TORAH—by Barbara D. Holender

Barbara D. Holender

Even when you hold it in your arms
you have not grasped it.
Wrapped and turned in upon itself
the scroll says, Not yet.

Even when you take them into your eyes
you have not seen them; elegant
in their crowns the letters stand aloof.

Even when you taste them in your mouth
and roll them on your tongue
or bite the sharp unyielding strokes
they say, Not yet.

And when the sounds pour from your throat
and reach deep into your lungs for breath,
even then the words say, Not quite.

But when your heart knows its own hunger
and your mind is seized and shaken,
and in the narrow space between the lines
your soul builds its nest,

Now, says Torah, now
you begin to understand.

Published in Lifecycles, Vol.II
Jewish Lights Pub., 1997