Two Poems–by Barbara D. Holender


God is good; He’s made me a grandmother.
Live and be well, little man, grow big, grow strong.
Just when I think I’m too weary to bother
and too old to start over, you come along.

Such pleasure in the house! Who would have thought
that widow harvest Boaz gathered in
was ripe for joy, or that your little heart
could make my bitter blood run sweet again.

You’re a blessed miracle–ask your mommy,
singing to herself like a nesting bird.
When my friends say a son’s born to Naomi
she smiles at me and never says a word.

But I tell them Naomi’s given birth
to a daughter in her old age–my Ruth.


God is good.

My mother told me,
Marry a Jewish boy, Ruthie,
they take care of their women–
you’ll never work a day.
Just watch out for your mother-in-law.

I converted, of course. Converted?
I was a stranger to myself.
Naomi never said much
but often she’d just happen to be doing
the very things I’d be wondering about.

God is good, she’d say, rain or shine
no matter what. So when my husband died
I thought I’d brought evil into the house.
Her kindness only made things worse.
Go home, darling, she said,
start over, you’re young, you’ll forget.

Home? Where’s home?
The only thing familiar in my life
was this little mama-le
starting off alone to pick up the pieces
back in Bethlehem. How could I leave her?

It wasn’t exactly the life
I thought I’d chosen.
How the girls in Moab would have laughed
to see me grubbing in the field
where Boaz found me.

Could I know Naomi’d gone to him?
Boaz, you lucky olf bachelor, she said,
God is good; He’s sent you
a nice Jewish girl.