The Call: Everyday Magic, Day 1057

Why a sunflower? Because it’s what blooming right now, and it follows the call of the sun, which is loud and blaring too.

This morning, I gave a short talk at the Lawrence Jewish Community Congregation’s Rosh Hashana service on Shafarot, a calling to live with greater awareness and purpose, to examine what we need to change or release or summon our courage and strength to do, and to be more of a mensch. I ended up, no surprise given the subject matter and how I grapple with things, writing this poem.

The Call of the Shofar

It is not just the old call in the bones

and quiet of memory, the temple

falling, the exiles returning,

the temple rebuilding itself

through our hands and acts, the readying

of whatever clearing—right outside

our front door on a hot September afternoon

—welcomes the presence of what

we cannot name but names us.

The call of the shofar is a question,

staccato as cicadas or long-necked arching

into the sunset tonight. What is here?

It asks. Who? We might answer,

or just as misguided, Why?

But all such music—part animal,

part wind, part invisible, part visible

even if we miss it—is always

a conversation. Did you hear that?

Each inhalation a slip of sound

we finally grasp, Each exhalation a surrender

to how little we know, especially about

the confluences of our own voices so far

behind us, around old bends that shape

our hours now, so far ahead of us into

the chatter of babies or birds, the rush

of storms through the fields of the future,

the sound of the shofar running

or stilling itself like water,

like this river of life.

Lightning maybe. Thunder.

A flash of clear blue again. Quiet.

Then the call and response we are made for:

Let your old temples fall.

Raise your eyes. Return.

Listen. Listen Listen.