אליהו הנבי (Eliyahu HaNavi)

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Frightened, I flee
For my life,
Dismissing my manservant,
Escaping into the wilderness
Where our fathers wandered
In the presence of God.

Settling under a juniper bush
I pray the Lord take my life.
Am I a righteous Enoch
That I should ascend to Heaven
While I still breathe
And not join my fathers
As dust returns to dust?

I am Noah,
Blameless in my generation,
Though my generation
Is a vile pit of sin.
There will be no flood
To drown the wicked,
And no Ark
To rescue me.

In the night
My prayers are answered,
But its not the answer
I wished for.
A messenger gives me
A hot meal
And directions.

I journey into the past
In the time it takes
To drown a world,
I arrive at the plane
Where the golden idol
Was raised,
And holy blood was spilt.
I climb the mountain
Where the Law took form,
Sit in a cave and wait,
Alone,
Isolated by my faith.

In the morning,
Beckoned by my Liege,
I come into the daylight,
Feel the wind in my hair,
Feel the mountain move
Beneath my feet,
And feel the heat of fire
On my face.
A still small voice
Whispers in my ear.

I must return home.

7/9/03 – 11/5/18

Note:
אליהו הנבי (Eliyahu HaNavi) is pronounced “El-ee-yahoo Ha Na-Vee” and is usually translated into English as “Elijah, The Prophet”

Image is Elijah in the Desert by Washington Allston. Found at WikiMeia Commons.

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Under the Sídhe

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Outside the cities
Under the cairn covered
Hollow hills of Eire,
The Aes Sídhe sit
In mansions bigger
Than the hills
They’re built under.

Driven underground
By the sons of Mil,
As they took the island
From distant cousins.
Naming their new home
In honor of the enemy
They worshiped
Among the oak groves.

Driven underground,
But not the dark damp
Underground of worms, bugs,
And corpses.
Nor the dark black
Caverns of Twerg miners.
Not even the cozy comfort
Of a well furnished
Hobbit hole.
Rather, underground:
Otherside of everywhere,
Inside of the outside,
Parallel to our perception,
Adjacent to reality,
An island covered
In apple trees.

Driven underground
By the followers of
A jealous foreign god,
Who’d brook no rivals.
An enemy more
Cunning and subtle
Than any Formorian,
An incursion not recorded
In the Book of Invasions,
Which was redacted
By the victors.

Driven underground
And diminished
In substance and size,
Demoted
From Gods
To kings,
From physical
Forces of nature
To ephemeral,
Transparent
Fairies and sprites,
Fallen angels
Cast out of the light.
Lucky little leprechauns
Hording pots of gold
At the rainbow’s end,
Or a rainbow of marshmallows
And sugar filled
Cereal bowls
For your breakfast table.

Outside,
Under the hollow hills of Eire.
The Aes Sídhe sit
And wait.

7/28-8/3/18

Note:
Sídhe is pronounced “shee”

Milton

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Blind blank verse poet, serving God not kings,
Whose hero deemed it better to rule Hell
Than live and serve in Heaven under God,
The ultimate king ruling everything.
Tempting Eve and Adam with rebelling
Against the highest authority: God,
To eat and know the difference between
Good and evil and be able to choose
Which path to walk and who they wish to serve
Using reason and their God-given brains,
Not forced down a path by threats, guilt, and fear.
Was it evil pride that led to freedom,
Or a righteous revolt among Angels?
Did you have sympathy for the Fallen,
Having endorsed the killing of a king?
Or did God have the divine right to rule
That the steward Charles was sorely lacking?
Was old Blake right about you all the time,
A true poet and member of Satan’s
Party without ever even knowing?

3/28/18

 

Illustration is Watercolor Illustration to Milton’s Paradise Lost by William Blake. Found on Wikimedia Commons.

Perspective

“Thou art a little soul bearing about a corpse, as Epictetus used to say”
– Marcus Aurelius, translated by George Long

Life is short;
The Universe is forever:
An ocean swallowing
The teardrops of human existence,
Born a thousand eons
Before our earliest ancestors
Had drug themselves from
The primordial ooze.
So long ago that
Only God was there
To witness the blessed event.
Though, perhaps, even He
Is too young to recall the day.

A dozen millennia after
Our great-great-grandchildren
Have become dust
Blown on the solar winds,
It will still be here,
Waiting patiently
For its appointment with Death
At the other end of Eternity.

19 July 1999

Brahma

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Lord Brahma, self-born,
Blooming forth from a holy lotus
Rooted in Vishnu’s navel.
Four faceted face,
Looking like a Keruv of Yahweh,
Each mouth composing a Veda.
A form of the formless Brahman,
The only true reality.
Bringing order and form
To the primordial elements,
Shaping all the senses know,
Sprung from the only thing worth knowing,
First third of the tripartite Trimūrti,
Creating as Vishnu preserves and
Shiva destroys and regenerates.
A brief shining image in a short dream
Nested in the mind of eternity.

9/2/17

Pronunciations and Notes:

Brahma = Brah-mah, from Sanskrit ब्रह्मा

Vishnu = Vish-noo, from Sanskrit विष्णु

Keruv = Kh-roov, from Hebrew כְּרוּב‎‎. From where we get the word Cherub. An order of Angels which are described in the book of Ezekiel as having a number of wing pairs, and four faces: that of a lion, an ox, a human, and an eagle. Their legs were straight, the soles of their feet like the hooves of a bull, gleaming like polished brass.

Yahweh = From the Hebrew יהוה. Hypothetical pronunciation of the name of God as given in the Hebrew Bible. Since, by tradition, the divine name is never pronounced in Judaism—being substituted with the word “adonai” (אדני, “my Lord”)–when reading the Bible aloud, nobody is 100% certain how it was originally pronounced.

Veda = Vay-da, from Sanskrit वेद The oldest scriptures in Hinduism.

Brahman = Brah-mahn. From Sanskrit ब्रह्मन्

Trimūrti = Tri-moor-te. From Sanskrit त्रिमूर्ति

Shiva = Shiv-ah. From Sanskrit शिव

Image is a painting by Ramanarayanadatta Sastri, which depicts Brahma emerging from a lotus risen from Vishnu’s navel while he rests on the serpent Shesha.

Angelic (a Tanka)

Angelic and pure
A direct current to God
Divine by nature
But don’t ever forget that
The Devil was an angel.

2/7/17

This poem is my response to Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Challenge #20 – “Angel & Devil”

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Walking After Midnight

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I go walking after midnight
Stepping softly while the seminary sleeps.
Haunting Hogwarts halls alone
With the ghost of Rabbi Heschel
Standing in stocking feet.

Hank Williams echos in my head
As the quiet reverberates through
The sanctuary of the empty shul.
The silence is deafening.
No bushes are burning.
Am I here all alone?

I came here looking for something,
For meaning, for direction,
The comfort of tradition, rituals, structure and law.
And truth.
I came here looking for truth.

2/6/17

Notes:
“Shul” is pronounced “shool” and is the Yiddish term for a Synagogue.

The image at the top of this post is the logo of the Jewish Theological Seminary in NYC and is meant to represent the burning bush that God spoke to Moses through in the book of Exodus.

Johnny Cash

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A voice God would speak with from a burning bush.
A man not consumed by the ring of fire,
Hurt yet healed, wearing a black badge for the poor and beaten down,
Champion of the voiceless with the Beatitudes tattooed on his heart,
Like a Hebrew prophet filled with inspiration, visions and voices,
Waiting for the man to come around,
Carrying nothing
But the thought of You.

26 February 2005/16-17 December 2016

Three Strikes

For Michael Thomas Cunningham (1967-2005)

When you took ill
I prayed for you.
Every day I prayed.
Three times a day:
Morning, noon and night
I begged for God’s mercy;
Begged for a miracle

But the time for prayer is passed
Mourning is now here.
Enriched by your memory,
Wounded by your absence.
Nothing will bring you back,
Your miracles are spent.

The path you walk
I will one day follow,
But you can never follow it
Back to me.

2005

Summer of a Doormouse: On the Beach (a prose fragment)

The following fragment was written for my Summer of a Doormouse project. I wasn’t quite sure where it would be placed in relation to the rest of the narrative, though the scene is mentioned in passing in the draft of Chapter II I posted on this blog as one of Jack’s reaccuring dreams, though the nature and relative reality of these dreams is not addressed within the chapters that have been written and posted thus far.

All my life everything seemed to be building up to something. Something special. Something that I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to participate in. I had been expecting something on the order of Christ’s passion, or at the very least something similar to what had happened to Kilgore Trout in Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions. In the end it all seems somewhat anti-climatic. Nothing happened. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe life has no point to it after all. Continue reading