Sunday, August 15, 2021

Earth Etude for Elul 8 - Not What I Want

by Rabbi Benjamin Weiner

no longer uncover 
in the outer world 
to sink into my bones.

When the baby
comes in, I hold
her with vague 
arms, and stroke
the softness of
her skin, and run
my fingers through
her red-black hair
like a comb, and 
say a little prayer 
in my head to
ward away the
pleasure that will
only hurt me
in the end.

I go downstairs
and, for a brief
moment, cower in
the beauty of my
bursting son, then
outside to a grey
rainless sky,
the garden in bloom,
no longer by divine
right, but accident,
the maple, tall
and proud like
a grandfather who
doesn’t know
he’s dying, and—

when it isn’t the panic,
it's just the dull
relentless ache
of nothing certain
but mortal change, 
and things not being 
what I want.

Benjamin Weiner is the spiritual leader of the Jewish Community of Amherst.  He lives with his wife and two children on their three-acre homestead farm in Western Massachusetts.

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