We gather here to see
faces from which we need not hide our face,
to hear the sound of honest speech, to share
what dreams have etched upon the sleeping brain,
what the still voice has said, when heavy hours
plunged us to regions of the mind and life
not mentioned in the marketplace: to find
and match the threads of common destinies,
designs grimed over by our thoughtless life –
A sanctuary for the common mind
we seek. Not to compete, but to compare
what we have seen and learned, and to look back
from here upon that world where tangled minds
create the problems they attempt to solve
by doubting one another, doubting love,
the wise imagination, and the word.
For, looking back from here upon that world,
perhaps ways will appear to us, which when
we only struggled in it, did not take
counsel of kindred minds, lay undiscovered;
perhaps, reflecting on the Babeled speech
of various disciplines that make careers,
we shall find out some speech by which to address
each sector of the world’s fragmented truth
and bring news of the whole to every part.
We say the mind, once whole, can mend the world.
To mend the mind, that is the task we set.
How many years? How many lives? We do not know;
but each shall bring a thread.
Again and Again
All these years
and still you do not know what’s up
and what is down
what’s fat or lean
and whether infatuation can grow
to love or the other way round
How could you lose so many things
on roads you’ve taken:
friends and loves
edges of dreams
and those you left untouched?
And how can it possibly be –
on all the paths you passed –
you could not from your fathers see
how to enfold the roots of the tree
You said you want to plant –
Again and again
(For Aliza, Danieli, and Shai)
The children of Israel
Who had never seen snow were told
Something strange would be coming.
We described it as best we could
Again and again, each time with more anticipation.
But it was hard to imagine, something so
Indescribable, impossible, and wonderfully weird.
As if the sky were a giant sifter
Raining flour or talcum powder.
That would transform their world
Into something completely different.
Reluctantly they fell into that oblivion of sleep
For fear the promise they were given
Of a world turning white
But heaven had not the heart to disappoint them
So all that night
The soundless stuff of snow
Fell on every street, gate and spire
And heaps of it piled on every corner
And branch and stone
And tile for miles and miles
Till every surface was crowned with
Something that was fluffy and soft
Cold and light.
And that morning the children of Israel
Ran to the windows, in disbelief
And rushed out with screams of delight.
They touched it and smelled it
And they tasted it, and rolled about in it
For they knew it was very, very good.
They were in heaven, knowing
They could live on snow for the time being
Because snow might not happen again,
However much they might yearn for it
This something that was so delicious
And they were so satisfied,
They had no need of anything else.