Entering the Days of Awe: A Rosh Hashana Poem: Everyday Magic, Day 626

Here is a poem I wrote last year to welcome us to Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, and the ten days between this holiday and Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. During the days of awe, it is our responsibility to make right any wrongs we sparks or participated in with others on the basis that praying to God only makes things right (at best) with God.

Entering the Days of Awe

Let us walk unfettered into these days

unfurling in the sun, wide fields of old grasses

bracketed by sunflowers and pebbles.

Let us step into the lapis sky that fastens itself

to the driveway, the sidewalk, the worn leaves

of dying summer under new leaf fall.

 

Let us give up the wasteful thinking,

the 2 a.m. anxieties over what cannot be changed,

the waking with a gasp. Let us stand in the morning,

the new chill of the air clearing the disgards of time,

fear, reaching too hard or not enough.

 

Let the wrongs be made right. Let forgiveness

overtake the words we hear and pray, the stories

we’ve made and tilted. Let us remember this dreaming song

from all our beloveds long gone or just over the bend,

each note engraved with lost lands, singing

of how good it is when we dwell together.

 

Let the peripheral vision in the days of awe show us

the world, the first seeing of the heart, the last pulse

of those we love who travel with us. Let the wind shake

the trees, the tattered leaves shine, the last butterflies

flash their orange, the first dark blue of night

open into a panorama of past and present light

on its way to us all.

 

Let the next breath we take inscribe us in the book of life.

Let the next breath you give welcome us home.

— Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

 

Throwing Our Cares On the River: Everyday Magic, Day 419

Susan with her grand dog

On Rosh Hashana a bunch of us from the Lawrence Jewish Community Congregation gathered at the river like we do every year for Taslich, a ritual to cast our sins on the water or — to release what no longer serves us to the forces that be. This is one of my favorite rituals all year, a time of tossing crumbs and handfuls of old bread into the Kaw River, letting go over what needs to move on.

What made it all the more special to me this year was walking from downtown Lawrence to the river with Forest and a friend facing health challenges. We wove through a neighborhood, pausing to admire stone rabbits in a yard or a multi-color painted lady of an old house between talking about what’s behind and what’s ahead. Once at the river, we circled the sculptures of Native people and a small deer, sat on the rocks by the water and admired the sky.

Don't mess with the women in black

Soon people from the LJCC joined us for a short service, standing on the banks of the river in a circle, prayerbooks in hands as we prayed in Hebrew and English for renewal and peace. Th

en it was time to throw bread on the water. “I’ve got a lot of sin. Come share it with me,” Sharyn told us, holding up a hunk of challah. I ended up with small pieces of challah, whole wheat and rye bread, tossing them onto the rushing river alongside others.

With one of my friends, we actually call out what we’re getting rid of: “Moments of not being kind enough!”, “All forms of self-hatred!”, “Not enough clear seeing!” and whatever else comes to mind. With another friend, we tossed hunks of old challah in silence. Standing with old friends and my youngest son, I threw a lot of bread on that river as the fresh breezes of a perfect autumn day cleansed us all.

Walking back downtown, down a trail hugging the edge of the water, with my friend and son, I felt new as the rivers surged way ahead of me, taking what cares I gave it far around the bend.

Entering the Days of Awe: A Poem for Rosh Hashana: Everyday Magic, Day 418

This is the poem I wrote yesterday and read today at services at the Lawrence Jewish Community Congregation. L’shanah tovah!

Entering the Days of Awe

 

Let us walk unfettered into these days

unfurling in the sun, wide fields of old grasses

bracketed by sunflowers and pebbles.

Let us step into the lapis sky that fastens itself

to the driveway, the sidewalk, the worn leaves

of dying summer under new leaf fall.

 

Let us give up the wasteful thinking,

the 2 a.m. anxieties over what cannot be changed,

the waking with a gasp. Let us stand in the morning,

the new chill of the air clearing the disgards of time,

fear, reaching too hard or not enough.

 

Let the wrongs be made right. Let forgiveness

overtake the words we hear and pray, the stories

we’ve made and tilted. Let us remember this dreaming song

from all our beloveds long gone or just over the bend,

each note engraved with lost lands, singing

of how good it is when we dwell together.

 

Let the peripheral vision in the days of awe show us

the world, the first seeing of the heart, the last pulse

of those we love who travel with us. Let the wind shake

the trees, the tattered leaves shine, the last butterflies

flash their orange, the first dark blue of night

open into a panorama of past and present light

on its way to us all.

 

Let the next breath we take inscribe us in the book of life.

Let the next breath you give welcome us home.