images and holiness


The night grows long with speculation
old memories on a snake dance through my mind
each one shouting in jubilation, that I might remember them
from my perch behind this tiny desk,
a 40 watt candle standing by; we are awake…

Yes, we are awake, my candle and me
while the cat snoozes most peacefully.
She opens her eyes from time to time
and she gazes quite innocently
to check if I’m still doing nothing…
as if that’s what she expects from me

And will I atone or will I atune
those memories from long ago,
buried in leaves of pain, and redress,
and hiding… then exposed for a few minutes
and then hidden again
those old memories follow single file
with bowed heads, tasting bile,
followed in turn by singing newcomers
who’ve burst upon the scene
they all know their day will come
and once a year at least
they’ll climb the giant still again
their little hands clinging to his hair…
to his limbs, his nose, his ears
as if they could conquer the beast…

Yes, we are awake, my candle and me
while the cat snoozes most peacefully.
She opens her eyes from time to time
and she gazes quite innocently
to check if I’m still doing nothing…
for that’s what she expects from me

After passing through the corridor,
I sit with the three wise men on the backyard porch,
who’ve come to greet me from the next generation…
speaking of blessings that transcend all desperation
and like Sarah who laughed when blessed by the angels
who brought death and a rain of salt to Sodom,
I too am tempted to laugh at the thought
of a future still in store, offering redemption and glory
what need do we have for glory, I comment with a smile,
thinking, I was like that once, back there for awhile

Yes, we are awake, my candle and me
while the cat snoozes most peacefully.
She opens her eyes from time to time
and she gazes quite innocently
to check if I’m still doing nothing…
for that’s what she expects from me

Encircled by the folks outside, around our table
the wine for sanctity, and the olive oil to enable
the eternal flame which reminds us of the source of life
they say, there’s a new song in our old town
but that’s for tomorrow; today we’ve got time…
new flesh on old bones; it doesn’t make sense.
yet we watch the memories, form a snake, and begin to dance
while we drink the wine, and eat the bread
in the chamber of chambers the priest of love calls out the name
and the memories, quite cheerful, now that they’d been fed
commence with their dance… to the light of the holy flame

Yes, we are awake, my candle and me
while the cat snoozes most peacefully.
She opens her eyes from time to time
and she gazes quite innocently
to check if I’m still doing nothing…
for that’s what she expects from me

Okay, I’ll confess, just so’s we can move on
It’s really much better than what it seemed at the beginning
the horror has passed, the fear is long gone
and while we’re still human… we’ve grown weary of sinning
for the sake of the righteous, for the innocent and pure
let’s begin the work; that’s fallen to our hands and no other
our intentions are clear, and our strength, it is sure
as we rebuild this house for father and mother
holy, holy, holy… the trumpet has sounded, moving boulders
it seems as if on its own, it’s all coming together
our ancestors watching, from over our shoulders;
they shout: it’s the same as the old one, only much better


52 responses to “images and holiness

  1. This is very beautiful and moving, and I appreciate it very much.

  2. Again a very interesting post xxx

  3. A lovely poem Shimon, I will return to it I’m sure..

  4. Lovely Shimon. Have an easy fast.

  5. I shall need to spend a long time with this to get the most from it…
    Seems wondrous.Thank you,Shimon.I wasn’t expecting you to post so it was a lovely surprise to get notified just now.

  6. Shimon, I lost you … somewhere down the road … maybe because you have peace and I’m stil looking … love to read your posts though … thank you for being there … Love, cat.

  7. Wonderfully expressed… Thank you dear Shimon, Blessing and Happiness, love, nia

  8. My first reading offered deep peace; I want to enter and walk it again, very slowly. Thank you, Shimon, for your profound work and art, stringing just the right words into a guideline that leads to the deep places of our hearts.

    • Thank you very much, Catherine. Our sages used to tell us that a person is most sensitive to that which is precious to him, and so it fits, that you would find the peace. It is a great joy for me to share with you.

  9. Such ability is very rare, and I am in awe!

  10. when my father was about 65, about ten years after my mother passed away, he had a new girlfriend. she was his age but seemed much older. she had grown up in a wealthy family, never worked a day in her life, lived very relaxed and comfortably. she was pleasant but not interesting. shortly after, she gained symptoms of alzheimer’s. my father had to reteach her how to drink from a glass and put socks on before shoes. not long after, she also passed away.

    about the same time i had a professor in a college writing class who was a wizened old 85. a brilliant woman who could write, interpret, and critique poetry like nobody else. she looked like she was five minutes away from falling over, but her intellect was something to envy. she never hesitated to answer questions because she knew that questions beget more questions which beget learning and growing and – hopefully – improving, and i could only hope to keep my mind as sharp as hers was.

    shimon, although i don’t know your age, i do know that you’re not on the path to alzheimer’s.

    • It is a great riddle and a mystery to us, the life of a human being. No one knows how long he’ll live, and what diseases he’ll face or how we’ll die. That is part of the meditation, on the day of atonement. We acknowledge the many different possibilities, and it is hoped that this view will enable us to relate to life an nature with a little more seriousness, and to ourselves with a little less. Thank you for your comment, Rich.

  11. Such a beautiful piece, Shimon. So many layers. Each time I read it, I see more.

  12. That is really beautiful – very deep and soulful…. I would buy a book of your poems if you published one and treasure it….. and I’m not keen on poetry usually as you know!

  13. Well done and from your soul!

  14. Beautiful work, Shimon.

  15. Lovely. This has a soft, peaceful feel to it.

  16. Just… Beautiful!

  17. That is very beautiful, Shimon. Thanks so much for posting it.

    • Thank you too, Richard, for coming by and reading. It’s taken me quite a while to get to comments this time, because we’ve been living a very intense time of holidays… and are still in the middle of it even now. But I do appreciate comments very much, and it is a pleasure to share such things.

  18. Beautiful writing..

  19. What a beautiful haunting piece of writing. I enjoyed it so much I read it twice.xxxxx

    • Thank you so much, Dina. When writing, as you probably know, sometimes we open all the doors without even thinking about it… and it gets so personal that others can’t guess what you’re talking about. I’m happy that you were able to enjoy this poem.

  20. It was interesting to see the horror of the memories replaced by a peaceful feeling as the poem came to it’s end. I’ve read it twice now and just in awe Shimon, both of your writing talent and your wisdom x annie

  21. Thank you for your very moving words, Shimon…so intimate.

  22. I have missed your beautiful writing. So full of richness and depth.x

  23. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    I’ve only just today discovered all your categories, Shimon. Funny that!

    Being a human, trying to glean purpose in existence, this is the riddle that won’t rhyme for me. I feel really unsatisfied in purpose and meaning.

    Love your writing.

    • I’m very glad that my writing speaks to you, Noeleen… and that you found my categories too. When I discovered your blog, I was sorry that we couldn’t meet and just talk together about life, because I could understand that you’d had a hard time starting out in this life, and it touched me. But living at different ends of the world, we’re a bit limited in communication. Still, let me say this… I know you’ve learned some martial arts… and I think you’ve worked with yoga at times… these are good ways to learn the self discipline needed to take control of your own fate… and it’s never too late. My best wishes to you always.

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