I.  The Great Wheel


The Tree Arm Tapped


The tree arm tapped for me

to come, see, smell, sit, climb

walk under it properly

the pine outside

season after season

a window between

a dry office and a drenching green

and I declined


Love, life is hard to find

one must look behind

lift the leaf, rub the knobs, grasp for

that shaking branch

study the hard ridges like standing armies

sneak on past

trace the root, scan the heights

lean against it

step outside.

                                                                       Susan Oleferuk





It doesn't look like much, these sprouts they hold,

up.  What I see seemingly is the same,

in stasis in the winter air.  A game,

 they play possum, wink at me in the cold,


lazy.  They wait for the sun, the rain

to  fall, to fill them with chlorophyll.  They grow,

the roots stretch down, as the stems push from below,

together, increase.  Slowly, steadily, gain


hibernating, invigorating, pull

imperceptibly before my eyes,

nothing that I can gage, measure the size,

as these small things advance—April Fool!


they tarry here, but it is just a guise,

come Spring when I return, how high they rise.

                                                                                Zev Davis





The fragrance of rebirth

The vision of the earth

Reviving with renewed life and vigor

Verdant transformation of yesterday's desolate fields

Magically becoming green, rich and inviting

Dreams of running through the aromatic dew-laden grass of morning

The air is fragrant
The new aromas of morning
Overpowering the damp odor
Of winters' decay
Praise God!
Returning life and promise
To His holy city, Jerusalem
Our city, my city
May it endure to eternity
Always the harbinger
Of ultimate spring,
For the earth
And for the people who love it.

                                                                               Don Kristt





Your roots are literal and you

actually reach for the sky—

Each trunk is a capital “I”—

How peaceful it must be to be

first person singular figuratively!

Even one leaf banishes despair,

(metaphorically speaking, one strand

Of hair)--You never gray, you gold,

red, and brown; and, unlike ours,

season after season yours faithfully

comes back.  Fed by lifelines of

centuries-old, lithe and

organically willed-to-live veins,

leaves restore youth every spring.

Take a stand for challenged oaks

is not a command—Even when

gnawed during youth, yes, even if

crippled by long-since-dead deer,

oaks don’t need encouragement;

everyone rises as high as it can.

Adult coiffures become canopies,

only 3% of sunlight reaches kids—

Yet saplings accept what they get,

and, most unlike us, never complain.

Tough love!  Yet If they received light

as they’d like, they’d grow too fast and

become deadly-thin.  I just read a book

(pages of tree flesh) that asserts roots

talk to each other via vast networks of

underground wires, fungi their go-betweens;

what do they say?  “Bagworms are

devouring us!  Constellate defenses,

neighbors!”  In one word: survive.

Choose life--Brothers, sisters, I am

a tree, you are a tree, long máy we

all flourish and seek sunlight yet!

                                                                     Thomas Dorsett





The rain-clouds part and the skies open up,

blue skies after the torrential downpour.

The sun glows and the wet ground glistens;

I think I can hear the earth whisper

aah, now that’s what I needed,

a good strong drink. Give me more!


The waters of the lake rise five centimeters,

more, more water, the rivers gurgle as they flow,

at least another five meters, murmurs the lake.


I still need to pray for rain,

rains of blessing to quench the earth,

to fill cisterns, rivers and lakes,

rains bursting with Heaven’s bounty.

                                                                    Ruth Fogelman






Forsythia bush:

ticker-tape parade thrown by

city park for spring.

                                                                    --Heather Dubrow






Three years ago this generous ground

dried up. My beloved, dying,

took the sea with him.


Sunsets drained of color

seeped into wintery nights.

Later, Jerusalem stone built

back some bone-deep hope,

some words slipped back.


Today, the steady patter

of  May rain adds rhythm

to the waves rolling in,

the Sound familiar,

alive, sacred again.

                                                                       Vera Schwarcz






when I saw that sheep

nursing its lamb by the tors of Dartmoor

with its look of modest surprise

on a day without fog

such as I had not expected

while crossing a stony heath

beyond reach of the Romans

(I had seen

under the straight streets of Bath

the remains of history

with unpronounceable names; here

the land had given up men's designs

for the wanderings of sheep

and the detours of streams. The stones

of a moor outlast engineers)


I meant to say

that particular ewe and the quick tugs

of a hungry lamb at her teats

appeared before me more real

than the conflagrations and even

the deaths of this world.


Nothing has ended,

neither the ancient grass nor flocks,

and certainly not our fires of sacrifice.

I meant, I marvel

at my surprise at this good proof

that a ewe and its summer lamb

are here despite events of fire.

                                                                           —Carolyn Yale





Tornado of phlox,

streaming petals that drift near

incredulous moon

                                                           —Heather Dubrow





The moon that night

Its reflection dripped over the

Lake spilled onto glowing ridges

No boundaries

Between moon and lake

They yearned to be together

Yet the moon rose farther


By midnight, the moon returned to itself

Nothing new about the moon

For those who hadn’t known

And the lake quietly returned to its darkness

No desire to lap the shore

Nudge the pebbles


Mindy Aber Barad





Let the sun slip down earth’s shoulders

and the woods grow dark and deep,

Watch the moon rise up on tiptoe

as the birds fly off, to sleep.


Tell the owl to keep the hour

when the stars begin to wink,

Know the deer will find their river

should they need a midnight drink.


Final blue’s gone at the road’s end

and a smoky mauve drifts down,

Comes the silhouette of bat wings

to the disappearing town.


You may view this from a porch step

or on foot while passing by,

You can hear it in thick crickets – 

         Chart it by the baby’s sigh.

                Cynthia Weber Nankee






The tiger lilies' firefall is ended,

That for three-quarters of a moon or more,

Till finally doused by yesterday's downpour,

Had made the back edge of the garden splendid.

All but the topmost trumpets have surrendered.

Untidy blossoms, not one in a score

Symmetrical, made such a fine uproar

That summer’s doom appeared so long suspended.


We're moving now toward a foregone conclusion.

Dahlia centers try to cache the sun,

Marigolds' bitter scent foretells the close,

Zinnias carry on without illusions.

In synagogue the warning note is blown.

The catalogues come out with winter clothes.

                                                         Esther Cameron



"I have sinned against You, You alone, and have done evil in Your sight." (Psalm 51:6)


I know that I have sinned; You know it, too.

I also know there's little I can say

to justify my deeds, that every day

is night, that every night I sin anew.

This doesn't justify it, but I do

not hear Your voice; I hear a stallion neigh

instead, a ram's loud bleat, a donkey's bray.

But even so, a sinner turns to You.


Upon the ground are animals that crawl

or creep.  A little bit above them, though,

are creatures which have learned to fly, like birds

and bats and dragonflies.  Above them all

are clouds that block the sky.  But even so,

a man who's sinned will sit and write You words.

Yakov Azriel






"The Lord has established His Throne in the heavens and His kingdom reigns over all." (Psalm 103:19)


From where I am, might I return to You?

If coming back is possible, might I

come back to You?  If ropes exist that tie

this Earth to something like a Throne, or to

a Scepter You extend that very few

have glimpsed, might I believe I too could try

to gaze up at Your Crown beyond the sky

which separates what's false from what is true?


You know how often I have tripped, You know

how often I have fallen flat; I lie

upon the ground face down and do not see

the sky.  Yet even those who lie below

may turn to You, the King who rules on high;

will You, my King, accept a man like me?

Yakov Azriel






Though they might

simply shrivel

directly to brown

instead they turn

scarlet, orange

or yellow as flowers.


What benefit

is such beauty

to birds or bugs

or a rainbow

to a rabbit

but, oh, to us, to us.

                                   Sarah Brown Weitzman 






The softness of a November day

settles like a glove

around my slowly healing heart.

Dry mists coat grief

with stilled veils of dusty air,

a haze, mercifully wrapping

an all too active mind

in muffled blessings

of forgetfulness.


In darkened buses, low shadows

creep by surreptitiously.

Sleek, dark and feline, they are adept

at evading the inevitable:

the callous trample of winter boots,

the sudden closing of a lid

or door. They are kept

hidden, at bay,

experts at secret existence.


One step ahead

of the racing shadows,

russet and glowing reds spatter

the curtained dais; orange, brown

and golden yellow flung

as if from a madman's brush,

barely have time to acknowledge

the Master's hand; the One

that stipples fragile autumn

with a beauty so intense,

I could cry for its pain.

                                         Esther Lixenberg-Bloch




AUTUMN’S  CHANGES                  

             Port Washington, NY circa 1949       


Climbing over the farmer’s fence unseen

        I start up the hill path


to reach the crest

               and take the whole shock


             of that autumn valley

                      in one surprise

                            of sight


 the dogwood’s scarlet spread

           to maples            

               the singed ash

 elms exactly orange



 among the paper birch

                one golden oak

                      now coin silver


 apples ruby late

               upon the branch


pines that do no turning

           as though this quarter meant to hold


                  all hues of man’s seasons

                             from green


   to full fruit and in between


             in this last flamboyant protest

                against dying                                     


   but brought to me stealing

                                 from homework

and after-school chores


that bond   all may share 

     through beauty.


But then running through fields

                of weeds

                tingling my town legs


past flurries of bees

            and brown butterflies


all wooing and winged

                like myself I fling

       down the hill into apple air


and musk of old baywood

               some hand had sawed

 not far

              from potatoes unearthed

 to dry to where


     straining against the fence


               are the farmer’s four horses.


Not the first untouched crystal

                         of winter

  nor spring’s green sameness


nor even summer’s academic freedom

       ever pleased me

as much as that October valley journey


in memory now become not journey

                    but an end.

The farmer died.

         His family moved to the city.


That ground soon grew nothing

                  humans eat.


      The horses were sold

                        for glue.

                                                    Sarah Brown Weitzman




The Smell of Snow


The sun was leaving as we left the river

the wind slapping and pushing

to climb a trail steep , frail thin as if it would snap

the wind in an angry fit kicking the leaves back and forth

the coyote in its steel winter gray on a distant hill watching us

its eyes like the bores of a gun


We stopped to watch the shadow creep across the hill

and smell the coming snow

the smell that holds all the magical elements of earth and sky

that make you feel the mountain and rock are your very bones

nearby a little house nestled bright and warm

and we wondered which really was our home.

                                                                     Susan Oleferuk




Eighth Night


Eighth Day’s a band; eighth night’s a miracle.

Chanukah’s not Jewish Xmas; its core involves

Praising while conveying heaven’s true harness.


In digging, we’re pointed to dry, rocky lanes.

Tilling loam grants no bonuses. More exactly,

Glory’s found in extracting from dark places.


Sharp, hard, hidden deposits hurt – with effort

We plough, formulate for generations unseen,

Tread briars, add unnatural days to our weeks.


Mundane miracles keep oil cups renewed, safe,

Help us preserve the brit, forbidden throughout

Maccabean times, plus incised upon our hearts.


We cry a little, recall wounds last just a lifetime,

Tenaciously reinstate all belief, restore our yoke,

Yank through further detritus, prepare the future.

                                                         KJ Hannah Greenberg






The silver fog of winter

the smooth moss that betrays no dint

stretch sparkling at intervals

with pins of rain. Winter's slow chisel

carves trees into the sky, inducing

no introspection but a far-reaching gaze

into the black bellies of magnolia leaves

at the afternoon's change of guard

in the quiet, humid closure

of December's final days.

In the stillness trembles

the mind's questioning

of the chaste, death-like daze

in which each detail of twig and foliage

takes on a final beauty.

Sterling haze and drip,

evanescence of the drifting soul,

a cozy anguish, un sueno frio

beyond this epitaphic peace.

The sudden wish to flee

to a Norse phalanx forest,

wood shadows armed with gilded tales

shooting past me

indicative arrows of enchantment,

forging quartziferous paths

to springs of certainty.

                                                 Stephanie Sears





in a sleeping room of static familiars:

December memory frozen in a frame,

guitar untouched atop the wardrobe,

bookcase of remaindered paperbacks

in silent reproach. Apart from the clock’s

slow numerals, all is a constant tinnitus

unworthy of notice and best ignored.


The window’s a rhombus of pallid air—

a backlit bird with urgent intent

passing too fast to introduce itself,

the entropy of dispersing contrails

expressing a tiring universe destined

to stillness. A stylus wakes the fluid sky—

purposeful people going somewhere.

                                                                         —David Olsen







They say there are plants that need shade to grow

reminds them of the place where they have been,

the secrets inside the seed call out open a screen

on the instructions, there to put on a show


in the garden plot.  I look up at the sky,

what lies beyond.  I consider the Plan,

the beginning of Everything, Light, Dark, and

 that all the things You Created moved and changed


as that Spirit moves me what I see

is a parallel come closer, joins, it blends

and is much alike, coalesces messages sent

similar sounding different,  spheres, they agree,


In concert, reflect Creation, sublime, sends

a message of Existence that never ends

Zev Davis





And for you who revere His name

And for you who revere His name

A sun will rise

With healing on its wings.

Malachi 3:20

Early morning

at the Kotel


sing Kaddish


a woman weeps

into her siddur

beggars gather

a bride blesses

one and all.


The swifts –

pilgrims without borders –

arrive from Africa

signs of the coming spring.

Felice Miryam Kahn Zisken