V. As Part of Something More




As in a peaceful orchard


In infinite silence

To touch the crown of the blue

To tread the transparent path


                            —Ruth Gilead

                               translated by Esther Cameron



quick glance


Crimson and gold leaves

cling to branches

and autumn arrives

with color.  How could

evil exist in such a

beautiful setting?

Did Eden’s garden

glow?  While the

Almighty suppresses

tears for man’s free

choice to continue to

harm fellow humans,

we are given streaks

of setting sun, snowflakes,

spring buds to show us

a glimpse of Utopia

so we may better bear

much darkness in daily


—Lois Greene Stone






Salty sea
intimate space,
darkness wrapping
in warm embrace,
heartbeats rocking me
cradled, safe:
that was my first
Utopia—of place.


Summer vacation
sunrise, sea,
childhood elation—
at long last free!
Time to wander
along the shore,
time to ponder,
time to explore
rock-pools, reaching
for shells through brine:
that was my second
Utopia—of time.


And now—in a wood, say,
sunslant through leaves,
blackbirds trilling
filling the breeze,
time standing still
the world suddenly whole,
I glimpse for an instant
a Utopia of soul.

—Judy Koren






Suddenly  it’s  Genesis


and I appoint myself   




of a piece of earth's  crust

Plowing    Planting     Watering     Pruning              Picking     Kindling        Burning           Building            Feeding       


Getting rid of poisonous insects


All those occupations    




If  you give them  


                             an instant


Grab your    

Whole  Life

—Sabina Messeg

                                                translated by the author






There is no house opposite my house, no window opposite my window,

no door opposite my door, no strife opposite my song


       ——           I am neighbor

to a body of mountains

   that stands erect

above     the supine     bodies of the valley



Their love

is more pleasant to me     than the love of humans



Their love exempts me from duties

of the heart, it lets my soul go



I no longer need loves—

             just one more day, and another… and another ,

      just days that rush forth shorter and shorter

just time, just

   the light      tremor

of the pen

                   ballpoint or fountain


         into whose nostrils has risen

             from under

the scorched crust     of earth


——  the scent of water

—Sabina Messeg

           translated by Esther Cameron and the author






It was a social painting

society moving

a tradition of going

and places achieved

the divide of space

sacrificed for destination

remarkable for determination

embroidered hearts

safe from strangers

each a star

without a shine

a name hidden within

rivers of shoulders

a universe of faces

each with a history

like waves under a


—Roger Singer






Someone made this subway floor

of variegated flecks,

each a part of something more

against a base of black.


Look down—the variegated flecks

come in hues of human skin

against a base of nightsky black:

off-white, off-red, yellow, brown, tan. . . .


So many hues like human skin,

sized, shaped, placed like confetti,

off-white, red, yellow, brown, taupe, tan,

as if every fleck were ready,


festive-flung like fun confetti,

to go as Someone's subway floor

of mixed society—ready

to ride as part of something more.

—James B. Nicola






What lasted was the Lord’s, his fingers

Busy with creation, sunny weather


And the sound of roosters laughing.

Later, the music of bulls


Dancing around a campfire

Waiting for the females to arrive.


Sitting on a mossy log

with a banjo plinking


Oh Susanna

A raccoon hums & smiles.


Children touched

By the finger of God


Skip like monkeys, pure happiness,

No witnesses required.

                                          —Alan Basting






In my family  


are many colors,  

and  backgrounds:  

European, Hispanic,   

African, Asian, and  

Native American too.

One family:  

children, spouses  

and grandchildren.

Ours is just one  

of many thousands  

across the globe   


a new future,   

and new vision,  

of inclusion  

for us all.   

—Duane L Herrmann






The living.

Compromise of the living.


We are not like the heroic dead.

Graceless, scrofulous


with scrupulosity,

I saw our desire to mirror ourselves....


Lo! We are proud performers in a little

rock and shrub enclosed circle.


We have the dignity of the rays of the sun,

the step of the expectation of the onlooker—


What if our dance is a prance?

Join us.

Reuven Goldfarb

*The ”Le” refers to The Living Theatre, a radical theatre formed in New York in the ‘60’s by Judith Malina and Julian Beck, whose premise was that the audience was as much a part of the play as the actors, and that the play (and your part in the play) began as soon as you entered the building or the space where the performance was to be held.  Extend this aesthetic further out, and we are all actors in the play of life.




The Forest Path


I want to go to you

where the kudzu darkens a space like a secret door

to a grand foreign place

so I can slip into where I belong. where I began

merge with dirt, earth, and leaf all belief before me

and hold in my hand cool mystery like water from the stream


This dull day I can only catch a chance glance

 at the deer on the roadside eating sweet grass

the hawk on a long branch at rest

as I sit uneasy, a stranger in a crowd that forgets

the meaning of many words


The past means little to me, cast out a fair price for the delight

of falling and rising up

for a choice that means so much

I don’t like prim talks, neat walks, teacup lawns and arduous laws

yet I cast myself out

somewhere a long time ago I got very lost

I’m heading now to find my way back

to the pine shadowed forest path.

                                                           —Susan Oleferuk






How cunningly the hours are spent roaming the boxwood grove

alongside the river.


Thoughts come astride of each footfall, fleeting

but recaptured within moments, thereafter to be counted

if, in fact, fleeting occurrences count in the daily climbing

of each precipice.


It is altogether useless to complain.  Just look to the sky

for comfort, as if stars could be seen in daylight before sun

begins to meddle.


Where should she start, knowing that starting points

are arbitrary and inconsiderate of any urge to get immediately

into motion.  However, thoughts will do no lasting damage.  


She is prepared to comport with whatever is required  

in the field and to claim innocence if anyone objects.

She will commence with a general scurrying in friendly territory

and will plan to reach the outpost in due course.  

                                           —Irene Mitchell






By the consent of the Omnipresent, weary of supplications,

And by the consent of the audience held captive in auditoriums

By the assembly on the top floors of high rises

And by the assembly of the ground floor, the dwellers in streets


We permit you everything


And the court repeats the formula three times:

All things are permitted to you   All things are forgiven you   All things help you

And the light is sweet    and good to the eyes   and it is permitted to love


Go forth

—Amichai Chasson



Swollen and Swelling


Now all the earth is swollen and swelling,

the fields and the furrows are swollen and swelling, swelling and swollen,

the ditches and rivers, the fatbergs and graves,

are swollen and swelling, swelling and swollen,

the longings of children buried in prisons are flowing and swelling,

foaming and swollen, the hands of the migrants, imprisoned for being,

are lifeless and broken, hallowed and aching,

we have suffered from generals riding stone horses

we have suffered from flags waved in our faces

we have suffered our congress of mansplaining con men,

we rise with the women we rise over churches, we rise over armies,

battered unbroken, believing and seeing, buoyed by the zeitgeist,

the flux and the flooding.

Shall I say goodbye to the ruined land where will I go

clutching my iPhone, wearing a watch that counts all my footsteps,

where will the GPS lead? What will I find that restores the lost forests,

turns loose the walled rivers. My virtual reality is chock full of diversion,

friends laughing on Facebook, family on Facetime.

Yet I long for an animal to caress, for the cry of the fox, song

of the loon over calm evening water, the splash of a frog that is not

threatened, the glimpse of a wolf that is not tagged and tracked,

the scent of mossy stones where a sweet sea laps the shore.


Up from our humblebrag leaders, up from the binge—watching flock,

up from the talk shows and scorn of the foreign we rise with the women,

we gather together in gardens and farm fields, growing and plowing, in the

season of seeding, when all the earth is swollen and swelling,

when a torrent of blackbirds will come down and remake us, skirling and screeching,

wailing and whirling over the wetlands, the cattails and rushes, our home and beginning.

—Douglas Macdonald





When that's done you will again be a Messiah

I will again be a dove

Together we'll be the leading sheep ringing in the fields of the bodies

Whatever she knows is most correct

We'll hover between the heavenly and earthly Jerusalem

In this gentle motion this path straight as an arrow

Skewered like Cozbi and Zimri

(Yes, I know

Despite and despite)

On the axis mundi

Precisely above the foundation stone


—Tirtsa Posklinsky Shehory

translated by Esther Cameron



What I’ll Miss



 Swimming with you in a glacial pond in Wellfleet

—water warmer than air in September—

so clear you can see twenty feet down,

perch flitting in between—miniature

submarines. It takes us all summer

to get to where we can swim

across and back Dyer Pond.


We need to relearn to relax and breathe,

turning heads to capture air,

returning to a fluid world

our bodies seem to remember

somewhere beyond thought—our arms extend

to pull and push the water behind

where legs scissor and feet paddle.

We slice through—smooth as seals.



Maybe this is the world we’ll return to—

the one we were baptized in,

the one where we spent most of our first year,

hooked up, enveloped, floating

in viscous warmth

until we grew too big to carry

and had to emerge

into the light of this world.


Could it be like that? Not heaven

but the murky dusk of our subconscious

where now we nightly float

and where we will return to remember

how to breathe and swim and see.

—Ed Meek




Utopia among people


Whirlpools of clouds in a dream cradle

White clusters, black-grey clusters

Riding on the wind, with human sighs

Rising to the embroidered skies

Memorializing like a flash in the eye’s lens

Blazing Vancouver at burning sundown

And frozen Baker Mountain in its

Snow white gown.

Its neighbors are silent at its feet at the lake shore

The soul longs

To shelter under other souls’ humble wings.

Words from the soul’s lake tear the net

The strands of thought

Like the quacking of mallards

Spreading the depths of the soul in a net of words

Shortening the distance

To touch, to feel, to breathe, to see

To look down on the valley from the summit

To look into the valley of others’ dreams

To dance with them like elves in fairytales

Spirit with spirit

Word with word

Mesh in gentle accord

To prolong the generous moment

Like a sustained chord


And the secret of the body and its outburst

Like a corset

Will be removed

—Rachelly Abraham-Eitan





  ”And you shall put these, My words, on your heart and on your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.   ”  (Deuteronomy 11:18)


Every morning the prophet Ezekiel put on 

Tefillin of a chariot,

And when he wound the straps around his arm,

He would see the tracks of wheels

And a storm wind; and a cloud; and a fire ablaze.


Every morning King David put on 

Tefillin of a harp,

And when he wound the straps around his arm,

He would see musical notes

Quavering on a seven-lined stave.


Every morning Joseph put on 

Tefillin of dreams,

And when he wound the straps around his arm,

He would see stars binding sheaves

As the sun and the moon whispered: 'Amen.'

Every morning Jacob put on 

Tefillin of a ladder,

And when he wound the straps around his arm,

He would see angels ascending

Rung by rung.


But I — every morning I put on 

Tefillin of sand,

And when I wind the straps around my arm,

They break apart, disintegrate and disperse

Like grains in the desert of routine.


When will I put on

Not the tefillin of Rashi,

Nor the tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam,

But rather

The tefillin of Rabbi Nachman

Tefillin of Shabbat?

Yakov Azriel



Revelatory Vistas


Religion having lost its cutting edge

in western realms, we need a new conceit

that realistically can put a wedge

between man’s arrogance and the elite

presumptions most religious realms afford.

We need to open up the roof that hides

galactic mysteries which checkerboard

the universe with cosmic regicides.

Perhaps their subjects need to be less smug

and with the ever after less secure.

We’d better probe past gilt-edged books that plug

up holes in reason’s rusty armature

and give up sailing from a spirit realm.

But then we need to stand fast at the helm.

—Frank De Canio




Ex Nihilo


In Cordova

Pure and refined

They created

 And re—created

Worlds of knowledges

Of fathers and mothers

Creating together


Hearts in love with G-d

Knowledges of worlds

Beyond good and evil

In need of darkness

In order to discern the light

Neither inside nor outside

Joined together

Empty and full in the study hall

The doing of the Universe

Through their extended vision


Born in the balance

mothers and fathers

higher and higher intelligences

mold themselves

By stages

From nothing—

A crown


Desire to create

Inside out

In order to receive


I sink deep inside

To that place of twinkling growth

And pull, gasp, push.

We Parents

Participate in the




into the emptiness

He poured the rules

created safe borders

to find peace

for the rumbling and tumbling

in the Hidden Place

yet to be revealed


I close my eyes

count the months

lean against the wall

that separates me from


in perfect belief

that all will remain as it was

when I awaken



I perceive

a world that exists

in a balance of pure light

 reality fractured by distinctions


In the paradox…


And Supernal reality

Both too much with too little light


Blur the differences

Between day and night

To co-exist in contradiction

Mindy Aber Barad





Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

‘with all your soul’ — Rabbi Akiva taught, even when your soul is being taken away” (The Talmud)


When Rabbi Akiva died a martyr’s death,

Tortured with iron combs as he was slain,

His soul untainted, his body raked by pain — 

What did he see as he gasped his final breath?

Chimneys with human smoke from the twentieth 

Century?  Fires from autos-da-fe in Spain?

How decades after Abel’s murder, Cain

Still schemed to slaughter all the sons of Seth?


Or as he said the Shma and died, did he

Behold the Temple rise above the sand

And dust of death, enveloped by an aura

For there, inside the Temple’s court, Rashi

And the Rambam, the Gra, the Besht, all stand,

Nodding as the Messiah teaches Torah.

Yakov Azriel





They left me in the forest.

My sister who is me and me

Got lost and lost.

I doubled myself because loneliness is

The real beast.

And in the thick of the forest no one speaks my language

(Out of the meagre mouth pours darkness.

From the clenched lap to the uttering lips).


Memory shrinks to a sentence:

The hunger was very severe (description)

I ate and ate and was not satisfied (cause)

They left me in the forest (effect)

They left me in the forest (repetition)

They left me in the forest (compulsive repetition).


I dream of a burning gingerbread house

Deep in the forest

And inside the house a broad woman

Whose eyes are tender.

Netalie Braun

translated by Esther Cameron with the author








Upon this day of darkness, Mother, may

Your image rise and shine in many minds

As the one metaphor of all our caring,

Sign of the being in which we must live.


Your image rises, shines in many minds.

Your light shines forth from one face to another.

Sign of the being in which we must live,

In your presence things fall into place.


Your light shines forth from one face to another.

Under your glance the ways of help appear.

In your presence things fall into place.

You organize our issues and concerns.


Under your glance the ways of help appear.

In your hands the things we do add up.

You organize our issues and concerns.

You are the map, the blueprint of our temple.


In your hands the things we do add up.

You are memory, storehouse of our good.

You are the map, the blueprint of our temple.

You are the meeting-place, the standing-ground.


You are memory, storehouse of our good.

You are mind’s integrity and purpose.

You are the meeting-place, the standing-ground,

Talisman of the freedom of the upright.


You are mind’s integrity and purpose.

You show us how to sift the laws and customs.

Talisman of the freedom of the upright,

Through you we know what we must hold inviolate.


You show us how to sift the laws and customs.

As the one metaphor of all our caring,

Soul of creation, our inviolate House,

Upon this day of darkness, Mother, rise.

—Esther Cameron






We were sitting in Sheshet's bar near the streets of the river

Mixing cocktails of being and nothingness in tall

Colorful glasses that almost shattered in our hands, drinking and swimming

From the mouth of the river to the end of the last sea, swimming and drinking

Not listening to the heavenly voice whispering: water, water.

Amichai Chasson

translated by Esther Cameron



You Hope to Be


You hope to be a discoverer

Of the spark of life which links

Person to person—

Soul to soul.


You hope to illuminate

This world of darkness,

Seeing past the warpedness

The woundedness

Weaving together

Neshama, neshama,

Until all neshamas are one.


Do not undertake this lightly

Lest you are the sole light

Left out of the great gathering,

Exiled from the utopia

You hope to create.

—Sara DeBeer