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Poems about Expression

Heavy Joy

It was a heavy joy
That overtook me
Took my voice away
Stilled the noise
And no more was to be heard
For quite a time
I sat rocking
Until the room emptied
Until I was alone
And quite occupied
With the essence
Of things.
Can a mind be so full
It stops
In shock?

It was a heavy joy
This morning
That kept me bound to myself.

Odd, joy usually frees
I worried afterwards that it wasn’t joy at all
But a peak into responsibility
Like a brief flash of color through the fingers of a
Clenched fist
And an inkling there is more to be seen.

I am at the cusp of things.
They are coming.
My father told me I am in an open field,
vast and un-cut by desire-paths
to walk forward? Run?
Or sit. And wait?
I vacillate between options and make myself dizzy.

It was a heavy joy
Because I understood
That my essence is bound to His.
It was too deep to know.
It just is.
It was a heavy joy because I could not know it.
And I sensed it at the periphery
And I begged for it to enter me.
To burst open inside me and fill and fill and pour and rage
But my stiff, plodding brain was too base, too coarse
And it shielded me from the joy.

I felt that joy once.
Light as sunbeams, air dust motes, floating winds, cream puff,
It was everything.
I remember a smile pouring off my face, cheeks fell away in joy-tears, cascading into rivers and I was under the waterfall of that joy and
I panicked.
I jolted my ego out of that place
In the fear I would never come back. Because how to be in the face of that joy? To be at all? I ran out onto the balcony and little plastic streamers fluttered and laughter slipped from my mouth because I knew it was all from that joy
I turned and saw a girl and her face was shining. And by night time it was a memory.

Just a memory.

A heavy joy is not so bad when I can carry it into the night.

I've Been Collecting Fallen Prayers

I’ve been collecting
falling prayers
left unanswered
hanging down
long time ago
crushed to the ground

I’ve been protecting
you inside My sleeve
little ones
high off the mounds

I’ve been lifting
scattered bones
crushed by evil
shadows reveal
My promise is sealed

My lonesome dead
mangled roots
bloody veins
broken stems

I’ve been gathering
parts apart
you are My pieces
I am your heart

My eyes covered
your gentle hands
that night
the air about you
became unclean
dark tore it down
scorched My sacred dream

I promised to lift
your faces down
I was with you
hands gripping
back of your heads
hair torn
in anguish I said

Don’t mock Me
block Me
conceal Me
My garden needs

Old Roots

In an old dream
My garden clings
to the scattered leaves
whose colors almost faded
their intensity dims
in the memory of shame

But your eyes stayed open
you must have seen
your own glory
just before
the indistinguishable
became clear

My petrified Eden
they will restore and replant
the buried return to rebuild
from your roots our fruits
we grow in a circle
to surround the Temple

Poems about Life Struggles

The Child Within

Marveling at simplicity
Realizing divinity
A child is alive,
Within, she does hide,

Though darkness beckons
And cynicism threatens
Our inner child calls
To disregard it all.

In spite of the pressures,
Challenges and stressors
Our inner child pleads
Take care of me, please.

Hearken to the voice within,
Listen to your whims
Dive in and explore
To life there is more.

Deep inside, a child prays
Awaiting better days
A hope for tomorrow
Life without sorrow

Peace and serenity
Health and prosperity
A sense of belonging
Hopeful longing

And although harsh winds blow
On must always know:
Our inner child is there
Guiding us, until we prevail.


I watched my aunt.
She saw me staring.
The etchings on the soft underside of her forearm were as black as the dye she raised to her head.
When she moved her arm, the symbols moved with her.
I sat at a distance
Even then I knew.
That some fearsome secret resided there, in her arm, on her arm.
This mark on her limb was not native born.
Some foreign, devilish, raging power, some demon, had placed it there.
Some invader. Some force.
Her tattoo was more somber, more intense, denser than those of my other relatives.
Their images were fainter, more green than black.
Others had figures so uniform they looked as if they had been printed.
Evidence of a prideful art.
Others, wiggled, straggled.
Ended hurriedly as if another were waiting.
Though not old, she was white-haired. Toothless.
She would laugh as I watched in horror as she removed her strange teeth.
The characters on my aunt’s arm emboldened her.
As if they were an insignia.
A rank.
An honorific.
I survived.
I am here.
I live.

You Cradled Death

Dear Brother,

You cradled death
in your arms
where there should have been life.

You heard silence
in the room
where there should have been cries.

You saw stillness
in the body
where there should have been kicking

You tasted fear
in your mouth
where there should have been giggling

You smelled pity
in the hearts
where there should have been joy

Yes, you cradled death
in your arms
and you yourself are but a boy.

I wonder of the purpose
of all your hurt and pain
I can’t imagine how your loss
could be outweighed by a gain

they say that only men of great
get tested to their core
the more respect He has for you
the more He’ll make you sore

but words of rank are not enough
when I look you in the eye
when all I want for you, dear brother
is to hear your baby’s cry

I can’t change the moment
when death was born that awful day
but if I change myself, I know
I can bring a better day

a day when good and light will shine
and all things will be better
and in your arms
you will cradle life

and her life will shine forever

Poems about Parenting

Rolling Silver Circles

"My father said: In Chassidus the 'beginning is wedged into the end and the end is wedged into the beginning.' This is the state of igulim, "circles," without beginning or end. Nonetheless, order and system are crucial..." (Hayom Yom, 7 Tamuz)

Just when I semi-exhale
(And think:
Traveling's a breeze
When your youngest is six)
She stops - mid Pearson airport rush - and slides six silver coins
Into the shimmering gauze bag
She insisted on packing

(Even though I said‎:
Something so tiny can get lost
And she retorted:
I'll watch it carefully)

The coins roll out of the bag
By one
By one
By one
By one
By one

Circling our feet
There's a coin-sized hole in the bag
(perfect for this very second)

‎ Just as I say:
The bag is ripped
Let's put the coins in your pocket instead
She decides ‎to collect each coin
One by one (times six)
To see if the bag decided to unrip itself
(it hasn't)

The coins roll out again…
She wants to try once more
Use a different side of the bag
I say
(gravity works in Canada too)

We wind our way to a customs officer
Purpose of our trip?
"A patience journey"
(my thought)

Because ‎where does it say
That parenting is ‎a guaranteed picnic
When she's merely seventy two months old‎?

No question, it's a party
Celebrated daily
The hours like rolling silver circles


I love her and
Wash sheets for
Her perfect soft bed
Pile blankets on
Her small body when
She is sleeping but

Not too many, feed
Her spoons of mashed
Food and vitamins
Bring her close for warmth
Wipe her small mouth
Its amazing smile

Her little hands
Learning to clap, I am
Ecstatic and silly, it
Does not even matter
When she reaches
Incessantly to be

Lifted from her bed
Spits up, turns her head,
Tries jumping from her
High chair or wriggles away
Still I am shocked when
At some point

I cry out
A deep primordial cry
- I beneath this I -
Efforts falling heavy
On tired shoulders

In a single breath
Steps in some One
More patient
More loving than I.