heaven’s divine plan.
From Chaim Scheff
For mature/self-actualizing/sentient beings, there are only two substantially identical states of instant awareness; according to a G?D orientation and according to a Nature?Life orientation. Traditionally, upon awakening, at the first instant when meta-consciousness (The Neshama) kicks in, even before eyes open and the body begins the turn from horizontal to vertical, the mind acknowledges that life has been restored for another day and therewith that G?D seems to have great faith in this individual (EhMooNaSeCHA - Your Faith/Belief - in me! - in me?); so the individual takes it as a day of opportunity to repay G?D for that faithfulness. For those of the Nature?Life perspective, appreciating awakening is a greater-than-cosmic improbability that all of the biological life-systems' chemical-reactions continue-to-combine to stay any obvious anti-life thermodynamic entropy-seeking cytoplasm-events - which IS mathematically equivalent to winning the impossible-odds lottery for another day-in-succession; deserving a day-long celebration of sharing thanks-for-life – as is customary for all who winthe big super-lottery prize. Behold, we all join in the spirit of renewed Joy-in-Life; and may G?D, Nature?Life, and Awareness-Energy continue to converge in each of us for the emanation of affirmations!
From Hayim Abrahamson:
4243 LET THE JEWS HAVE PEACE!
We can make peace within ourselves
as well as with others… perhaps.
Yet, as long as some claim might is right
it will be hard to find a middle ground.
Many organizations stake peace rooms
making it a political slogan to hate.
Europeans pay good money for pictures
of every settlement’s home: Not for peace!
The State Department pushes its leanings
towards one side more than the other: Oy vey!
With friends like this and enemies like that
Israel’s interests are taxed beyond capacity.
This group specializes in finding what’s illegal
and it just happens that it is exclusively Jewish.
Isn’t it written somewhere not to be Anti-Semite?
My Jewish antennae feel too many of them out there.
Tell me, has your system worked so far?
Arabs got a number of cities and Jews were killed.
Money transfers galore to the Palestinians
and still Kasam missiles in Ashdod and Ashkelon …
The leading countries should consider the Jews
rather than continuing their support for empty leaders.
We could use some empathy and more balanced politics,
indeed! You cry for the right of return and what of the Jews?
Yet all may be in vain: There is money in offices and jobs
and it is good business to bother the settlers. What a shame!
Someday real history will be written, let us hope more truthful
of the mismanagement of peace: Remember, Israel will live!
*Inspired by a non-profit organization’s yearly meeting.
By Mindy Aber Barad
From the moment I slice onions into hot oil -
the glob of shampoo lands on my hair -
I dust the lid of the antique tea pot -
I have 90 seconds
To hear that wail
Begin to count down
And slowly, deliberately
To free myself
From my sun-lit rooms
Into the dark of safety
The Other Side of the Hill©
“Counter-revolution” (i do not here)
(i hear only still)
(they’re not my children
so why should i worry?)
i don’t want to here
that news again)
(besides, its not “new,”
What a lovely day for a war—
sun and blood and gallop and snort
Drop your bomb then run
to your shelter,
Fly with the eagle to some greener pasture
above the moan and stench
thrust and spear
O, that war won’t reacho me hear
It will stay forever
a private hell
that some will write about from the
nightmare of their daze
‘Cause to me war's a forgone conclusion
a cowards’ thrill
and It will all ways stay on
the other side (?)
of the hill
Theone , Jerusalem
Old Young Orphans©
Tenderly she rocks the babe
her brother off to sleep
And soothes the sighs and tiny hurts
with promises she keeps.
Too young to ‘ware the long black dress and pale
and cloak of mourning,
Too young to be
While their day is just a-borning.
Solemn ‘neath the heavens,
Wise beyond their fyears,
In their merit
mists the rainbow
but who will dry their tears?
(with humble thanks to the Israel Air Forces)©
There is a wild animal
in the sky
So high I cannot see;
Only hear a mile-high roaaar
as it gallops by;
Louder and louder and another and another--
A heavenly stampeeede--
offers no excuse
with flared nostril
--Stallion and tiger
G-d has sent
from missile blast and carrion crow
simple people huddled below--
Trained for war
they keep the peace,
and i give thanks
as they swift by
in silver and jet
from G-d’s jungle.
From Don Kristt:
Forced to agree
Forced to give up
What clearly we see
As a little bit
Of what we mean to be free.
We have victory at hand,
We have begun to succeed.
The world is unhappy,
With success of Israel's seed.
It starts in the Torah
Who bids Avraham,
-- Blessed by God,
Subject of Man's esteem --
To take an oath,
Make a formal Heskim
But my wells, says Avraham
Not to worry,
Lets us swear,
Then Yitzchak is on the scene,
Marked by blessing,
Lets contain him
Say the Plishtim again
An oath is needed
As in the past
And no need to abide it
It will not last.
And in Parshat V'Yaitzai, today
This theme continues,
Unfolding in the very same way
As the Jews are successful,
The Aramite is dismayed
Lavan wants an oath
To keep them at bay.
To keep Aram away.
An empty oath
Nullified by Bilaam
The prophet from Aram
Who brings imprecations
To cast at our Am.
Will we not see this truth?
Will we not see,
Acceptance by the nations,
As vaporous imaginations,
That cannot be.
Like a gossamer dream,
Surely, not what they seem.
It was then so,
So it is now.
CITY BIRD by Shira Twersky-Cassel
City bird, you wake with the light rail
bounding out of scattered nests of occasional twigs and twine
set in acacia and pistachio trees and copper piping of building sites
that await morning teams of plumbers and construction workers.
After early splash in rainwater pails amid communal chatter,
- there is order in your casual democracy, no jumping the line -
flurries of dissention, a chorus of "chissick ! chissick !
will set the record straight.
Then it's off to cheerful seed scavenging in fragrant gardens
of geranium and lavender, home-grown herbal and parsley plots,
or wild-growing snapdragons in unkept fields
With visits to a neglected dog-bowl or left-over cat delicacy
on potted verandas, sturdy bills gift window boxes
with Jerusalem Pine tznobar seeds
that will mature to later defy gravity.
But today, sweet vocabulary of chirps and cheeps
is silenced by weeping siren moan, that cries,
City-Bird take cover, for death walks
the happy streets.
Today, life-blood scavengers
crouch at the doorway.
OPERATION AMUD ANAN; Pillar of Cloud
A paraphrase from the Book of Nehemia who together with Ezra
reestablished the Kingdom of Judea and built the Second Temple.
And it came to pass towards the End of Days
that Yerushalayim no longer lay waste, as we had come
and built up the walls, we children who went up
out of exile from all the places where we did return.
And when the nations heard that the walls of Yerushalayim
were being repaired they were very angry and they conspired
all of them together to come and fight and they were upon us.
Therefore I stationed the people with their swords, their bows
and spears and I said, - Be not afraid, remember the Lord
who is great and fights for your brethren, your sons,
your daughters, your wives and your houses.
In whatever place you hear the Shofar, rally to us there
for our God shall not forsake His people.
And the Pillar of Cloud will not depart by day
nor the Column of Fire by night.
Two more of mine:
please show me one
thing I can do, word I
can say, to anyone, that might
TIKKUN HA-'OLAM (WORLD REPAIR)
Somewhere far away
a gigantic crystal leans
upon a mountaintop.
From it emanate
instructions, pulsing outward
in wave upon wave.
Those who receive them
come together, synchronize
watches, pick their leaders.
They pool their info,
receive their assignments, then
scatter to do them.
At regular times
they reconvene, compare notes,
All this to the pulse
of that distant crystal becoming
their breath, their song.