Tuesday, May 29, 2007

For my sister; from my sister

Deer wunz
          Du not say, "We hav loss the way."
          But neether say, "It iz shorlee knowen."

My Rizel Frum a Narro Plase
               For my sister, Rizel Laya

It happend wuns, Rabbiy Yosee wuz wokking
Ammung the ruwenz ov the Tempel, the nashenz.
The saekred stoenz wer a sarro dissarray,
The pure morter intu krumbelz and lime.

Pressing between the falen piller
A witen dust on hiz tungz and breechez,
Thare kumz he intu a dirj, a breth
Ov wind, a Dotter ov a Vois*, a rushing.
                         * In Hebrew: “But Koel,”
                         where Koel is “voice”
                         and But is “daughter/feminine.”
                         The phrase is usually translated
                         “Divine Voice.”

And she sed:
     “I hu am dowting; unwerthee, unwerthee!
     “No mor may I enter in dwelling the Lor.
     “I must liv my sarro, an unspeken exxile;
     “No mor may I heer the salmz on my hart.

     “Silens, silens, wut a punnish yu ar!
          “Tu understand no mor the ling ov my Soel*!”
                         * Utherz say: yewth

Then Reb Yosee sat down on the shardz and ponderd,
Tu heer this vois a rizel in hiz Soel,
Him huze hole life a devvoten tu the ling
In hiz Soel, hu kan heer her praerz so klare.

Then this faent breez, this wind breth, Reb Yosee:
     “O Sister ov a Vois, so dowtful, dowtful,
     “Huze iyz ar blerring in this Tempel a Ruwenz,
     “Huze vois iz chok ov the dust all a werl,
     “Lissen, o lissen. Wut ar theze werdz
     “If not a brij? Take wun mor step
     “Bak tu yur Soel, tu yur waeten joy.
     “Weeping, weeping. Return frum yur exxile.
     “Ammung the Ruwenz, Sister Vois, arize!”

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Slow to drink, but deeply

I confess, this one always makes me smile. With thanx to Louis, Reb Arya Zev, who helps me unravel myselves.

Sweet Wotterz
               "The unholy surrounds the holy"
               -- Rebbe Nachman
Thare iz a pool ov wotter
And evree day I see it,
Sitting still and kalm
Reflekting the shaddoez and liets.

I see it and it kallz tu me:
     "Kum dreenk. Defer
     "Frum yur goingz a duingz.
     "This Momen ammung mennee momen,
     "Take a sip and reflek."

A kleer pool in a kleering.
Wy du I feel such dout?
Wy du I hezzatate tu go
Tu take the steps, tu neel,
Tu kup my hand and dip it in?

Thare iz a well, deep and silent.
If yu wisper down, nuthing reternz;
If yu speek, garbeld sowndz will ekko;
If yu drop a rok, yu heer but a splash.

A deep well, not far awway.
Wy duz it draw me
Tu lowwer a bukket, tu werk the pullee?
Wy du I not draw frum it?

Iz thare not a tumarro an marro?
Hav I not drunk mennee time?
Iz it not kleen and kleer and refressing?
Iz thare a feer or a lak ov therst?

Thare iz a gergelling brouk, not far...
A path I kno well; I see it now,
That leedz ammung the russelling boushez.
I louk at my woch and I tern...

Evree path arrownd me overgrowen,
Wen Reb Arya Zev, sent by Reb Yosee
Kumz frum behiend and wochez me awile.
Then he asks, "Du yu theenk the wotter iz safe?"

     "This iz not just wotter
     "And yu ar no littel sipper.
     "This iz a likker that taerz yur Seel,
     "And that iz a mikveh intu Deth-Staets.

     "Wen did yu last dans naked down the street,
     "Or ly konvulsen yur oen vommet?
     "Ar yu reddee tu sakrafise yur luv wun, Izak
     "Or tu maek yur bed in a lyon den?"

Then Reb Arya smielz hiz smielz, and askt,
"How ar theengz?" and befor I waested
Hiz time, he left; and I, I just marvelld.
     Thare iz a pool, dellereyen sweet...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Our 'reason' is a bucketful of one-dimensional correspondences

This, from my collection, Ammung the Ruwenz ov the Tempel, I Herd...

Offeringz Thru the Nite

And the Lor enterd intu Proffets,
Frum Moesheh tu Ezra,
Tu emmerj a Torra thru them.

And Uddoniy askt them,
     "Yu hu kry ekstattek weepingz
     "In Owwer speretchuwel kohabbettate:
     "How will the chieldz rememmer This Moment,
     "And how will the knowen My Prezens be sustaend?
     "In the day wen My rezen iz unfathem.
          "The paganz will hak at the branchen ov my Tree.
          "Thay will wieldlee tare at its illumennaten leevz,
          "And bern owt the nests in its swaying arberz,
          "And the dellakkut frute thay will kast in the street
          "Tu krush with the heel ov thaer pawlish boots.
          "And the faent iyz pepel will refuze tu see.
          "Thay will fill thaer iyz with delluezhen and mith,
          "And no mor deziyer the taest ov trueth.

     "And thus My riten
     "Until yu understand:
          "The offer on its piyer on the Alter all nite
          "Until the morning the fiyer on the Alter keep berning.*
                    * Viyeekra/Leviticus 6

     "If yu keep the fiyer berning all nite
     "Then My absens will kum tu an end.
     "If not, tu hume and tu wut will I retern?
     "Hu iz slaying the bullz?
     "Hu iz laying a hart-wept peese on the flamen?"

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thinking of David van Dusen and broken worlds

In Zohar, the author-prophets talk about the Divine Light shining so brightly, so powerfully, that it shatters the vessels intended to contain it. (A Divine engineering flaw? A flawed Kabbalistic metaphor?) In any case, the result is that we, in the 8th day now of creation/creating, are mandated (and womandated) to carry on the process of creating, while the Divine withdraws and observes our work (avodah). The Gnostics, who see the Biblical "God" as evil, would translate "avodah" here as "slavery." More traditional readers of Bible would translate it "holy work."

Meddattaten a Braken Vessel

We ar the 8th day, werld kreyatenz,
Extenden the Divvine Prezzens
Deeper intu matter, expanderz ov time.
Intu the rejenz still void,
Intu the klowdee werldz arrownd Addom,
Dens mist ov tohu and vohu,* raenz a Divine Life.
               * see Genesis 1:2

Kan it be? This! Godz werl,
Konshents hewn ov Uddoniy?
Kan thare be rejenz a remoov frum lite?

We ar the 8th day, dessenden with life,
Addomz upspringz: the Devoraz, the Ruets.
A long kerv ov departen, now reternz.
Ternd owwer baks on kulcher ov konker,
On the krude koedz and hewmen sakraffise.
Attanenz tu preesthoud, we unvois the rebbel seel
Frum Nebbakh-kannezzer tu Soddee Jehod.

Kan thare be pepelz remoovd frum Lite?
Hewman life unyoekt frum Uddoniy?
Kan thare be konshents withowt a Kawz?
It kannot be!

But wut ov them, the hatrenz and vilen?
Them ov kersen, thaer faeth a wor?
Thay ar not seelz soen ov evel.
Thay remoov the Lite frum themsellz.