It is mid-winter now.
Last week the Almond tree was still asleep
And suddenly five days later I saw her.
This beautiful princess in her flowered dress.
Glittering pearls in the sun
stitched with white and pink beads
smiling to the sky, happy in the rain
and calling to all the other trees
to come and join her in dance.
Sharona Langerman is an Israeli artist and photographer and lives in Kiryat Motzkin
During times of challenge I choose to be like a tree in a windstorm, with its roots buried deep within the soil. Swaying from side to side, its branches stretched outward embracing whatever comes. Its leaves jingling like bells, sweetly saying “I am okay, I am okay.”
During times of challenge I choose not to be like a piece of debris in a windstorm, being whipped up into a vortex, spinning wildly with no direction or tossed from here to there with no roots, no safe place.
I choose to be a tree.
All that glass
shattered one long ago November night,
can never ever be swept away.
Splinters are pushing into the light of day,
still sharp on all sides.
When sunshine hits these broken pieces,
millions of yahrzeit lights illumine the loss,
while fragments of the rainbow flicker with hope
and the promise of Tikkun Olam.
*Gertrud Lind died on June 15, 2015.
Her poem was published in The Jewish Pluralist last year.
Gertrud’s life was marked by courage, self-determination, and social commitment.
She is always in our hearts. May Her Memory Be Of Blessing
I came to America with black and white and yellow photographs
rolled in oriental rugs.
Between the pages of the Exodus and inside the Haggadah
I saved the journey of my wandering ancestors.
They were refugees who crossed borders,
holding precious children and whispering hope.
In America I keep asking my ancestors,
“How did you survive when they expelled you from Spain?”
“Tell me how you escaped from Portugal?”
“Where was the shelter for religious tolerance in Amsterdam?”
“Is it still there next to the house of Anne Frank?”
“Did you write down the names of the Christian families
who saved our little cousins in the Holocaust?”
A special person
Who made life more worth living
Your words were your thoughts
That lightened our pages
So lucky were we to know
Your generous and lifeful glow
Because you loved life
And we love you
Goodbye, and not
We will mourn for you
By living life all the more
*This poem replaces a former version that had some technical problems
Jacob’s angels had direction
they went up, they went down
they were disciplined
they walked the ladder
Mine are irrational
Caught on my pear tree there
glittering in the breeze
they toy with the willful sun
the errant leaf
Some say Jacob’s angels
mirrored his irresolute soul
Tell me, you who strung
those mirrors on my tree
did you intend a metaphor
Life, the rabbi said, is the shadow
of a bird in flight. The bird flies away,
the bird is gone, the shadow is gone.
Mother, wings spread, you wait,
the greeting grown stale upon your lips.
Death does not oblige.
There’s nothing left of me, you wail,
it’s all gone, I’m nothing.
No, I say, surprising both of us,
it’s all here, in me.
At once your whole life’s energy
informs my blood, that woman bond.
How much I bear of you who bore me,
standing in the shadow of your flight,
imprinted with your bright trajectory.
The Palm Tree
FIfty years later they found him
murdered, old soldier-spy–
Bedouins pointed out the “Jew’s grave”
under a tall palm, his skeleton
entwined with its roots, sprung
from the dates in his pocket.
I always thought
I’d meet world’s end
with a song from a high branch.
Oh Lord, let my heart take root,
let my bones arch upward,
let small birds sing in me.