The Deronda Review

a journal of poetry and thought

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The Deronda Review

a magazine of poetry and thought

Vol. V No. 1 Fall-Winter 2012-13

Walls, photograph by Courtney Druz


Mother, why can't I go there,

to where grass sprouts and red flowers bloom

and lilies nod their heads?


          Shhh, darling, there's the border.

          None of us may cross it, not even touch.

          Look, even the sheep and cows remain in their folds;

          they too, may not cross.


Why not, mother, why not?


         The border is there to protect us, darling,

         to protect us.


From what?


         From the Holy One,

         so He does not destroy us.


Why would the Holy One, the Compassionate One,

who brought us across the Red Sea,

and feeds us manna sweet as honeycomb,

want to destroy us, mother? Why?


        He doesn't want to destroy us,

        but we should stand here,

        each one of us, witnesses to Him.

        But His glory can devour us - a blazing fire

        if we draw near, my child."


        She trembles, drawing her daughter close.

                                      -- Ruth Fogelman


In This Issue

I. Marking Time

II. Costs of Living

III. There for a Reason

IV. Self-Reflection

V. The Silent Channel

VI. The Journey Home

VII. The Mountain Says


THE DERONDA REVIEW: Editor: Esther Cameron., P.O. Box 5531, Madison, WI 53705. Co-editor for Israel: Mindy Aber Barad, POB 7732, Jerusalem 9107. Hard copy $6, subscription $12, back issue $4.


Hayim Abramson     Yakov Azriel     Michael Baldwin    Mindy Aber Barad     Hamutal Bar-Yosef     Ma'ayan Or Batt     Guy R. Beining      J.E. Bennett     Ruth Blumert   Doug Bolling     Marguerite Guzman Bouvard    T. Anders Carson    miriam chaikin    Tom Chatburn    Handsen Chikowore    Deborah Danan    Carol V. Davis    Zev Davis    Robert Glen Deamer    Courtney Druz    ellen    Nancy M. Fisher    Ruth Fogelman    Daniel Galef    Heather Gelb    Calvin Green    Gila Green    KJ Hannah Greenberg    John Grey    John F. Gruber    Carol Hamilton    Charles H. Harper    Jerry Hauser   George Held  Friedrich Hölderlin    Gretti Izak    Kathryn Jacobs   Dina Jehuda    Sheila Golburgh Johnson    E. Kam-Ron    David Kiphen    Adelina Klein    Sue Tourkin Komet    David Lawrence    Peter Layton    Lyn Lifshin   Tziporah Lifshitz    Constance Rowell Mastores    Daniel McDonell   Avril Meallem    John Milbury-Steen    Michael S. Morris   Drew Nacht   Cynthia Weber Nankee    James P. Nicola    B.Z. Niditch   Estelle Gershgoren Novak    Stanley O'Connor    John O'Dell    Molly O'Dell    Susan Oleferuk    David Olsen   Ryan Peeters   T.P. Perrin   Zara Raab    Susan Richardson    Tom Riley   Rainer Maria Rilke    Leonard H. Roller    Roy L. Runds    Robert William Russell    Ruth. S. Sager    Haim Schneider    E.M. Schorb    Amiel Schotz    Ken Seide  J.G. Seidl    Steven Sher    Steven M. Sloan    Zvi A. Sesling    Paul Sohar    David Stephenson    Ruth Stern    Michael E. Stone    Connie S. Tettenborn    Shira Twersky-Cassel    Lois Michael Unger    Shoshana Weiss-Kost    Will Wells    Judith Werner    Alexis Wolf    Harry Youtt    Frederick Zydek 



Since its inception as The Neovictorian/Cochlea in 1996, The Deronda Review has included a Contributors' Exchange of addresses (surface, email, URL) and available books. As of this issue, the Contributors Exchange will be a separate .html file, and in future will include contributors to past issues as well as the current one.


Ken Seide's "Neilah #1" was first published in the 2012 issue of Kerem. Courtney Druz' "The Wander-Root Court" appears in her book The Light and the Light (2012,


         "The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree . . .Even in old age they shall bring forth fruit; they shall be full of vigor and freshness. . ." (Psalm 90)

     Since the previous issue went to press, The Deronda Review has learned of the passing of its oldest - in more than one sense - contributor, Ida Fasel, who died January 13, 2012 at the age of 102.

     Ida Fasel lived in Denver, Colorado, where she had moved in 1959 with her husband, Otto, whom she lost in 1973, and where she had taught for thirty years at the Colorado College for Women and the University of Colorado before retiring. Her passions included ballet, Milton, gardens, angels, and the human future She published 12 collections of poems and two chapbooks; all but the last (Milton on My Mind, finished only a few months before her death) are listed on She was a righteous Gentile and a staunch friend of Israel.

     Ida Fasel's poems appeared in every single issue of The Neovictorian/Cochlea, and in four of the eight previous issues of The Deronda Review. The qualities of her poetry? Keen intelligence, wonder, a rich culture, courage, warm humanity… All of her contributions to this magazine, up to a few years ago, are posted in the "Hexagon Forum" section of For a farewell, let me here reproduce one of the two poems that appeared in the first issue of NV/C, in 1996. Having been blessed with her presence for so many years, may we continue to draw on her legacy of "vigor and freshness." -- EC


Strong as winters of spring, jonquil adjacent

to snow;

secure as small perfect industries

of the sea;

hidden as psalm numbers behind church columns;

suitable as the wooded corner of Wyoming

with its stark connections,

strange as the familiar making itself known:

strong, secure, hidden; suitable, strange,

to read so far from where I am

on my side of the lamp

till I am startled - the shadow

your page makes as it turns,

the lift of your face in the corner

of my eye

as you wait for my look to meet yours.

What a blessed crossing, our separate ways,

in the love that moves the sun and the other stars.

Strong, secure, hidden, suitable, strange

to move lenient within another motion.

To recover quiet.

                              -- Ida Fasel


I. Marking Time



High in the sky two cranes spin and glide

with ballet precision as on earth the last

summer days slip off like a loosened harness.

The forecast is the furrowed clouds may bring

rain to a soil raked by fever.

I wish the sky to gleam with water,

to fondly embrace us and clear up our heated brain

so we can look in the mirror and recognize our true self,

the one envisioned by our Maker.

O let me wake in Monet's garden of flowering azaleas,

narcissi, masses of pink, mauve and off-white roses,

the air thick with bees, the sky of bright blue marking time,

when a year becomes a second like somewhere over the edge

of the Milky Way, giving me more time to pray and entreat,

to supplicate the Lord to take away my heart of stone.

I have known this mood before.

But I am becoming more and more desperate.

I want my love to be greater and truly substantial;

I beg to have the signature of the Holy One etched

on my errant heart, on each thought I have,

and on everything I write.

                                         -- Gretti Izak


We had a hard summer this year,

Hotter and harsher than usual.


And the journey across the mountains was difficult.

For I've come from a distant country;

          Here is my bread --

Fresh, with a pleasant aroma, when I left

But now stale and crumbling.

          Here is my wine-gourd, which I had filled with cool wine,

Now empty, worn and rent.

          Look at my garments and sandals --

Tattered and torn from the journey.


This is the oath I swore was true,

An oath

Full of lies and deceit.


For the end of Elul

Has pounced upon us

And I want to -- I need to --

Make a covenant

With You, O Lord,

To be allowed into the camp.

        Even as a hewer of wood.

        Even as a drawer of water.


Everyone knows

That after Elul

A person can fall from a cliff,

Like the scapegoat to Azazel.


O Master of forgiveness, Adon HaSelichot,

If You permit me

To be one of the congregation,

I will testify


        The Lord, He is God,

        The Lord, He is God.

                                          -- Yakov Azriel


Saying Tashlich between the olive green branches of the willows.

I sway with them in unison.

Watching over the aqua filled pond in the park.

Orange goldfish are swimming in schools.

Large groups of them under the muddy waters.

Mallard ducks take off in flight on mysterious missions.

It feels good sending the past year adrift.

Time for facing our inner selves.

he cool wind feels refreshing on my face.

The leaves are turning yellow on the tops of trees.

Fall is nearby.

The New Year has crossed the threshold of our doorposts.

Welcoming it in with blessings of apples and honey.

May we be at the head instead of the tail.

May our enemies and obstacles be torn asunder!

The Teruah sounds out the day.

We must recognize this inimitable cry.

Tears well up inside.

The Shofar notes are flying out of the blue and white stained glass windows.

Crowning the Creator of the World once more.

                                                                        -- Shoshana Weiss-Kost




The last prayer

I uttered

before Neilah

had only four words.

Help me, God.


But the Gates of Prayer

snapped close

and snipped my prayer in half,

which means

I pray

that my sigh

at least

slipped through.

                          -- Ken Seide

[note: Neilah is the closing prayer of Yom Kippur.]



The gates of brokenness barely hang on their hinges and stand open.

The gates of illusion only seem to close.

When the gates of judgment close, they really close; don't stick your foot in.

The gates of mercy can tell when you're faking contrition; don't try it.

When the gates of eternity open, another opens behind it, and then another, then . . .

The entry to the gates of mirrors can't be located.

The gates of memory have another name, but it has been forgotten.

The gates of change have been reconfigured again; you can't go in that way anymore.

The gates of secrets have a way in, and no one knows it.

The gates of wisdom never open for some people; sound like anyone you know?

This strange pendant that I've worn for as long as I remember, is it a key to my own gate?


                                         -- Ken Seide



Rain through the woods.

Autumn. You could see it

in the wind.

A yellowing, the broken leaves

crookedly drifting.

Somewhere in this I am,

memories coming and going

as though not mine,

small boats aimless

or driven toward

unknown shores.

Once I kept a diary.

Once I believed in the

surety of words

as though they could

gather even the sun

even the moments

that hide behind the

face of a clock.

Now a door is closing

pushing back the tomorrows,

turning all green things

into chimeras

a form of sleep

a small dying

like roots

not seen

deprived of


          --Doug Bolling


No winter promise,

no dawn glitter

of eastern hope

this frigid day,

a call to look out

at the sputtered cries

of park geese pretending

to fly south again

with preparatory clatter

before settling once more

on Soldier Creek,

where the Choctaws

watered long ago.

My window offers

a sweep of gray

behind the silhouette

of fingers, skeletal

and reaching for some

escape from this nothing

of cold, empty air.

                             -- Carol Hamilton


Snowflakes drift tranquilly from ashen skies,

small remnants of the storm that howled last night

in winds whose fury shook the dark with cries

of winter's deepening grip upon our town.

Now, as morning whispers silver silence,

snowflakes drift tranquilly from ashen skies.

They layer sheen of white on white across

the lawn. Against my door snow piles waist-high.

Heavy lifting, alone, can clear my ties

to the great outside. But for now I'll watch

snowflakes drift tranquilly from ashen skies.

Rest is on the land and death -- along with

nascent life. These all look the same within

cold burn of winter light -- deftly defy

my mind's habit of drawing boundary lines.

Snowflakes drift tranquilly from ashen skies.

                                      -- Charles H. Harper



a woman goes into darkness,

past the black ruby roses

and is never heard from again.

She moved quietly past the

bleached grass a December

day it got into the sixties. It

was a day, foggy and warm,

very much like today. It was

today. Now you probably

think it could be me, it seems

there are reasons. But listen,

I've never seen, only imagine

those tissue thin roses and

that last minute before light

collapses. A garnet leaf

on the pond is less red than

my hair blazing, a lighthouse

beacon past the trail of

petals to bring you closer

than you imagine you are

                                        -- Lyn Lifshin




When did nature take this hold

Over me and my mood?

When did she take me under her wing

Like one of the chicks in her brood?

The sky is gray flannel and inside my head

My thoughts are fuzzy, I think.

It seems as if nature is weary as well--

It seems as if we are in sync.

She doesn't want to open her eyes--

She wants to stay asleep.

She's quiet and pensive allowing me

To ponder my thoughts as deep.

Everything's muffled and only a bird

Sounds through the silence today.

Nothing else utters even a word.

Background noise fades away.

It's one of those days where it threatens to rain,

But not a drop falls all day long.

It's one of those days where I threaten to change
In a feeble attempt to belong.

But under blue-gray and overcast skies,

My senses as numb as my mind,

I can only manage a normal routine:

"Hello, how are you?" "Just fine. "

So as gray turns to black and another day's gone

I ask myself, "What is the reason? "

Ah, but nature she knows, as she takes to her rest:

"To everything there is a season. "

                                                   -- Connie S. Tettenborn



Moon is back again, a pock-marked

one-eyed beggar at my window.

Through cycles of life, moon drifts --

lost, and sometimes penniless.

Still, moon hangs on,

hitching by with a smile, existing

on mere slivers of sustenance.

Camping among the gypsy stars,

moon continues to roam. In sympathy,

the heavens arrange a periodic

crossing of paths with fortune.

Moon more than tithes for the favor,

giving all to the darkness.

Yet, on its richest of nights,

moon trades its coin for silver,

steals close,

gives dreams of treasure.

                                         -- Cynthia Weber Nankee



II. Costs of Living


White metal,

Silver --

Yellow metal,

Gold --

Red metal,


All are wealth

I'm told;

Yet what'll

All these buy me

When I'm old

Or nearly dead --

That a meadow

Cannot give

Me now,



               -- David Kiphen



One evening younger than school time,

I wandered onto the back porch.

Saw my father sitting on the top step.

I sat down next to him and asked,

"What are you thinking about? "

He seemed to look through me.

Like for several seconds. Then said,

"Just wondering why I am not happy. "

For moments I gazed at him.

Then, as if to offer solution, said,

"I'll tell mother." It seemed right

to make that offer. Mother would help

when I was unhappy.

When I started toward the screen door,

he called, "Wait, Jerry." I stopped, but held

onto the door latch.

"Don't tell your mother." "But why?" (my query).

"Don't tell her what I just said to you.

Do you understand?"

I reassured him that I did.

My father turned away and

settled into twilight silence.

Maybe to watch the purple martins

swoop for flying insects.

The night seemed flooded with them.

I remained near to him -- turned

furtive glances his way while

the mosquitoes whined.

But didn't seem to bother


               -- Jerry Hauser


baby teeth, dried blood

still on them. Sharp

still as certain phone

calls. None of them

crumbling. Labeled.

"Rosalyn's 1st lost

tooth, July or was it

September," kept like

diamonds or a flapper

dress studded with

crystal on silk that

falls apart at a touch.

Packed away just so

she could put her hand

on them, as she wanted

me to be. She saved

every letter since

second grade, old

jewels, touchstones,

hand knit baby clothes,

triplicate news clips,

every mention of

my name as if they

were me

                     -- Lyn Lifshin


How she judges me, my child --

well, child no longer.

She casts me a wild look,

fierce, full of hunger.

Her rebellious disquiet,

her pitiless truth:

What kind of justice is this?

Age closes my throat.

We shared a bed half a decade.

She gives no quarter.

I suckled her; for whose sake,

did I nurse till I ached?

Yet she accents all my fears,

measures atonal,

stress upon stress, no pyrrhics.

I'm old. I atone.

Eyes the color of celadon,

she chants her hwyl.

Her hardness once hidden,

she flashes steel.

Well, her solo has glory!

Forged in this new self,

what if she should come to me,

my daughter, my weft?

We weave our mutual fury.

I'll not cock my ear

or pretend I can hear her

if I be deaf by then.

                               -- Zara Raab


As if the world had not shifted

        the table set as it should be:

fork on the left, stirring spoon on the right.

        Pastry houses with chocolate roofs

upright on a scalloped plate

        its painted flowers blooming

in a permanent state.

Anxiety leaks from my friend's eyes

        as she drifts in her tiny kitchen

bouncing from sink to stove.

        Broken blinds sag like

a face giving way to gravity and exhaustion.

        Her daughter beyond reach.

The kettle shrieks its warning of

        ravens on a chipped stone wall.

I know what it's like to live with a teenager

        a look of contempt thrown across a room

her door slamming;

        Such condescension, as if mothers were born  for this.

Still I am the lucky one

        with a daughter who brings home stacks of books

fusses only over hair and clothes.

        Her stubby fingers reach in a box for earrings

not for a metal spoon, plastic bag, a flame

        releasing a rage of dybbuks and demons.


                                   -- Carol V. Davis

and then in cairo

the guide takes us 

to "weavers college "

leading us through

warehouse gloom

past rolled-up carpets

to a back room


ll-year old girls

at looms

flick restless

deft fingers

pulling, twisting

snapping rough yarn

into place

bleeding young

hands of flesh

in preparation

upon graduation

in two years 

for a life of beggary

                           -- miriam chaikin


          "Lot settled among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents toward Sodom. " Gen: 13:12

Here, on a morning at the marina,

heat glittering off the salty sea,

my brief boy attends me, resting his curls

on my lap like a limp butterfly

not dry from its delicate cocoon.

If I did not know I had no son

I could rest in him as he rests in me.

Do I take your name in vain or are you

in this near-man child? Remember the nights

I guarded your secrets in Haran,

climbing the curved worm tunnels alone,

burrowing up baked river earth to stand

at last sprinkling rosewater over prayers

chiseled on the sacred shelf of heaven.

There I watched your wet breath blow the moon

through slit windows in your ziggurat,

turning the marks of dusty alphabets

to liquid silver as the moonbeams struck.

My grief has been this mute attendance

at your mysteries, when all your magi

are ash already in a brimstone fire.

This morning, when I can hardly stop

melting in my blue-and-white burnoose,

show me favor, my difficult master,

with the elixir of your blessings,

one drop of which gives me my voice,

so, climbing your stairs at dark, I might

once more roar praises from the ramparts.

                                                               -- Judith Werner




This sadness has swept in before

on a chilly breeze that carries me

to an evening long ago

when the sun turned sullen

and the tall pines became dark and hooded- cruel

I stood by the pool shivering and turned to you

but I was alone

and I knew then

as clearly as if a mage had studied my stars

and read to me of the painful designs

printed on a page of black

the forecast of winds that would bring strong love

and the breezes in memory of their loss.

                                                             -- Susan Oleferuk



I've drunk white whispers from across a lake

and once, between words, in a loved one's sighs.

(The air and liquid clear the routes sounds take

so ears can "feel " what's too remote for eyes.)

And ink conveys like water, or the cliff,

to render audible whole worlds unknown,

between their author's breaths -- but only if

we pay attention, that is, when alone,

or being quiet by the shores of ponds.

And through the crystal of an empty wine

glass (crystal "ball ") the universe responds --

to silence-sippers . . . Red . . . White? . . . Red,

then. (Note how it's reflected in the stein,

flush with the mystery of all, unsaid.)

                                                        -- James B. Nicola





Scotch broom

fraught with yellow pleasure

and luminous with dusk

straggles down the hillside.

In contrast with the purple clouds

that loom to the east, its glow

is ravenous, preternatural.




Across the valley, on a high ridge,

a lone eucalyptus -- usually

such a messy tree -- swaying,

groaning, throwing off bark --

stands darkly etched,

each leaf a perfect point,

each white blossoming flower

a study in stillness . . .

the world on hold.


And then, from the quiet stealth

of evening, voices emerge. Some cry out

with a desperate will to live;

others whisper with wasted breath.

Within me, yearnings -- traces

of that old surmise -- passion dense

as fatigue, faithful as pain --

as joy foreboding. I know them well.

Lift anchor! I will abroad!

Renew myself on double pleasures!


But how much further do you want to go?

Why not refuse the bossy insistence

of new impressions?

Behold instead your own fields and hills.

Regale yourself with the lilac

about to flower, the gold cups

of the flannel bush, the crimson beauty

of the wild rose.

Stay awhile. Replenish in repose.



Thus did reason speak to me . . . And thus

do I sit, in my sigh-blown age, on a bench

within a garden -- marvelous and reminiscent --

and wait for my dear friend Anna.

                                                     -- Constance Rowell Mastores


What I miss

you and me our

words, and pieces of words,

which may cross universes,

the long distances between stars

the purple black

empty nothingness

which knowing you gulfed

but then to throw me into an

impossible abyss

me left open

and the nights fearsomely dark

and the hurt dark thoughts which exist now

within my brain, and I cannot

discuss the great not understoods

standing between me and

                                           -- Peter Layton




In my singularity, I used to hear words.

They rushed in on me. All I had to do was listen.

Now in my forgettable years, I'm either deaf,

or they, of their own stubborn will, have severed

the connection. Perhaps they're increasing

with Chaos, off on a merge with the Great Sprawl.

They'll organize its lifestyle. Subject it to Bach.

I liked it better when they sang to me and me

alone. Now when I'm able to grab a few snatches,

the lyrics seem pointless, absurd. The message

a kind of Babled-down version. Sleepy-time talk

for a Lear in his dotage. Of course it's none of my

business what they do out there. Although I suspect

they are moving one square to the next, to the next,

building on their increasing order. Building toward

the Poem of all Poems. Toward epic seizure.

What Homer wrote. Or even Virgi1. Sing, goddess-

Tell me, Muse -- Arma virumque cano. I shall go

back to the beginning. Undo myself rhyme by rhyme.

Then start again, with one word. Two words. And so on.

                                             -- Constance Rowell Mastores



                       A diamond is forever.

                                                                   --B.J. Kidd


The buoys of memory have faint bells, noticed in the night.

I have left these chiming seamarks for the time of my return.

They ring out there, but faintly, so faintly I can hardly hear.

I think they want me to remember the severances of the soul,

if soul is more than mere electric tissue. If Death is king

and I do not reclaim what I have jettisoned, it goes to him.

I do not want the king to have my life. Therefore, each night at sea,

I must set out to find the ringing buoys and haul aboard

the lagan realities, for now my aging body, my emotional mal de mer,

lend renewed reality to the cold, damp camps. One numbered friend

should wear a wedding ring, another was engaged, and yet a third,

below and silent, had eyes like Tavernier blue diamonds set in Fabergé

eggshell by the master. I cannot put a name to the smiling face I see,

but she existed, who is now the faint dream of a denouement.


                        Shalom alekhem             Shalom alekhem


So now I sail all night to find them and their symbols, to

connect with them whatever seems appropriate, their rings,

their eyes, their ways: but not alone to find the persons

but to find the meanings of the persons to myself, the electric

mind, before the king should claim them from my life.


                                                                           — E.M. Schorb


This old sword still serves me

For the steel is still sound;

This old dog moves slowly

But can still get around.

This old heart is broken

Yet manages to beat;

The head-strong & stubborn

Don't go down to defeat.

This dark beard is graying

But grows thicker each day;

For grim costs of living

Each return some small pay.

Through mid-life's tough sledding

Our bright youth must grow old;

But with wisdom's increasing

We're repaid some tenfold.

                                          -- Steven M. Sloan



How many more birthday mornings

Will I awake sans mortal pain

How many more poems will I write

Before I leave this human stain

How many more thoughts will visit

This increasingly scattered brain

How many more years will I know

Of sunshine, snow, of wind & rain

How many more? Do not tell me --

Just let me breathe and hear and see

                                                       -- George Held



Dad, it was hard to see you lying there --

And all the weight of nightmare on your chest

Pressing you down. Your death was in the air.

Wisdom offended when it dared suggest

That all that weight and pain were for the best.

No tears, I tell you, gathered at my eyes.

My orphan status I'd not yet confessed.

I cursed myself for being strong and wise.

I wished you to grow stronger and to rise --

And knew my wishes were a childish joke.

Philosophers I called on to advise

My infancy were not ashamed to choke.

I showed up and was present when you went --

But still can hardly face the gray event.

                                                            -- Tom Riley


                        for Dr. Pollack

Heaven unlocks

the gate of tears,

a crashing wave

of black umbrellas,


hats and veils.

Dark waters


cleanse the street.

The hearse

rolls forward

and we follow


down the block --


receding in its wake.

                                 -- Steven Sher




If it's days of spring you want, I've seen you gazing ahead in the field,

Reddish buds opening on a green background

Winking toward the plain that rears up.

Which way are you headed?  Which way will your feet carry you?

Many paths are deceptive.  They plunge into wadis, they disappear.

In the distance appears a Bedouin leading his flock, an everyday occurrence,

And a sweating camel gallops through the desert to gulp artesian water.

Where are you?  And you?  Where are they?  Where's everybody??

We're all duplicates.  On far-off stars

Our likenesses, our actions, past, present, and future, are duplicated.

Our thoughts, our inventions, our actions on our own behalf --

Out there in the stars, far away and close up, they're all

Thinking the thoughts that were once ours

Doing the deeds that we once did

Do the lines of a poem need immediate explanation?

Give time time to play with the wind, with our creative spirit.

Isn't it enough that our works are written down

To be duplicated in our future mirroring

Preserved on other planets

Even after the Big Bang

For future eternities, and after them?

Shall not all of us, as envisioned, arise and renew and be renewed

As though we had not been here before, as though time had stopped running . . .?


                                                    -- Adelina Klein

                                                        From the Hebrew: E. Kam-Ron



When the soft, sweet sounds of love are whispered,

their echoes fill all the hills and canyons,

repeating every word

over and over, and over again

to touch all who are near or far away;

so, we must be aware

the sounds of love make form our memories,

once spoken they last for eternity,

and will be repeated

through the long corridors of timeless time,

be heard by every thing and every one,

and echo forever.

-- Robert William Russell





III. There For a Reason


I knew that the fence was close

and that I could climb it,

using all of my determination

                                            and cunning,

but I didn't.

             It's there for a reason.

I'd peek through,

pressing my cheek

                        against its fissures,


            Doesn't that feel like me.

I came to know the difference

                        between the sound of a door opening,

            and the sound of a door closing.

Dams form

           while waiting for the next

                       interesting thing to happen.

          What is,

                       is what's happening

                       and what's apprehending.

          So the individual validation

                       of significance

                is the part of the equation

                that keeps an inventory

                     on where the body

                                   has been

                                              and where

                                                              it is going.

I know all

these tragedies that will befall me,

                                    just not their order.

Impermanence is practical,

                 and infinity is romantic.

          Time is loss.

                      Time is gain.

Inherent nobility as a reflex

                         is what I'm after,

             but my surroundings

are roadblocks,

                        as they should be.

Nature tells me nothing

                                                    of morality.

             I gesture

             from car windows.

Staking and tying

             the boundaries of convictions,

                          I claim this tiny portion

                                           of existence


Fences are just trees


The further you get from something,

            the more it becomes you.

                                                   -- Daniel McDonell

my space

i do not speak

of a cinema seat



vacated, and 

claimed again


but of a space

i alone occupy,

space the air 

defines as mine 


space about which 

they say,

"there she is, " 

when i am there


space i cannot

stray from, step out of

move aside in or share


i speak of space

wholly mine, until

as from shadow

ousted by time

                              — miriam chaikin


Take one more breath

Before the soul arrives,

One more breath of freedom,

One more breath of light,

Before the soul descends to the world of constrictions

Take one more breath --

Tender, lucid, lovely --

That will fill you wholly,

And try, my soul, not to forget everything in the constriction,

Try to remember a little of the light,

So that the light may shine for me in dark hours,

Illuminating freedom, flight, existence,

So that I may never forget, my dear soul,

That I came from there, from the light,

And that to that place I am destined

To return

                      -- Ma'ayan Or Batt




A frame holds me, borders me,

and within the frame

I splash purple, crimson and peacock blue.

The colors whirl and create circles and heptagons.

Within the colors

I place quavers and semibreves.

The notes play their song

and their melody is heard beyond the borders.

Within the melody

I pen letters.

The letters join together and form words.

The words -- a fence around the truth.

Truth sprouts white wings,

gains strength and flies

to a canopy standing on four poles

and under the canopy, Truth's bride --


                   -- Ruth Fogelman


It's disruptive

hearing the front door open and shut

I who am mostly seeking solitude and silence.

The whole open outdoors

exposed now to my house

veins of light

from lampposts, an occasional passing car,

the noises of the street.

Why is it

that the thought locked front door jamb opens

swinging from the caught wind

the nasal smell of tumbleweeds

the tumbling ghosts whose

whereabouts, what-abouts,

like you, remain unknown?

                                         -- Peter Layton



Bare oak filigrees

engrave the pewter sky.

Each twig obeys genetic dictates

while growing this way or that

at the whim of the wind.

Random yet preordained,

a tree is a fractal struggle

between entropy and destiny

that somehow yields a perfect peace

like the patient lattice

of atoms in a single snowflake.


Poplar skeletons along a ridge

are poised to paint in unison

a blood-hued sunset.

A dogged blaze of hubris

is a self-deluding prelude

to benighted havoc:

an unintended apocalypse of folly.


Our view from the train

renews itself like each passing day,

yet we can't see past

the vain prophecies

called the foreseeable future.

While accident engulfs intent,

we plan and make lists,

unaware of the black swan

beyond the horizon.

                                -- David Olsen


At the beginning each is issued a separate spherical bead,

perfect, that contains them, one by one,

Translucent boundary, order of self,

And everyone is able to press

a face against the bead's hard surface,

from inside, or outside,

catch glimpses,

shadows shifting --

but always clarity is marred.

If one were to chip away at the bead as at coal veins,

only tiny shivers would come away,

even with the hardest of tools, leaving the

perfectly spherical surface blemished -- imperfect,

and marring what clarity there once might have been.

Each life being a separate, perfectly spherical bead

and the path upon its surface never marked,

each path to be determined by each step upon it,

commencing at the very first,

and never a real trace that can be used

for following the lost to where they've gotten to.

Each perfectly spherical bead --

bumping up against other perfectly spherical beads,

making it possible for the joining of hands

and the linking of paths

even as each proceeds within one's own

separately rounded shelter;

-- making it also possible for

pushing and shoving off paths and

sometimes into the final step -- before its time.

Each life being a perfectly spherical bead,

with only the end marked,

the choice being to blaze the path

and always flee the final step,

or simply to circle it over and over again,

until it becomes familiar.

Or to stride directly for it

and hesitate perhaps, at the last,

just before the final stride

that will cause the bead to collapse upon itself

to its shadowed center.

Each life being a perfectly spherical bead

whose curve conceals the ending,

so that even when the ending is pursued,

it is always beyond the horizon,

not taunting you in an open field

to come forward and take it.

-- and the irony that no matter what direction,

what labyrinthine path,

the final step, though concealed,

is never more than a step away

and, if looked for, in the proper light,

always visible.

                        -- Harry Youtt


When the lid is open

I experience a world of beauty and song.

alive and full of energy.


But when the lid is closed

I am pushed down

deep into empty darkness;

I experience only fear and despair.

Directed inward

I can see no further than my little box

and forget how it feels to be free.


But I know,

deep within my heart,

that a time will come

when the lid will be opened again.


Then the sun will shine on my face

Light through my being

I will laugh, sing and be filled with love. . .

Oh how ecstatic I shall be!

                                         -- Avril Meallam



I am a spirit

Like all other human spirits

A point of light

An aura.

I am a universe

Endlessly expanding . . .

Contracting to . . .


I cannot sail all

Of my cosmic seas

Nor behold all

The jewelled galaxies

Or widening black holes

Of my ocean without end;

My craft is too frail

My candle too dim

And my wick,

Though constantly relighted,

Too soon snuffed out.

Yet I would proclaim myself.

                                             -- Roy L. Runds


My virtual white picket fence

keeps out the respectful

and the law-abiding

but not the trespassers,

terrorists and proselytizers,

and it's pervious to viruses,

paranoia, and the perverse,

and fear seeps through it, fear

of life lived beyond its pale,

fear of the teeming street

with its filth and otherness,

its wildness and allure.

o how I need and detest

my virtual white picket fence!

                                           -- George Held


       ". . . at the skin my being doesn't end. " -- George Faludy

A porous organic fence built not only for defense but as

an explorer of the unknown and an envoy to the familiar;

antenna and transmission tower: the skin.

That's the border of the country of being, but being

doesn't have to stop there if the border guards let

the soul slip in and out on the waves of the universal wing;

where are you now? Still hiding in your skin?

The outside stops where you hang your skin curtain,

but it doesn't have to be of iron, does it?

Teased by the fingertip lights of life it becomes

tight and you're ready to jump out of it;

but if life throws teardrops at your skin,

are you willing to step out and ask why?

Better yet, just ask how? Reach out and ask how

you can help to stop the flow of tears; but even better

yet, show there's life beyond the skin; beyond

the pain and pleasure, that's where life begins.

                                                                    -- Paul Sohar





Hushed friend of many distances, feel how

your breath is even now extending space.

From belfries' darkened carpentry let you

be heard to strike. Whatever being draws

its nourishment from you grows strong from this.

What, of what you've lived through, gave most pain?

Explore all sides of metamorphosis.

Is your drink bitter? Change yourself to wine.

In this night's immensity, become

the magic where your senses undergo

their nexus, unexplained: be what it means.

And if the spirit of the world disdains

your memory, tell the still earth: I flow.

To the rushing water say: I am.

                                                   -- Rainer Maria Rilke

                                                       from the German: T.P. Perrin


The night is peerless and serene,

Its brilliance luminous.

Each house stands marvelous within

A silver universe.

A magic brightness reigns in me

So rich and prodigal

It fills my being clear and free

From sorrowing or trial.

In my heart's house I cannot cage

All this rich light alone:

It will, it must, escape, must break

The final barriers down.

                                      -- J.G. Seidl

                                          from the German: T.P. Perrin

[Note: this poem was set to music by Franz Schubert.]


. . . the endless waves roll on, and beyond view

is a sanctuary where dreams come true;

somewhere in my mind, shrouded in darkness,

is that refuge, holding my happiness;

somewhere in my heart, there without a trace,

memories hide, only to reappear

whenever all my sadness I embrace,

and be aware somewhere there is the place

where the long lost past will come into view,

beyond the horizon . . .

                                    there I will find

memories not longer hide, and my mind,

freed from darkness, will see a rendezvous

far beyond the waves, where One has divined

a sanctuary were dreams will come true.

                            -- Robert William Russell




In his life he'd traveled far,

obsessed with strange horizons.

Nights full of restless noises

lured him to lighted, crowded places.

But the days, melted into calm,

mundane moments, dulled the blood.

To quell the sluggish pulse of it,

wanting adrenaline, he'd move on.


Later, old, only a dull coolness

in the veins, he looked to the gloaming.

The horizon's last orangy glare

left him with pitch-black moments--

then the wind, yet restless in memory,

blew up to scatter its debris.

                                            -- J.E. Bennett


                               for Yifat Alkobi

the same sun

dries the clothing on the line

sleeveless blouses

floor length skirts



ripped t-shirts

orange, black, red, blue


the same breeze

dries the clean tiled floors

rustles heavy drapes

flickers curtains

ripples blinds


a loose tile in the corner

a house

of heavy beige stone

seems made to last

stucco seems to crack


only seems


the same sun blinds


cannot be faced

we avert our eyes

to floors

where different souls tread

                                          -- Mindy Aber Barad


A gravel path winds through

wild shrubs, dense thickets

of trees. There are no footsteps,

just the clamorous buzz

of cicadas, wave upon

wave. Rocks jut out among

openings of tall grasses, holding

eons among the leaves

temporary appearance.

The path leads to an empty

garrison devoid of thudding

boots, the rifle's crack.

Demarcations are cancelled

by oblivion, Slovenia blurs

into Italy, borders shift beneath

my skin. Butterflies

weave the air with their colors,

hold the beauty of the moment

in their wings.

                         -- Marguerite Guzman Bouvard




            May 2001 Jerusalem

            Yom HaAtzma'outh (Israeli Independence Day)

Gun-fire or fire-works?

Damn those terrorists

Damn those jerks

More gun-fire; G-d I'm tired.

Fifty-third "Atzma'outh" Anniversary

Oh my G-d: Absurdity.

Went to Shul, went t'Efrata

Debated myself, if I ought ta

Almost didn't go, almost didn't show

Shall I walk by our "Berlin wall;"

But they say, I'm not so tall, so

Maybe the bullets'll sail . . .

Over my head, and I shan't be

All that dead?

Stay at home or celebrate outside?

Darn it, I must decide!

Went to Shul, davenned Hallel;

Din't ask th' enemy t' go t' Hell.

"Gaba'eet " insisted I stay 'n dine

'Twas of no use . . . I tried t' decline,

As she convinced me all too well.

Food was great, my mood improved

'N Local Joe guitar'd us with

Old-fashioned tunes.

Guest speaker was smart enough

Not to preach; rather,

T' entertain us with a

Relevant speech.

Neither moralizing nor polarizing

Nor imploring nor ignoring

Past wars and scars

From our present-day wars.

But...that un-welcome sound

On familiar ground, it's been

Seven months of machine-gun rounds.

We heard it again, we quietly shrieked,

Some got up, out of our synagogue seats.

We mildly yelled at each other:

Fire-works, or, machine-gun fire?

Some ran out doors to take a look;

Most sat in our seats and clenched our teeth.

Eventually I too walked home

Electing main-street Gilo

On the fire-works side

Leaving aside the "Berlin wall "

A big-black-hole of Nothingness

Walking home, breathing G-dliness

Getting home with Holiness.

Getting home from a great big mess.

Getting home. Emptiness.

Getting home. Empty-nest.

Getting home. That's the best.

Getting home. Away from blasts.

Getting home safe.

While it lasts.

                         -- Sue Tourkin-Komet


what happens to those afraid to move

frozen forever like a shadow

behind an indifferent oak

a dream can still freeze me in the drama

of my run across the border

a tableau pregnant with bullets and finales

what happens to the footsteps

frozen to the spot

not knowing which way to run

what happens to the corpses of

those shot at the border

trying to escape the script

what happens to the prayers

that turn into stones and attack

their own tired feet

what happens to the oaks

that failed to report the escapee

hiding behind them

and how do the oaks feel now

the ones that refused to tell

the hunted which way to flee

oaks are indifferent border guards

they guard neither the border

nor the shadow hiding behind them

don't look back at the border you've

crossed alive

it might come after you

                                     -- Paul Sohar





Here, beside the sources of the Jordan

River that's been like a brother to me,

the brother who carried me, striding

in the only direction, on his shoulders,

I awoke from a wild drive

in a blazing-hot, desolate place,

not knowing where, in my life and in all your lives

is the boundary line

between the fertile pastures of generosity

and the field mined with weaknesses.


                                          -- Hamutal Bar-Yosef

                                              from the Hebrew: E. Kam-Ron




hark the hark

& herald the herald

wince as a

mighty voice preens,

slapped back into

a fable full of

puns & symmetry.

how daring these

puffs of air

tampering with the songs

of zions living

on the edge of quicksand

& a red, red, sea.

                             -- Guy R. Beining


Gathering storms of uncertainty frighten them

as they assemble at the border of prolonged wait for unjust decisions

At the frozen glacier of complex asylum system, they breathe fire

Their immigration status causes constant panic and fear

Minute by minute they are petrified by their predicament

Night is naught as it brings no hope of heroism

Instead nightmares terrify these sleepless asylum seekers


Possible detention propel nervousness

as they become scared of being locked like foreign criminals

They pray unceasingly for the removal flights to be cancelled

because they are deeply horrified to return to their homelands

They are frightened by prospects of poisonous prisons

Where vast hell cannot endure human rights abuses

Honestly, sanctuary seeking is journey littered with endless trepidation


                             -- Handsen Chikowore



War being war

only trouble harrowed our days.

Even the oases dried up.

Wild horses roamed

the shrinking marshes

kicking up dust.

Migrant birds didn't stop

to visit between continents

but scud missiles did.

To keep the heart alive

rumours flew:

the improved model

of the world will end

this latest celebration

of egomania --

( as Jeremiah foretold )

while the Ethiopians'

chocolate doe-like eyes

beseeched the sky for explanations.

To reach their ancestral home

they travelled on foot

across deserts and drought

as deliberate as the gap

between atomic and rotational

time around the sun,

when leap seconds rush in,

global winds and the moving

molten matter in the planet's interior

relate to distant points in the solar system --

wonders understood by scientists

and, of course, the Ethiopians,

who knew that nothing in nature

recognizes borders,

territorial claims or invasions.

                                            -- Gretti Izak




It's so hard to break the American shell

I find myself in, ignorant of cultures not my own.

All I know is imported, what they sell

like Ferrari dreams, sushi, and tequila. They'll

try to immigrate, those foreigners, then bemoan:

"It's so hard to break the American shell. "

George W. wanted a patrolled wall to compel

Mexicanos to stay at home (because they are brown?).

All I know is their rhetoric, what politicians sell

(being a jingoist is why Bush is going to hell).

Voting for big oil, the cost is well known.

It's so hard to break the American Shell

Oil Company's hold- all the CO2 we expel

while driving a truck on vacation to Yellowstone.

All I know is capitalism, what TV ads sell.

How does it affect the world? Some foretell

disaster, some say we're a citadel, some disown.

It's so difficult to break the American shell;

all I know is what I buy, what they sell.


                                            -- Ryan Peeters


Thrilled by Titicaca's wicked syllables,

I'd begged to be Peru; I am El Salvadoor,

Mrs. Richardson told me I was. I sit

in a semicircle on a school stage

between Ekwadoor and Gwatamala.

Alphabetical order trumps geography,

but we are all Paramount or MGM

Mexicans, extras, scratchy serapes

draped over siesta slumped shoulders

our sweeping sombreros with Tijuana

or Ensenada stitched to the crowns.

Put them on backwards so no one sees.

In late hours of the century, No one saw...

light slanting off the barrels of our M-16's

or heard the shrieks as villages vanished.

No one smelled rotting cattle, burnt corn,

or felt the smooth wood of unstained coffins

surrendered to soil that grew only crosses.

No one heard low voices settle on prices

none could afford; no one saw faint desert

traces, or, in Yuma, baffled faces scanning

boxcars or a Greyhound passport they could

not decipher. These extras never wore

sombreros on multi-purpose room stages.

Now, in a century's young light, we see.

Mrs. Richardson was right; Yo soy EI Salvador.

                                                  -- John O'Dell



I bear with it to honor creation,

still curious as to what is around

the bend.

I bear with it to sanctify courage,

to give it a stage to grapple

with itself

I bear with it for the amazing wonder,

the mind leaping probing deeply

into the aethers

I bear with it most days trying hard

as a man can, yet inside saving some

for my soul

I bear with it to witness the arithmetic

the literary history of my people

through our myths

I bear with it in comprehension

of the unseen, certain of the isolation

of relations dreamed

I bear with it with deep empathy

as the parade, the cortege, of the mortal coil

passes by

I bear with it to build an arc of words

a bridge that passes from here to there

once upon a time

                               -- Michael S. Morris


Latkes, fried potato pancakes with frayed

edges from the onions Emma stirred in --

derived from latka, Yiddish for patches made

to clothes worn through, reworked, and worn again.

Latkes for her family, whole at Thanksgiving

since the children who had married out refused

to come for Hanukkah. Meanwhile siblings

renewed their childhood scraps, each one abused

in turn, as in-laws glared and children squirmed.

Just eight, I noted what a ragged thing

family gathered to give thanks could become,

how bitter herbs were always blossoming,

though not from Seders we also wouldn't share.

Then latkes patched all squabbles till next year.

                                                -- Will Wells



We were exiled from land to land, from one continent to another,

And when we gathered in a place that was wretched compared to its past

It was already inhabited and hostile.

Although the wind blew on it from far off,

We set up housekeeping there.


Now we are exiles in the guise of tourists:

Two weeks in Patagonia, a few hours in the Louvre,

Stuck in travel agencies,

Spending the night in airports,

Equipped with backpacks and suitcases packed to bursting

Like a promise that there is somewhere to go back to.


And where

Where are we going to, ascending and descending --

Near-experts at reading foreign signs --

And again, where is the gate to our desired destination?


In the meantime,

Like chameleons we suit ourselves to the background

So as not to be caught in some definition that would commit us

And cancel the exclusive group individuality we almost acquired

On our most recent journeyings.

                                                    -- Ruth Blumert

                             from the Hebrew: E. Kam-Ron


Lies one accidental quantum-event horizon

Slightly north of the last book you've been reading.

You may have heard it referred to cryptically

By students of an arcane mathematical discipline

In the hallways of certain secular institutions.

Few people arrive there intentionally.

You can't just jump in your car and get there overnight;

There are no national or international flights;

No street signs, Atlas Road Maps or GPS indicator

Will get you to any fixed geographical coordinates.

The metes and bounds are not recorded

In your local courthouse. There are no gas stations,

Libraries with sacred texts, or places of worship

To hang your hat. There are no rail lines

Running on Time through the boroughs or spanning

The continent, bringing bankers, speculators

And 21st century carpetbaggers looking to exploit

Natural resources and take up residence

In luxury hotels. And finally there is no veranda

Where you can sit in your bathing suit

Admiring the setting sun lighting up ice cubes

In before dinner drinks, while you stare

Mindlessly at the horizon which always appeared

To circumscribe your whole idea of the beginning

And end of everything.

What may happen to you is this: You'll wake-up

One night in a cold sweat -- that open book on the nightstand

Beside your bed, the windows and shutters will be rattling,

The foundation of your heretofore ordinary safe house

Will be rumbling -- and you will say to yourself,

"Where am I?" And, "How in the name of all that's holy

Did I get here?" Relax. But be forewarned,

You've just cleared customs, crossed

A heavily guarded border into unchartered territory,

Becoming the expatriate of a country

Where you can never, ever return.

                                                      -- Tom Chatburn


are set in the mind,

afraid to cross, because

of what you might find.

Standing at the water's edge,

you hedge.

The spirit is weak,

the wind begins to shriek.

You will not cross today.

Perhaps tomorrow

you will find a way.

                               -- John F. Gruber


Obscure signs that have

been posted.

Their message hangs in the mist.

"No trespassing. "

But you have inadvertently

stepped over the boundary.

No sirens blare, or searchlights glare.

You continue on,

knowing the night and you

Have much to share.

                                  -- John F. Gruber


Before we discovered that continents slide about,

tethered to nothing, and the universe is

an infinite sphere

with its center everywhere,

ancient mariners worried about plunging

over the edge of the world, and

marked a point on their maps as

Ultima Thule, the exact spot

where you ran out of wind and fell

into a vast deep stillness.

Astonishing now to think once the world

was a tidy well-lighted room

sealed up tight

with an inside

and nothingness night outside.

And us, what of us?

carried out here in a dimensionless dark

with a defective compass

on a ship that reshapes itself

with the fluidity of its motion,

plotting our course by exploding stars

and the unsettled, momentary tracks

of seabirds.

Will there once again be

a room with walls we know by touch

in the dark,

a floor nailed down flat,

or the memory of a steady light,

fixed on rock

in a harbour that is still there

when we open our eyes?

                                       -- Stanley J. O'Connor



    "… O Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my supplications in Your faithfulness,

     answer me in Your righteousness. " (Psalm 143:1)


There has to be a well-protected bay,

A harbor or a port which offers me

Some respite from a restless, endless sea;

There has to be a simpler, shorter way

To find a jetty than long routes that play

A game of hide-and-seek; there has to be

A docking-area for boats, a quay

Where ships can moor before they drift astray.

How long, my God, how long before I reach

The haven of Your shore? Suspicions haunt

The bowels of my craft; I want to bring

My vessel to Your islands' safest beach,

O Lord, I want to touch dry land, I want

To disembark, my Anchor and my King.

                                     -- Yakov Azriel



For my friend, the painter,

it is now time to admire

the fuchsia tree so earthbound

and content, so totally untainted

by our own experience,

draping big satin leaf clusters

and pink flowers over the great

liquidity of the sea.


He prepares the canvas

by creating a barrier of gesso

between linen and pigment.

The tangibility of things

sways his mind with storms of logic:

Should he feel guilty building barriers,

boundaries, devices for the fuchsia tree

which borrows so discreetly hues

from the amenable sea?



Veil over veil of glazes,

another shield, blocking façade,

oils and thinners gnaw at cloth,

sheath deep into weave and fibre;

streaming skeins of paint

form themselves into changing shapes --

slippery nuances of colour swept across

the body of canvas

nameless energy he understands

as total perfection that if not contained

will consume him like an arrow of fire.

                                                           -- Gretti Izak



                                        for Gwilym

Left or right.

On or off.

Nought or one.

Tyranny of either/or.


In your binary humility

you call yourself a pretender,

but you slalom

the convoluted surface


of the space-time continuum,

neither inside nor outside,

ever curling back

upon yourself


in constant quest

of memory and future,

unaware that both

lack certainty and shape.


Toiling in thickets of meaning,

poets are always in process,

always becoming,

like galaxies or gardens.

                                     -- David Olsen




A noisy universe of disquiet voices.

No drama in that life except the literary kind.

A poet whose most inspired lines

occur in fragmentary poems

that would yield unprecedented beauty

if there were only a way

to make them all fit together.

His work stands, in its misfit glory,

as various sized building blocks -- some rough,

others exquisitely fashioned --

of an impossible but marvelous monument.

Pessoa the master nonbuilder!

Or one could compare his oeuvre

to a set of ruins. Like the temple complex

of one or another acropolis, where

only ghosts of gods take their solitary way

through what remains, and Apollo's lyre

barely twangs in the breeze.

Thinking of Pessoa's works in this way,

as ruins, what one hears is not the sound

of plucked strings but a seemingly incongruous,

wistful progression of chords. From one

of Chopin's Preludes, Opus 28. Twenty-four

brief compositions that sound more like remnants

than beginnings; tonal improvisations

that in their delicate hovering seem to exist in some

mysterious, other-than-real realm -- as on

a heavenly Olympus above the earthly one --

works realized to the point of divine perfection --

after which they fall to the ground and break

into pieces, most of which are lost irretrievably.

From the few exceedingly beautiful that remain --

whispers that send us back to the source --

we can discern something of that

original splendor, for which we feel, as humans,

a natural longing, an old affinity.

                                                 -- Constance Rowell Mastores



Again she opens her mouth

Takes a deep, hopeful breath

Feels the air vibrate

Across her throat

Across a range of notes

Ready to grasp a mike

Then illusions drop away

Leaving one long, real sound

A sad sigh

No change

Just an ordinary voice

Where is the line she wonders

Where is the line between

A good and great voice.

Where is the line between

Personal Will and Divine help

She will try again tomorrow

And tomorrow

Waiting for the shift

For her dream voice to emerge

                                                   -- Heather Gelb


i turn


longing for sleep


for the little folk

to appear

behind my eyes

tiny beings

eyelash high

arriving singly

erect with intention

moving in silence

in slow motion

forming a fence

around me

closing ranks

drawing closer

to one another

closer still

ever closer

lifting me from

my landscape

setting me down

in theirs

               -- miriam chaikin


Beached on the gritty sand of sleep

             awareness only bubbles on the rim,

I hear voices call me

             in the soft Yiddish accents of my childhood

that changed the vowels

             of my name to sighs.

I am again the child

             who chants herself to sleep

each night with the ancient rhythm

             of Shema Yisrael . . .

and by day skims over glazed sidewalks

             on crimson runners, the sled

attached firmly by a rope

             to my mother's hands, her boots

tamping fresh snow before me

             with the sound of certainty. In a world

as patterned as the six-pointed snowflakes

             melting just now on my tongue,

I throw my arms wide to greet the day

            rushing toward me on a stream of powdered air.

                                          -- Sheila Golburgh Johnson


When all the stars but one shine bright at last,

and cast their wan beams o' er the sleeping, lest

pure darkness shroud their pallid forms, the list

of souls forgotten grow, and leave the lost

to pine eternally in fruitless lust,

then wake the demons, rouse the walking lust

that baring long-old teeth that them outlast;

they wander blind, and even ever lost

they never can return to face light, lest

their figure drop a rung on quondam list,

their unsaid purpose only to enlist

those night-tossed human shapes for whom they lust,

and ring the mortals from their slumber, lest

their slender, empty husks the night don't last,

and wake up dead, the morn as life but lost.

And, never meeting, never getting lost,

the cohorts trundle down their ancient list,

white shadows in the night, until the last

gem winking starry eye sand-blinks the lust

from waking night, and gilds the sidewalks, lest

the purple velvet settles. Shuffling, lest

the burning, rubbing eye catch sight of lost

and homeless spirits, aching in their lust

for respite, for the ragged, exed-out list,

the shadow-figures hide themselves at last.

Ere the least of the midnight army's loosed

liest asleep the lowest of the laced.

                                                       -- Daniel Galef



Quick scurry-legs; so happy. Chasing foam

to nibble newborn bubbles in the sand,

investigating (is it edible?)

They live between the waves. And if their home

requires frequent exits and dry land

by way of refuge (up, if possible)

we're not so different; we do plenty of

our own expectant perching. Watch them chase

a crunchy sand-flea; you'll identify.

For just a second, zig-zagging above

the inundation, they're oblivious,

and you're convinced they'll capsize. But one eye

is always ready for the wall of foam,

and so are we. Two species, beach-mad. Home.

                                                --Kathryn Jacobs


All of a sudden you look back

how time has travelled . . . almost nothing

is left.  No more room, everything

in little boxes, memory chips in jars

with machines that record them.  History, a playback


generations, like a talisman you wear

on your neck, reminding yourself, pearls of wisdom

that you carry around.  Sitting on a park bench

far away in time, repeating what each one tells

what itched . . . you scratched, as sweat

the size of worry beads, one more link in the chain.


That was a funny joke, you laughed, when

it was fresh.  Eyes follow the images

the You Tube inside your head the doctor ordered.

It keeps you happy when you are down and out . . . one more prayer,

one more reason to forgive. You smile


to survive here is to know

the stuff you hold means something. There is a reason

for you to be, to keep what was there

here and now forever.

                                    -- Zev Davis


My childhood favorite when

the carnival came to town

with all the sound of gritty oil

smoothing the turn of metal gears,

the smell of carny sweat and cotton candy,

the fake glitter that dazzled our excited eyes

was this lift and swing through air

and view of our flat landscape smoothed

out clear to where the sky

was pinned to earth, our 360o view.

We thrilled to our daring,

tipping dangerously at the top,

frail metal scaffolding our only safety,

and below, cabbagey heads were clumped,

none marveling at us,

all seeking their own dangers.

When we decided to see Chicago

from that giant wheel


to lake and city both, it moved so slowly

in its huge circle that we did not

gasp once or even fear for our lives.

He was too young to make such comparisons,

but I decided, once and for all,

that the creaky old imperfect things,

the worn-to-nothing bathrobes,

the small chattels of childhood,

can never be surpassed

by the awe-inspiring displays

of our biggers and betters. Never.

                                                    -- Carol Hamilton 


WPA wasn't ideal

but it was the happiest

day when I got a

grant. I did New York,

the old tenement

building. I'd take my

photos around, went

to the Bowery. A man

said nice girls don't

go to the Bowery. I

said, I'm not a nice girl,

I'm a photographer,

I'm going anywhere

                                  -- Lyn Lifshin




I was about to say something

but stopped

against the window pane

his face -- his eyes

stone grey met mine  --

no recognition

in angry pain perhaps

staring at his reflection

I at mine or

was it his


behind the double glazing

I shouted non-messages

into echoing silence . . .


I wish,

I wish that there had been

an open window to let in

the moon to catch

the moment to hear

the string quartet

tuning up to clear

the fog to see and touch . . .

But what if his eyes

were dead and his hands

on the strings

were stone?

                       -- Ruth Stern



To the beat of your lifelong drum

the height of your wall extends,

stone on hard cold stone. By the time

I get home from work, you've slit

sweetness from daybreak's kiss,

blocked your hold around my waist,

skin to skin, dogs nuzzling for warmth.

This stonewalling sours the moment

our tongues taste succulent morels you've

prepared for us with brandy and cream,

locks you in darkness when evening light

invites us to wander under redbud's last

bloom. I see life recede through holes

in your wall. I whisper I love you.

Crack filler splashes (and stings) my eye

from the safety of your side of the wall.

                                   -- Molly O'Dell


Your mood is granite and your opinions do not give.

You are the stone faces on Mt. Rushmore.

Nothing flexes.

Something might.

But the backside of the moon is the reflection

Of superstitious cheese.

Settle for green?

Why not?

You are as far away from enticement as temptation

On the sly.

I am trying to get into your reluctance,

To be with you when you pull off your blanket.


                                      -- David Lawrence


In that family there were no boundaries

Particularly with language

Everybody just leapt right in

And said whatever they wanted

And asked whatever they wanted.

It paid to be on guard, watch

What one said in case it came back twisted, bent into a sharp

Tool that pricked the flesh and

Made it smart and opened old wounds with a new betrayal.

In that family there were no boundaries

Everyone chimed in and joined every private conversation

Turned every phone call into a conference call

And each piece of mail into an item of communal property.

A new friend underwent due diligence from three generations

And might not be approved.

Yet over time even the rejected ones became family friends, absorbed in the crowd.

Each courtship was in the public domain, with running commentary about each intimacy observed, and much debate about the prognosis, and all of this was shared with friend, on phone, email, Skype and Facebook.

Each illness gave permission to share and circulate the most private workings of the failing flesh . . .

After all, everyone just wanted to help.

The small children winced, old enough to understand that their secrets were being traded,

Like shares in a mutual fund.

And old age and end of life issues?

Well the welfare of the matriarch became a constant topic of conversation

Within the family and beyond.

She had become a mascot

The survivor of the survivors

Yet for herself she kept some boundaries

Cultivating a veil of mystery which

She cherished till the very end.

                                                -- Ruth S. Sager



I didn't know that leaving was this hard

It came like a wave of forgotten soldiers lying in ambush.

It fell like a claw from a caged tiger.

It crawled on my senses stealing scratches by mercy.

I couldn't believe the way my stomach screamed.

It felt bloated beyond scarred fury.

It was a door closing from beyond.

                                                       -- T. Anders Carson




You are the other, longing to receive him

Into the maze of mirrors

That waits at the door of wonder and suspicion

And inhibition in the presence of difference

A wish to go out into the expanses of the other --

Who is not in doubt

Because no one understands his way; his court; his occupation;

His thoughts; his difference

So who will take him to their heart? Their circle?

To the hourglass that waits    

For some consequential, general

Change in status to take place

Which will lead the individual and the community

From impatience

To unconditional acceptance

And the other will be like you, his bread and sustenance

And yours one and the same

Understanding his different world

For all is breath and vanity

And all have been mistaken in their grasp of

And their reservation from the other, the different

Who is actually no different and no other

In the nape of accepting understanding

                                                           -- Adelina Klein

                                                               From the Hebrew: E. Kam-Ron




The other is only I

And I am only the Other

Within the One


Down here there is difference

Yes and no

Public and private

Right and wrong

Sacred and profane

Friend and foe

Mine and thine


Down here is a pattern

Whose complex, articulate,

Differentiated, infinitely

Nuanced unity

Reflects the One


Go and study

                     -- E. Kam-Ron




As you and I sat face to face

A wedge of ice came down.

I watched it come.

It was colorless and quite transparent:

Through it I saw you speak.

Widening it pried our chairs apart,

Pushed away my freezing cheek,

Tore from the planks a splitting screech,

Then it was gone.

The air in the room was enormous,

And we faced each other

From opposite walls, flat portraits

Pressed behind panes of glass.

                                               -- E. Kam-Ron, 1962


In this our world of confrontations we do live,

slinging slogans of partisan "interests."

We build ourselves up to hardly understand others,

Hearing how to rebut and up-the-ante of our own.

Yet false images and short processes can change

even if, ironically, only the privileged ones can see.

Ultimately they will realize that their own good

lies beyond a sweet life towards a constructive one.

Our thoughts are straw thrown to the roaring wind

carrying wandering sparks that are hard to lit up.

Indeed, how to express them well in writing

if not slipping underground from us altogether?

Sometimes the cloud veils open up

and a light descends through the rain.

It'll create a prism able to reflect your own soul

by giving you the feeling of sheer existence.

Such clarity readies you to hear the whale song

As it is transmitted across the seven seas.

You'll know then of persons unknown, far away,

striving to endow authenticity from your heart.


                                       -- Hayim Abramson

*This is a reaction to Esther Cameron's analysis of

her poem "You and I " ; in a newsletter to her friends

[Rosh Chodesh Av Menachem 5772].

Key words: confrontations, slogans, images,

processes, wind and whale song.




In dreams, when beauty meets the stranger,

when the created being sloughs its snake's skin

and is no longer wrinkled, no longer luster-

less, no longer a drab, work-a-day thing,

but rekindled, broken out afresh, released

from withered patterns; and yet, for all that,

true to itself and ancient as light -- translucent,

unscarred, smooth as pared back bark --

newly-born, eager to greet the stranger emerging

from the limits of a dark wood -- the otherness

no longer other -- only these, these two, each reflecting

the other's face, while outside the destroying

minutes flow, while outside footsteps fall

into an ordinary day; but here, here where the two

are met, smooth rind, rondure, and leaf,

the heart born into the whole, open and received.

                                -- Constance Rowell Mastores




"Do you see it?"

"I think so -- no I don't -- yes -- almost --."

"You're trying too hard."

"There it is now. I have it."

"Well what do you think?"

"It doesn't look like much, does it? --

Now I've lost it again. "

"Try not looking at it. Just look away.

Find yourself Orion.

Then presume the Pleiades in the quiet of your mind."

"You're not making sense."

"We're not here to make sense. We're here to find

stars. --

Just gaze deep into the black sky

with its wide array of dotted presences.

Now, what do you see?"

"Ah yes. There it is again! Magnificent!"

Ending the evening by not peering directly

at what it is we're trying to see

-- with some kind of understanding in our sights

and almost at our fingertips,

with wisdom in places we never expected --

Sometimes we find answers

before thoughts can form behind them.

Sometimes the sense of a thing drips directly

out of the chaos that surrounds it.

                                                      -- Harry Youtt



IV. Self-Reflection



Yetza hora, you late work-a-day

Sway incarnate, be child's play.

Putrid evil, poised as prey,

Tender not our souls' dismay.


Abominable breath personified,

Authentically, eternally alive,

Grafting chaos, always contrives

Loss, sorrow, or death's arrival.


Accumulated, toxic waste,

Before, during, plus past your place.

Dream destroyer, reason effacer,

Dark memory, deep distaste.


Panic-keeper, master of slaughter,

Fear shepherd, gaoler of order,

Plodder, plotter, major marauder,

Fisher of spirits, tester of borders.


Brutish sovereign, terrorist prince,

Explosive, flammable evidencer,

Changeling, world beater, media convincer,

Void, null, creation incenser.


Speck of thunder, bolt of fire, realize

Truth descends from regions higher!

Not all light shall join your pyre

Prayer, change, charity inspires.


Voices lift, persons bless,

Wonders gild, great and less,

When in service, holiness

Maintains the small, keeps the rest.


In truth, you're everyone's servant, twained,

To rule no one where sanctity stands.

Again you're conquered, again you're restrained,

Only righteous honor can dwell near The Name.

                               -- KJ Hannah Greenberg


[Yetsa hora -- the Evil Inclination.]


"Greed is good," quoth Golden Gordon Gecko,

The filmic leader of the broker clan,

And up and down Wall and Main Street echoed

The exalted Words of the great man.

So far, so good, if you follow up his plan,

But beware you do not become too bold,

Take not what you deserve but what you can

By any means including sale of soul.

The ancients punished such with drafts of molten gold.

                                                  -- Leonard Roller




O evil twin, not brother, not myself,

What wealth you've squandered on murderous intents.

I dissent. I gaze into the glass as dumb,

Mumming terror distorts your bleary face

& trace the crinkled lines that care has limned,

& sin, & time, as we fret against their theft

Bereft our Atlas burdens to stare together

Whither once our blithened youth we shared,

Bared in glory, like Solomon his scales,

But tales of love, once-friend, die doomed to rage:

Engaged in war, we lose the ones we claim,

Framed within the flare before we go,

O evil twin my life has laid so low.

                                            -- Michael Baldwin



        "If you do not turn to doing good, there is sin crouching at the entrance, and for you is its craving. " Gen 4:7

I go to the river with an arrow

to seek the innocence of a deer

in the stillness when the sun sinks

below the border of the world.

A stag comes on silver hoofs,

sniffing an alien breeze. "Lay down

your life, " I sing, a reed to the wind,

and string the loom of my bow

patterned with lions and gazelles.

The buck's nostrils widen and lift.

My arrow's shuttle flies and stops

all weaving. Now the warp ends.

On my shoulders, blood stains me

like the finest madder and kermes.

Antlers beat the end of time

loosely on the small of my back.

I light the pyre and smoke curls

over the field that death has conquered.

Out of the flames, the forked snake

rises, burning my world away.


                                     -- Judith Werner



Hide it in my desk where I will find it.

Show me the policy. Guide my digit

down the arcane index, indicate.

Give me the conditions. Spell it out.

Preach it to me. Teach me a ditty of it.

Dictate a summary memo of it. Let

further treatment expand to nothing but

ditto, ditto, as was said, pronounced,

as something impossible to contradict.

Give me verdict, sentence. Give it not

in leaving benediction, but in judgment,

the parting shot before you abdicate.

Dedicated, addicted to it, late

I wait. I can take it. Dish it out.

                                                 -- John Milbury-Steen


When I fall


Before my goal,

And all control

Is out-of-hand,

My soul

Finds peace upon the sand --

Yet when I hear,

Beyond a hill,

The sigh

Of, still,

What might remain,

My will

Encounters every grain.

                                     -- David Kiphen


Smite smote smitten

words find redemption

even provide a mood

for the doubtful and surreal

the dreamers and the gloom

but no syntactic legerdemain

can explain

how we hate those we hurt

love those we help

trust those we betray

Maybe reason can be read

in the pitter patter of our DNA

though I suspect our lineage was not a logical leap, linear and upright

maybe a swirl like a shell

a limpet, a damp barnacle

with suction cup insecurities

and our motives blurry

far under the sea.

                              --Susan Oleferuk


I didn't think

I was

A brain open to all winds and wild spirits

Seized with fears



In a cell --

A tattered skeleton --

Cudgeling itself with subjects beyond the clouds

Sometimes with a kind of satisfying arrogance --

Sometimes with an understanding

That barely managed

To lay

An outsize egg

That would roll out of the nest

                                               -- Ruth Blumert

                        from the Hebrew: E. Kam-Ron


I have had to face

the terrible egotism

at the core of all poetry

"Husks in the finite, expandable,

in each

another form in-grows, in-sticks "*

Every intimation of wholeness


on some caesura.

Some limitation.

So was/is Creation

a showing-forth or

a concealment

and do we do well

to imitate it?

To live, I had

to join words together

hoping thereby

to give life.

Now, I'm not so sure.

Somewhere I cannot


hangs a scale.

In the one pan a plethora

of poems,

the odd good deed perhaps

mixed in among them.

In the other the harms I have done.

Some small.

Some maybe not so small.

And the waste.

And one pan, I cannot see,


-- E. Kam-Ron

* "Hüllen im Endlichen, dehnbar,/ in jeder/wächst eine andre Gestalt fest. " -- Paul Celan, Fadensonnen


I Knife-edged dunes 'twixt windward & lee,

Ranks in shadow & light ...

A sea of sand, or a sandy sea

That sets my heart affright.

As far as any eye can see --

Wastes of withering light!

A tiny speck of nothing, me,

Praying for cool of night.

II In this world 'twixt windward & lee,

Awash in hapless plight ...

Resolve, & hope, & decency,

As well as will to fight,

Succumb to foul despondency

In wastes of hellish light.

III Even hubris abandons me

As arid winds snarl & bite,

And Sol climbs to ascendancy

Gloating in grim delight,

For I am struck with lethargy

As life and strength take flight.

IV Once in Sol's grip he doth decree --

"You'll never know respite.

For though you pray with fervency

To speed the Moon & night,

Entreating her in urgency

To shield you from my light,

Her cold can kill as easily --

The cold of desert-night."

V Adrift on the sands of a sandy sea,

In night or broad daylight,

I've lost what was and was to be

And think in black-and-white . . .

My infinite becomes finite

As past and futures flee,

For as I die of cold & heat

I see what is, and is to be.

                                        -- Steven M. Sloan











                                                  -- S.M. Sloan


the paralyzing illness, leveler

   of hopes and dreams, the shy boy

       reclusive as a man, the stars

            reflect in eyes of green.

The boy who should have grown to complete

    manhood, toppled at the age of twenty,

       circler of streets, the darkness

           below his angry eyes,

the winds of time sound in the church bells,

    old ogler of beautiful women, too

         old and sick to do much, worn

              out and without charm,

looking at the world through slits of guilt,

     trying to wash himself clean of shame,

          hidden in the dark of still rooms,

               the smoke of disenchantment.


                                       -- Calvin Green


I'm afraid of your hands

weaving threads of despair

into blankets of doom

in the dark of your room

I would pluck petals

toss them in air

infuse their perfume

in the dark of your room

I would offer a moonbow's

flash from the sky

interlaced on the loom

in the dark of your room

I would promise my shoulder

to cushion your head

eclipsing the gloom

in the dark of your room

I would wrap you in color

and dip you in scent

herald new bloom

in the dark of your room

                                        -- ellen



"Happy is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor stood in the path of sinners, nor sat in the seat of scorners. But his

delight is in the Torah of the Lord, and in His Torah does he meditate day and night. "  (Psalm 1:1-2)

Happy is the climber who finds a way

To walk on jagged mountain cliffs, despite

The threat of blinding sleet and hail by night,

Despite the fear of falling rocks by day.

    Happy is the sailor who learns a way

    To stand and steer his ship on course, despite

    Destructive typhoon winds and rains by night,

    Despite vast surging tidal waves by day.

Happy is the weaver whose loom is blessed

With iridescent cloth his fingers weave

Both day and night, from multicolored threads;

    With trembling hands, he sits and makes a vest

    For climbers and for sailors who believe

    In words he sews as yellows, blues and reds.

                                                   -- Yakov Azriel


V. The Silent Channel



On the radio I heard

a poet talking about

the "silent channel,"

that hungry Muse

who lives in all who

refract being through

self to show

their truth.


Her truth was parents

who passed through

the valley of the shadow,

all-determining event,

dark beating chord,


our here and now,

our place and time.


our dream was other,

building, creation.


then that thing


deep dark,

beyond imagination.


Will that thing so stamp us,

that nothing else remains?

In memorializing the unthinkable

will we lose the dream?

                                      -- Michael E. Stone



"123 here I come!" I heard Tatte say in a stage whisper from the hallway. My five year old brother, Yankele, and I were hiding in the cupboard under the stairs under piles of shmattes Mama used back in the days when she still cleaned the floors. I heard the sounds of Tatte opening and shutting cupboard doors in the kitchen.

"Where are they?" he said, "Could they be in the larder? No -- not in here."

Yankele giggled and I cupped my hand around his mouth.

"Shush Yankelush, he'll hear you," I whispered in my brother's ear.

"Are they under the bed?" My father's voice rang again, "No not under here. Maybe they're behind the cabinet? Wrong again. Where did those kinderlachdisappear to?"

I marveled at how long it was taking for Tatte to find us. Had I have been playing this game with Zelda like I usually did, I have no doubt she would have found us by now. I heard Tatte's heavy footsteps approaching the cupboard door. His shadow blocked the chink of light that was seeping in from the space between the door and the floor.

"Hmm, the cleaning closet," came Tatte's voice again, "I wonder if they're hiding in there?"

Yankele could no longer suppress his excitement and he let a high-pitched laugh slip from his mouth. I instinctively covered his mouth with my hand again.

"What is this?" Tatte said, "The closet is laughing? Since when do closets laugh?"

Despite my restraining hand, Yankele erupted into fits of giggles. Tatte opened the closet door. "Aah, it isn't the closet that is laughing, it's the shmattes. I should have known!" He lifted the cloths high in the air and exposed our hiding place. By now Yankele was uncontrollable and grabbing on to me, squealing in delight. Tatte bent down and picked him up, hoisting him over his shoulder. I followed them into the sparse living room where Tatte plopped down into the battered armchair he so treasured. He held Yankele in his arms.

"Yankelush, your sister found you a good hiding place and you hid very nicely. Good boy." Tatte smiled and kissed Yankele's forehead. As he held my brother's face in his hands his smile disappeared and was replaced with the same look that Mama had when she heard tzorresabout friends we knew. "I am proud you -- both of you. But you know zeesa kinderlach, when we play the real game, you must remember not to laugh. If you make a sound, the Germans will find you and then you will lose the game."

                                                                                                                                                              -- Deborah Danan


I hear a poem about hope

read. I think of the men

rounded, 33,000 marched

to the edge of the ravine,

the blood turning leaves

and grass burgundy . I

think of my grandparents

packing in the night,

taking a samovar,

some wrinkled apples,

then running past straw

roo fs on fire. Years

before, as if the wind of

dead roses let them

know something was

coming. I think of

weeks seasick in steerage,

weeks of fog and fog

horns, no words

to ask for what was

ahead. They pulled away,

arms waving, those

left with streamers tied

to the ones on the

boat until they snapped,

floated, rainbow

colors on the surface

until black water

ate them

                 -- Lyn Lifshin


Bonfires burning crop residue

cast curls of smoke and scent into the cold air.

Red-gold maple and elm leaves bathed in bright sunlight

bower the approach road to my mother's shteitle, Drilj.

South of Radom I see the signpost in Polish, "Ilza."

Nestled in a green valley is the town, narrow winding streets

ancient leaning houses and in the distance medieval castle ruins

on the barg -- the hill where my mother and her friends played.

Beyond the boundaries of time and place, I see her there.

Fearless girl, she defies a young sheygitz bullying

a heder child. Was it her fiery eyes or her fair girl-child face

that vanquished his Jew hatred for that instant?

In the here and now, I enter the village

to walk the cobbled streets of the Jewish quarter.

In Market Square Meir Provizor's house still stands.

On the wrought iron balcony of Sabah Meir's house,

Zev Jabotinsky joined Zionist meetings.

Like Herzl he looked out on the lands of exile

and said, "Here will be our tomb."

Unwind the hours. Between the red brick and wooden house fronts

peasants brandishing pitchforks storm the square.

Meir Provizor stands defiant, fists raised. He shouts,

"Townsfolk! Neighbors! What are you doing?"

My mother and her brothers and sisters huddle under the counter

of the family's fabric emporium. Yankel the eldest

runs out to the street to pull their father inside.

They push the counters forward to bar the wooden doors.

Imprisoned for Zionist incitement, when he is released

Sabah Meir orders the family to pack -- Sifrei Kodesh

and what they can salvage from their lives, from their livelihood.

Temporary and enduring, transient and perpetual,

of the moment and unceasing,

beyond the boundaries of time and place,

I am with them on the perilous trek home to Eretz Israel.


My brother and I would raise eyebrows at our Imma's longings

"for the sweet waters of Drilj,"

and how could a miserable shteitle be so charmed?

Beyond the measure of time and death, the transience of life,

I beg your forgiveness Imma, for here I am in the beautiful Ilza.

Pure spa waters course down the bright mountainside.

This is the wooden bridge over the "luskhki," a quiet stream

set in the green glen leading to the synagogue -- no longer --

where the family took Shabbat afternoon shpatzirs.

Hourglass sands slide forward. It is 1946.

The survivors, Imma's childhood comrades

and Zionist shuleh classmates, now appear in her dreams.


After such a night, the phone will ring,

dear voices will call up from the street below,

"Pnina, Pninichka." In our small Bronx flat

the beloved faces of Imma's photo album take voice,

Night after night, I listen as they relive a shared childhood

-- Drilj's bright waters, the happy times.

Mute cries tell of the Ilza German Slave Labor munitions camp,

of Jewish fingers bleeding from the corrosive burn of gunpowder.

Can human voice resonate such endless pain that a six year old child

listening in her sleepless bed will forever call it her own?

'ILZA; Queen Casimir's Tears

Did King Casimir's bride weep centuries of sweet waters

down the jagged hills of Ilza to mourn the destruction of her castle

or for the cruel fate of her shteitle's Jews?

                                                                -- Shira Twersky-Cassel (Provizor)



MAY 15, 2012

The mayor reads his prepared speech

about the deportation and the war

while schoolchildren stand fidgeting

listening to stories

of something that happened

long before they were born

they blink at us

strangers and wonder

why we have come here

I look for you everywhere

in this heartbreaking beauty

I search for you in the cemetery

but the entire

row of your generation is missing


I would have placed my hand on your cheek

played games with you as a child

ran after you in the square

sat on your lap in shul

if I had known you


I would place a stone on your grave

but there is no grave

and not enough stones in the world.

                                                      -- Dina Jehuda




with The Book

in my hand

and The Name

on my lips

I cry

concrete corridors with displays of death

schemes of blood and ashes


I must sit

I must breathe

return to the letters in The Book

black tears on melted white


I am blind, I say, take my hand


I will lead you

we will wade through

tools of hate

the cold, dark narrative

harsh forms

nightmares alive

the screams


I will pull you through

 to the other side

into the sun

away from mourning

up from the deep gash

in the mountain


look -- where the water trickles

from the rocks


smell -- the fresh pine needles


hear -- His whispers



we are cleansed.

                           -- Mindy Aber Barad







The synagogue in Saint John, New Brunswick

is for sale, the big sanctuary closed like a barn

in winter.

The community center is a museum of past

glory. Twenty families remain and only a few show

at the chapel to carry on the tradition of the fathers.




The congregation is so small it doesn't have a

Rabbi. The rabbi comes in from Halifax, probably drives

to Digby and takes the ferry or he drives all the way.

He has to arrive before shabbat or yontiff. He sleeps

in the museum with the ghosts of the past. The wind howls

a Holocaust melody and he can't sleep.




Among the first Jews in Saint John was a Mr. Gales.

His children married Christians because there were no

other Jews.

They assimilated like the lost tribe or the English at

Roanoke in the 1600's who created blue-eyed Indians. And

will Saint John have circumcised Christians?




There were once over two hundred and fifty Jewish

families in Saint John - fourteen hundred souls for

God to watch.

Now who prays for justice and mercy? Where have

all the Jews gone? Are there any left? Will there be a last

Jew in Saint John?

                                    -- Zvi A. Sesling


sanguine Spring in Newspeak:

mass executions, muddied dead bodies

butchered families, whole towns

whatever happened to land renewed, and dew

once upon a Spring

frosts mimicked death only
while sustaining life --

silent investment in the future

am I the only one left

who remembers buds?

rustlings after a long dormancy?

except for passed over door posts
where once we sprinkled blood

this does not resemble Spring at all.

                                     -- Mindy Aber Barad


For years they dressed me

in my grandmother's grey skies,

in the oncoming rain

of her winter memories.

For years spring was forbidden

and the sun, when it came,

burned a hole in my heart.

Despite all their precautions

I jumped into the puddles of light

and wore the summer sun

in my hair like a ribbon.

I always knew my grandmother

wept for the lost ones,

especially for the children,

yet even she still looked out at the light

of each day with a welcome,

thankful to be here.

Despite the irony of her dark forebodings,

she burned the colors of good memories

in her Shabbos candles,

and dressed our futures

in the hope of fortune and blue skies.

                         -- Estelle Gershgoren Novak



              Return, return, O Shulamit . . .

              Song of Songs 7:1


Snow blacker than witches covers the camp.

Voices lower than whispers echo in the woods.

Pelting rain does not wash the ground clean.

There, your brush, and combs for your hair, Shulamit,

Your velvet purse, your patent-leather shoes.

There, an orchestra played, and the lines marched on.

Some hacked the snow; others shoveled ashes.

Curses darker than wizards' cover the camp.

Footsteps softer than foxes' echo far from forest paths.

Thunder storms do not drown out their sound.          

There, liner for your almond-shaped eyes, Shulamit,

There, an image of your children, yet to be born.


On eagles' wings you returned to the mountain of myrrh,

For blessings, like pearls of dew, cover our Land, Shulamit.


                                                              -- Ruth Fogelman



There is a Jewish participant in my group


suffering as the daughters of Holocaust survivors suffer,


who sat last night and said:


"The ghost of a nun has twice visited me in the dead of night."

(We sleep in Montreal above a crypt, abandoned nuns burned in the hundreds).


You can tell she is convinced this is true (and who am I to say what is true?).


But listening to her account of these nocturnal visits


made it near impossible for me to write a picture book for class, let alone sleep.


In Israel the monsters tend to approach lo aleinu in broad daylight, and in public and to be


on the express lane to the Next World, not returning.


                                                         -- Gila Green


VI. The Journey Home


We strain at ropes to drag great blocks of stone

Up winding ramps at Pharaoh's rising tomb,

A labor which has been the grueling doom

Of thousands since he first took up his throne.

We build for Pharaoh's afterlife alone,

To seal his mummy in a buried room

With all his treasure, ready to assume

His place among the magically reborn.

When we die we are cast into the sand,

Forgotten, vanished into nothingness.

It is an empty, hopeless destiny.

And yet we build more royal tombs to stand

Vast and lonely in the wilderness

As if no other kind of world could be.

                                        -- David Stephenson


You soft breezes! Heralds of Italy!

     And you with your poplars, beloved river!

          You billowing mountain ranges! O all you

               Sunny peaks, so it is you again?

You still place! In dreams you appeared distant

    After a hopeless day to the yearning one,

          And you my house, and you playmates,

               Trees of the hill, you well-known!

How long is it, O how long! The child's peace

     Is gone, and gone are youth and love and delight;

          Yet you, my fatherland! you holy one --

               Patient one! see, you are still here.

And because they are patient when you are patient, rejoice

     When you rejoice, rear you, dear one! your own also

          And remind them in dreams, when they wander

               Far away and stray, the disloyal.

And when in his fervid breast the self-mighty desires

     Of the youth have been soothed

          And are still before fate, then

               The mellowed one more gladly gives himself to you.

Farewell then, days of youth, you rose-lined path

     Of love, and all you paths of the wanderer,

          Farewell! And take and bless you my

               Life, O heaven of my homeland, again!

                                                -- Friedrich Hölderlin

                                                    from the German: Robert Glen Deamer




A twilight deeper than a summer dusk

Is lengthening the shadows of this town,

The mill is closed, the company moves on,

Whatever does not fall is taken down.

Rust-red tobacco barn, the general store,

No-longer-needed uproots built-to-last,

On dying streets, the people congregate,

Each, in their way, bids farewell to the past.

As cars crawl out beyond the Mobil sign,

The rotting bandstand echoes one last song;

Its chorus blares be gone, there's nothing here,

Its melody sighs, here's where you belong.


                                              -- John Grey



In the meadow, the herd danced their dance of young grass

the young males on the side, legs tucked under

well-brought up guards

the does in their Puritan brown

still demure in their leaps and stretched necks

their sameness the security of sisters

their joy for the end of the dark, bare bark and ice-held


my joy too, but I was not welcome to the rich meadow

nor would I ever dance

in the kindness of my own kind.

                                                   -- Susan Oleferuk




Tunes live on a saucer

that never flies

When slid into a closet,

they wake up


Rain turns sunflower leaves

into giving hands


Yellow scarves flail about

as if in wind, then

melt into a


pool of


Which grins like a cat

(curled in the hearth)

before disappearing


Pulleys close thin eyelids

against sun


Their child sleeps for six days

and rages the seventh

For comfort they rock it back and forth

by its arm

It gobbles tidbits from the floor

When its stomach fills,

they give it a new one

                                       -- Susan Richardson



Sparrows pick stale bread,

Before the makolet closes,

While children, hunger-animated, sigh,

Eyes wide open.


Elsewhere, "Kol Tov " to basil in clay pots,

To jarred jasmine,

Beneath a lavender sun.

Water drips on my merpesset.


Primeval acacias yet bind,

Ishmael's brood,

More than Avraham's heart:

Yitzhak's children await perfection.


The golden onion glowers;

Peril's become politicized.

Prayers for the Beit HaMikdash,

Barely appear in private papers.


In crowds, it's lonely,

Loitering for Moshiach,

Amongst wisdom-draped fringe,

Which sway, rise, and lean on stone.


Today, I woke Yerushalmi.

The Kotel was a bus away.

The sky was all Shemyim.

Tomorrow, I'll eat watermelon.

                                                    -- KJ Hannah Greenberg




Preparing lunch, I discover

that a slice of plain white bread,

when cut in half, is shaped like

the two tablets of the law.

And even my son's leaving

uneaten ends of bread

when rushing off to play

suggests the corners of a field

and how these gleanings

will sustain the poor.

                                    -- Steven Sher


The road Beer-Sheva-Tel-Aviv

is shorter than the same road south,

being later, straighter, while the other

follows the older curvy path.

Beside the new, a bush or two,

a palm, are claimed as "landscaping,"

while by the old, the eucalyptus

trees, plenish the skyline, whispering


of silver olive leaves, of shedding

snake skin bark, of dragonflies.

I relish driving north, but oh --

the journey home, the journey home.

                                           -- Amiel Schotz


"He [God] calmed the sea's tempest, and the waves of the sea were stilled. Then they rejoiced because the waves were silenced; and He brought them to their desired haven. " (Psalm 107:29-30)

Our ship has landed us upon this shore

Beside a quiet bay. Beyond the sand

There stretches out a vast, uncharted land

Not one of us has ever seen before.

     Dare I become a brave conquistador

     Who does not fear to seize the upper hand

     In search of fabled wealth and lead a band

     Of men across broad plains we must explore?

You've brought us to the continent of faith,

My God, extending like a coral reef

No diver has revealed. But I've been told

     That if we climb faith's mountain peaks and bathe

     In unpolluted rivers of belief,

     We might yet reach Jerusalem of Gold.

                                                -- Yakov Azriel


I'm not interested in planets

     speed of lights away

     want to know whether King David saw the same sky as me

what Rachel wore to the wedding feast

Was the sky different three thousand years ago

In the harbor soft waves lap

     against the boardwalk

          fishermen cast poles

     where there's a restaurant

          a king once walked


                                       -- Lois Michal Unger



In the beginning the Shechina was in a tent,
Small-size in size-large in kedusha, very sacred.
Our teacher Moshe awake or asleep alert
could feel the rhythm of the divine voice speaking to him.

The skins covering the Mishkan/Tabernacle included Tachash,
A mysterious animal that came around there and left.
There were furs to cover this mini-palace
Full of smoke, cloud and mystery of fiery angelical gold.

Listen Israel, now that we are in the ascendancy
Joining the league of nations again.
The voices tell us that there is a holiness in His place,
As a flood of Berachot/blessings-running.

Now David wanted to crystallize his aspirations for the Temple,
But God did not give the keys to build it directly to him.
The next king, Shlomo does not need to fight and peace grows
In the ascent of the full moon, he fills all its glory.

Why this privilege of the holy city Jerusalem?

In your yesterday and in the morning you renew the present salvation.

Here are physical boundaries that limit and infinite spiritual ones

You the city which as a lung-heart breathes and beats in all of us.

In this point the universe began and expanded infinite
Herein lies "the joy of truth " which is the key of language.
In seventy languages everyone will come to visit and appreciate you
Since the words coming out to the mind bring closer your truth divine.


                                                                        -- Hayim Abramson

Sources: The Deronda Review, Vol IV, No. 2 Winter-Spring 2012, Jerusalem.
Keywords: awake, voices. Waterfall, crystallize R. Lavett Smith, p.23; key, quarrel, E. Kam-Ron, p.23; breathing, the joy of truth, G. Izak p.27; boundaries; ¨words are a fence around the truth¨ S.Twersky-Cassel, p.26.
Tachash: Bamidbar 4:6 ¨They will put up a cover of leather tanned tachash, and it had a light blue cloth, and insert the rods" (which hold the Ark).

Gold Kruvim-angeles: They were made of gold, giving remembrance fire of Sinai. There are many secrets here, including that they had a connection to the throne of glory, See Sefer Siyune HaTorah to Parshas Terumah; Sifte Cohen Shemot 25:18 and others.

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Jerusalem: The Eye of the Universe, NCSY-OUJC, NY1976



I have seen

the terraced fields

blush pink

at the sun's dawn wink


I have heard the birds

In harmony

With the bells of goats

Despite the stony silence

Of the camels


I have watched the fog creep

And shrug shoulders around

The boulders and trees

Before it tugs itself away

Into the day.

                            -- Mindy Aber Barad




VII. The Mountain Says



Some look for redemption

in water

or hurl over burning coals

to test their ardor.

For me salvation lies

through the doors and arches

of a painting in the back room

of a gallery on 5th Street.

Weekly I visit the narrow picture

as necessary as our summer

pilgrimages to my Aunt Fanny in Brooklyn

to pay our respects.

At the far end a small window opens

on a stubble of grass.

Thorns pierce the canvas, masquerading

as flecks of paint on a vine

that twists over slats of fence.

Ghosts of huckleberries droop

like the chins of schoolchildren.

caught stealing penny candy.

You could arrest me as an intruder

as I slink through the painting

rooms off its hallway

belonging to someone else

but I take nothing, disturb no one.

Such devotion is rare in this city

where rosary beads break amid scandal

over the tiles of St. Vibiana's Cathedral

while in my box of family treasures .

the knots of my father's tallis

unravel even as we speak.

                                         -- Carol V. Davis


[tallis: Jewish prayer shawl]


The spirit moves from wrong to wrong, from harm

to harm done others in a moral mess,

an aged man's a stick within a coat

of impotence of age and rage unless.

Unless exactly what? you may enquire.

Unless precisely what kind of a thing?

Unless restored by that refining fire.

Unless soul clap its hands, oh clap and sing.

So Yeats and Eliot say life is just

the same address, about six feet of dust,

more a burial than life unless

I can refine my scabs of flaking rust.

I will remain a stick six feet in height,

merely vertebral support for clothes,

unless soul clap its hands and get me done

serving the time I serve. Excuse me, those

spirit hands and my flesh will are un-

connected by a nerve, though I today

am connected wifi to all lands.

How does one call up his spirit hands

and bid them clap and not hold back but clap

in some refining serious hurray

spring destickment into rising sap?

How to access a joy so far away?


                                 -- John Milbury-Steen


Where then are you, moments of grace,

when all becomes right,

all in a total confluence

into a singular whole,

like a flawless rock-crystal

in which the universe is incarnate and manifest,

like some unheard-of, inaudible music

that wafts down from the spheres.

Alas, the rock-crystal is flawed,

the music screeches,

and nothing is right any longer,

all is unwhole.

                                  -- Haim Schneider


How taciturn

the airless hours

are no longer mine

a pile of conjectures

besieged by distance

of a mute grey sky

exposing a snagged life

like Sisyphus

unable to rise

even from repetition

let alone reputation,

only believing

there were those

who heard poetry

from the ancients

in a voice on high.

                                  -- B.Z. Niditch


He grabbed a fistful of Israeli soil

a mixture of ancient dirt

and ashes settled on the ground from the skies of Europe

and pointed his fist to the sky and cried

how could You?

Now help us or get out of the way!


                               -- Drew Nacht



It makes one tender and aligned / getting out of the car because of traffic / a hidden marsh by the base of some road / one hundred shades of green are wanted / bodies spread out in the thicket / sand slipping into very hip boots again / curly hair bobbing along ahead / clear above the salty brush line / it is a little patch of wilderness / the mire leads to the beach / the beach is part of the Sound / and the Sound connects to the ocean / where it all unites with the sky / knowing what lives in the distance / still believing in the swamp / squishing mud and grass underfoot / hoping that the world won't go / away and away forever / until the colors turn unrecognizable / lately thinking suffocation under so much oil/humpback whales that can't breathe / water is sick around the continent / go help wash the creatures' backs / liquid dish soap is so strange / it would make anyone cry to do / we have to cry its good to feel/and know what is really happening / but still to be so grateful for / one hundred shades of green / a bog plushy with wild flora / the best that has ever even been smelt / no sense to anything but tall grass / a companion to pass over land / so wide or miniature to size / it is large in our minds / in marsh as in a lover's bed / everything fits together just right / bodies spread out in the thicket / all is beautiful for a moment / still walking in the swamp / squishing mud and grass underfoot / it makes one tender and aligned / because on the surface there always lies / a secret hope of textures


                               — Alexis Wolf





From the darkness there are yellow and orange rays of illumination.

Geese fly overhead murmuring muffled sounds in the sunrise over the lake.

Angel tears melt into the morning mist.

Searching for the poetic self takes time.

Our souls move slowly as we process our observations of the natural world.


Fast paced rhythms of time beat quicker each day depleting our energy.

Media and metal mini phones trump our solitude.

Noise and clutter drown out our ability to think with clarity. 


Peaceful prayers heal our inner selves with tranquility.

The heavenly white light centers the well of being.

Retreat into trance states and restore the inner vision.

Music uplifts the spirit, so we can move beyond the present moment.


Set aside the traps of modern man.

Move into seclusion and create an orderly sacred space.

Our voices will speak out again.

Breathe new life and sustenance into the bones and sinews,

Nature beckons us to listen and learn.

Watching the waves wash in creates strength and wholeness again.

Hope awakens us to realize that the truth lives within.


                                                                --Shoshanah Weiss-Kost


The difference between carnivores and those

who eat only plants is part of it. Empathy

is in the works even when spoken in whispers.

These things converse with trees, call them

from their wooden sleep to restart their green

machinery. They are in the dance going on

between the oceans and the moon, the way

wind moves from one space to another, in

the secret knowledge that helps salmon

return to their place of birth, dogs and cats

to cross entire continents just to return home.

The unseen are everywhere. Their evidence

is in what makes music possible and why art

has such a mind of its own. If none of this

convinces you, think of time. We do not see

it and do not know if we are traveling through

it or whether it is passing among us choosing

who will go to the right and who to the left.

                                      -- Fredrick Zydek


"The Lord knows the thoughts of man -- that they are vanity." (Psalm 94:11)

I thought I'd have to put aside my eyes

In order to believe, and put aside

My brain, because belief in God had died

I thought, when hearing helmsmen eulogize

Its recent death or imminent demise.

The sea of faith was shrinking and its tide

Had surely turned, so I felt justified

Surmising that its shallows swarmed with lies.

Or so I thought. For I was full of pride,

Self-confident the human mind was wise

Enough to analyze the brine of life.

Oh what a fool I was, my God, to hide

Behind this mask and wear this cheap disguise,

While stabbing oceans with a pocket-knife.

                                         -- Yakov Azriel




                                                    April 8, 2009


Blessed are you who makes the work of creation.

We make this blessing once every twenty-eight years

on an early April morning to praise the creation

of the sun, on the fourth day, in its first position.


We make this blessing once every twenty-eight years,

enough time to have moved along in our lives

like the sun in earth's day, in reversed position,

amazed at its travels across the sky.


Time is enough to move us along in our lives

even if we stay still as the sun

amazed at its travels across a sky

that does the work of turning while it burns.


Even if we stay still as the sun,

even without reference for our movement,

we do the work of turning while we burn

our gathered sugars in a gorgeous flame.


Even without reference for our movement,

our spheres of influence are each a planet.

We gather sugars till the gorgeous flames

of autumn burn and crumble into soil.


Our spheres of influence are each a planet

springing into life on one half only

as autumn burns the other to crumbs and soils

the green unfolding and the new life blazing.


Springing into life on one half only

makes you dizzy, like a child's spinning.

The green's unfolding and a new life's blazing,

evolving here to still another translation


that makes you dizzy, like a child's spinning

on an early April morning. To praise the creation,

still evolving, here's another translation:

blessed you make the making of the beginning.

                                            -- Courtney Druz


                           for C.D.


I hoped to write a poem about the sun

After the ceremony of the blessing,

Waited for a line but it did not come. 

Another sign, I guess, of powers lessening.


Twice before, as a girl almost grown,

And later, as a woman just past prime,

I might have met that ray, had I but known;

Likely it will not find me here next time.


But now I've read the song I'd wished to write

In the voice of another, younger by one turn

Of that great wheel. Then let me bless G-d's might

By which the powers that leave with me return.


Bless G-d, there will be sky, there will be sun,

There will be song when my brief stave is done.

                                               -- E. Kam-Ron


Yosemite, July 1934

High in the Sierras,

land of waterfalls and granite faces

reaching to a height of thirteen thousand feet

(that beauty captured in photography by Ansel Adams),

here, two women camped and contemplated

their lives, their loves, and most of all

their destinies.

Here, too, famously, her Uncle Ted

had spent a night with one John Muir

beholding God's playground,

pledging to keep it safe

from the ravaging hand of greed.

But for Eleanor, it was a time to choose between

the private life she longed for

and the public life she had come to contemplate.

Hick, less athletic than the president's lady,

overweight, a smoker, panting at the height,

found she was reporter no longer, only a friend.

Attended by their guides,

they dodged reporters, fled the peering eyes

of celebrity hunters.

The president himself

was off somewhere in the Pacific,

Hawaii perhaps,

his letters following his mate's adventures.

Eleanor had borne him children, five still living.

Reluctant First Lady, Hick was later to call her,

sharing her memories of her famous friend.

Sleeping under a heaven full of stars

gives pause,

and when she came away, rejoining her husband in San Francisco,

she knew.

The past -- a wife and mother;

the present -- deep depression and a nation's poverty;

the future still to come --

a world at war, the rights of Negro children.

These were commitments she had yet to make.

"What should I have done, Hick? " she asked.

"I've been betrayed by my one true love. "

"I know. "

"I offered him divorce."

"Out of the question, for an ambitious man."

"We reconciled, and then the paralysis . . ."

"No one could fault you, Eleanor."

"I'm so pleased for him, but for myself . . ."

"It would be pleasant, just to disappear."

"Did you know that Alice always made fun of me?"

"Your cousin? I wouldn't doubt it."

"And Aunt Edith . . ."

"I've given up a career or two myself."

"Women will have to learn to stop bickering."

"Tell me about it."

"Hick, I've never had such a friend as you."

"I'll always be here for you."

"That's good to know."

And so their conversation might have gone,

or not.

Perhaps it needn't have been said at all.

Friends share sometimes in silence

what won't spill out in words.

At any rate,

she came down from the mountain

renewed, committed to a very public life,


                                    -- Nancy M. Fisher





The morning bush awakes to the dry desert

Does not guess that today it will burn in the fire and not be consumed

What was in your future? Would you have been like tumbleweed before the wind

A powder of dry twigs, to be reabsorbed into the elements?

You were immortalized in words. You are not entitled to applause.

You did not know your eternity, nor the revelation revealed by and in you.

A desert shrub, almost inanimate

You put up no barriers, you could be a clear mirror

You would have been consumed in a minute

In you great mercy and fire are reconciled.    

                                                                -- Tziporah Lifshitz

                                              from the Hebrew: E. Kam-Ron

[sn'eh (Hebr.): bush]





for the 28 dead of Newtown

WHEREAS, the principle of freedom of speech

Was meant to shelter conscience and debate,

Not license spectacles and words that teach

Crimes against human persons, furnish hate

With mental images a certain few

In the large audience will imitate;

WHEREAS, it has been shown that crimes ensue

When crimes are publicized in their detail

And pictures and accounts of those who do

The crimes, are widely shown, or where the tale

Of heinous acts can bring the felon gain;

WHEREAS, such practices break down the pale

Of life, the foremost right, and thus make vain

Pursuit of happiness, and liberty;

And WHEREAS, harmful speech tends to restrain

Legitimate speech, from fear no longer free;

THEREFORE, it is declared that governments,

State, local, federal, have authority

To ban such works by law and ordinance,

As breaches of the peace, whereby alleged

Artistic merit shall be no defence,

Since to life's service all true art is pledged.

                                            -- E. Kam-Ron


[Note: The above will be posted, G-d willing, at]


12. The Wander Root Court


In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, right here, right now, it has been long enough.


Turn and enter--whichever way you are facing, turn and enter.


What has already bloomed is old; the fruit in the unopened bud is what you will bring.


Come with me to the field where the trees are budding.


We will tend them as they flower, we will lodge in the villages, we will note the first fruits ripening there and designate them for God.




Adorn them with ribbons, prepare the bowls.


Pare your own slice of the pebble moon and fill it.


Carry it on your shoulder as you translate your story.




Come and build what you must build.


It is authorized to you.

It is not too late.


                                         -- Courtney Druz

from her book The Light and the Light (2012)




Know, reader, what the elder poets knew

and what the distant disk of Earth now tells us:

that all things have their limit and their term

and in that term and limit is their form,

their beauty, and the laws which give them life,

shaping the energy which otherwise

would lose itself in boundless dissipation.

                                  – George Richter

                          The Consciousness of Earth




Adrienne Rempel, Ochre Form/ oil on canvas / 18" x 23"/ 2012

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