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“Repenting Peter” (El Greco) …. and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt


This may be one of our finest collections yet, poetry written and/or shared in response to Ecce Panis [Take This Bread], Wednesday Writing Prompt, December 6, “What event or experience or time in your life (doesn’t have to be associated with religion) birthed for you the freedom to explore beyond the boundaries set for you?” These poets have certainly risen to the occasion. Much thanks to  Denise DeVries, Paul Brookes, Mike Stone, bogpan (Bozhidar Pangelov), Gary W. Bowles and Sonja Benskin Mesher.

Join THE NEXT WRITING PROMPT, JANUARY 3, 2018. Once I put The BeZine to bed on the 15th, I’ll be offline for family time and taking a rest until January 3. Many blessings for joy in this season that is sacred to so many and for your peace of heart in the new year.

Thank you for your support, kind comments and sharing through The Poet by Day site this past year. In a world gone mad, you are the hope, the grace, and the voices of sanity. Poetry is the flagpole around which we gather in compassion and acceptance.  You are valued.

All are welcome to come out to play for these writing prompts no matter the stage of your poetry career: beginning, emerging or pro.  It’s about sharing and friendship, discretion not judgement.


A Town Where Nothing Ever Happens

I lived in a small landlocked town
and would probably never go anywhere.
My parents rejected the foreign
language teacher’s offered lessons.
They didn’t like the looks of him.
Something could happen…
Years later, I find myself
in Central America, in a town
where nothing ever happens,
except me, trying to speak Spanish.
In the market, the black
head of a calf stares up at me.
A tiny tiny old woman in
native dress embraces me
and kisses my hand, speaking
a language I’ve never heard before.
Beggars wait on cathedral steps
for the priest to finish asking God
in his North American accent,
“Quita los pecados del mundo.
Danos paz.” The children want
to know why I am crying.

© 2017, Denise Aileen DeVries (Bilocalalia)


Path Of Seeds

O, Lady of the breath,
selfish and in control

you decide the path of seeds
you carry and drop in my grove.

Landscape architect place
an acorn here, a daisy here,
chestnut over there. No negotiation.

Blow my intricate clocks into half spheres,
my Sycamore immigrants spin
through your gusts.

Shoot moss into these worn mortared walls.
Broadcast grass between these carefully
laid pavements.

With you I have no choice
you deliver into me
whatever you hold.

I welcome your unexpected gifts

© 2017, Paul Brookes   (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

O, Lady Of The Breath (Six Vacanas)

1. You Rise

from my forest and leave
out of the gob and earth falls.

It shivers renewed,

welcomes a similar you
into my gob.

You excite my spring buds,
allow the earth to rise, again.

2. Can’t Let

you stay long in the dark,
or the earth will rot.

I can’t let you out for long,
or the earth will rot.

Let’s follow this pattern.
I’ll briefly allow you into my dark wood,

But please don’t take woodsmoke, car fumes,
coal dust, iron filings, water in with you,

else I’ll hack you out. These companions
quicken the rot.

3. Help With The

tasting snake in my cave
form the words I need to say.

Take my words out into air
loud enough for others to hear.

Please don’t say you are weak
and can’t carry such a weight.

Please don’t say I failed to welcome
enough of you into the forest.

4. My Dad Let You

in with pungent watercolours on his back,
stink of Clwyd cowpats and fresh mountain air,

but when he scraped boilers you secretly
took into his forest asbestosis strands

that speed his rot and ruin. I can’t understand
your thought in all of this

5. My Sister Threw You

out over her steering wheel,
her forest crushed by molded plastic.

She tried to welcome you back
but the wood was gone,

so you gust over her grave
under an overseeing tree.

O, my lady of the breath.
I welcome your coming and going.

6. Your Cheyne Stokes

delay before my unconscious Nanna
let you in.

I waited a minute, a 10-20
second episode of
stopped breath

suddenly her welcome
let you in

deeper and again
deeper in and out.

then delay

then delay

then delay

her welcome of you
and delay I watched seven days

until she refused your entry for good.

© 2017, Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)


“Beliefs”
(Raanana, December 4, 2016)

That I know what my wife is feeling,
That my love will be enough to protect her
From the lovelessness around her,
That my particular being might have some worth
In the eye of the Grand Schemer of Things,
That the sun will climb over the eastern mountains tomorrow,
That the ground on which I walk
Is as solid as any reality,
These are small beliefs I think
That won’t hurt anyone else,
At least I don’t believe so.
But there are grander beliefs
That grow stronger
With every man and woman who believes them,
That only the grandest edifices
Can house them,
These beliefs,
Like who’s a chosen people
And who’s a virgin, an only son, or a true prophet,
Beliefs that hurt those who don’t believe them.
These are the beliefs I don’t believe
Are any good for anything
That’s not a building.

© 2016, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

“An Agnostic’s Prayer”
(Raanana, January 23, 2014)

Just for the record
I don’t believe in you
So there’s no point in capitalizing, is there?
That doesn’t mean I don’t wish you were
Here, there, somewhere.
God knows I do,
Well, maybe not the you
Of everybody else.
You know exactly what I mean,
Someone who’s not always
Making clever excuses
Why he’s never around
When we need him.
I’d like to see you try that on my wife.
She wouldn’t fall for it.
She’d tell you
You’re either here or you’re not here,
So don’t bother trying to be
Somewhere in between.
She’d say if you want someone to believe in you
Then be there, front and center,
Instead of hiding behind the guy
Who’s hiding behind the curtain
Hoodwinking the true believers.
Then tell them they have only
One life in this godforsaken universe
And that one life is so gut-twistingly precious
That they should get up off their knees,
Walk out into the sunshine,
And smell just how blue the sky is.

© 2014, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)


“A Lasting Image”
(Raanana, April 5, 2008)

Frozen shards of light litter the dusty ground and
The moon-colored skulls of creatures whose blood
Once warmed the earth and sated its thirst
If only for a moment.
There is a trail I must follow
Through this forest dark and mordant
That snakes its wending way from
The womb of my first love
To the parched throat of my last.
I think sometimes of the ancient ones
And the things of their world
Of which they were certain.
It is not so hard to believe in a God,
An animus for every animal
Or a hoary herald above the spheres.
But a monstrous God
Who plots to devour our innocence
And rend our hearts with the cruel beauty of its beings,
Indifferent yet demanding our prayers and oblations;
Such a God I believe in:
A God of holocausts and broken promised lands.

© 2008, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

“A Certain Silence”
(Raanana, September 22, 2015)

There is a certain silence
On a day like this
That carries you on its wide wings
But only those whose souls are weightless
A silence that muffles the shouts of children
And banal chatter of adults on mundane matters
But only for those whose souls are transparent
A silence that vows to be true
Even when we live among lies
But only among those
Whose souls are consumed by other souls.

© 2008, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)


The Repentant Peter (El Greco c. 1600 Spain), Phillips Collection, Washington D.C., U.S., public domain photograph of the painting

Repenting Peter (El Greco)

since as
everything is Uttered
a land to even up
the eye
you touch grope about
the walls
more and more high
(on) cracks
the third road is the hardest
nowhere somewhere
the third road is the easiest
am I
I
cursed
cursing
swear
in net
(Peter)

“that the mighty angel tugs
along with net of fishermen”*

*Giorgos. Seferis (Greek poet and diplomate)

© 2017, bogpan  (bogpan – блог за авторска поезия)


Pheidippides Defiant

A legend has
A courier
Who ran and ran
And told, and died,
Per Lucian,
Pheidippides’
“We win–rejoice!”
The dying words
Of this young man.

A summer day
In ’84
Ten thousand ran
On Market Street,
And skirted San
Francisco Bay,
And saw through fog
The Golden Gate,
And past its Park,
And up a hill
So steep a man
In wheelchair
Went but four in-
Ches at a time.

We crossed the thrice-
Blessed Finish Line
At Union Square
To cheering crowds,
To honor dead
Pheidippides,
Who, truth be told,
Did not exist,
Or, if he did,
Not quite the way
The legend tells.

But there WAS strife
In ancient Greece,
And Persians died
At Marathon,
The site now known
As the event,
A footrace long
and arduous.
And when I ran
In ’84,
I briefly WAS
Pheidippides,
Defiant of
Impossible,
Horizon breached,
My battle won,
And I rejoiced
And did not die.

© 2017, Gary W. Bowles (One With Clay)


. no horizontal line .

early it came,where there are no roads, no silent killer.

spinning. set me free. let me see swallows return to

nest.

let us cause a reaction, turn our heads quickly. no one

is looking, there is no one here. we are not afraid of

the night.

we spin.

soft cottons, whimsy thread, mothlike.

turn about hour on hour. your time is

come.

we spin.

to spite silent killers.

© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)

. tudor .

it seems that in moving the body we can free the mind, from one place to another. slightly out of focus.

time is moving forward.

that is the theory……

© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

“The Grand Scheme of Things” … and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt


In these responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, November 15, gods of our making, you’ll find some moving and discerning views into the way we create false gods, stuggle with and spin the fabric of belief, sometimes to justify the unjustifiable, and the ways in which belief systems learned in youth may come up wanting in the face of common sense and the hard realities of adult life.

Kudos to Mike Stone (new here and welcome), bogpan, Kakali Das Ghosh, Colin Blundell, Ginny Brannon, Renee Espriu, Anthony Carl and Paul Brookes for work that is engaging, honest, well considered and well written.

Anyone who would like to join in tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt is welcome to do so no matter the status of career: beginning, emerging or pro. All work shared on theme will be posted in the next collection on the following Tuesday. Meanwhile, enjoy these …


The Grand Scheme of Things

(Raanana, April 11, 2016)

The dark cloud squats heavily on the horizon
Undecided whether to drift slowly
Over our dusty fields with its fat bladder
Full of drought quenching rains
Or to drift up the coast a ways
To quench the thirst of our enemy’s fields.
O Lord, I know it makes no difference
In the grand scheme of things,
But I can’t help the fact
It would make all the difference in the world
To me.

© 2016, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

Beliefs

(Raanana, December 4, 2016)

That I know what my wife is feeling,
That my love will be enough to protect her
From the lovelessness around her,
That my particular being might have some worth
In the eye of the Grand Schemer of Things,
That the sun will climb over the eastern mountains tomorrow,
That the ground on which I walk
Is as solid as any reality,
These are small beliefs I think
That won’t hurt anyone else,
At least I don’t believe so.
But there are grander beliefs
That grow stronger
With every man and woman who believes them,
That only the grandest edifices
Can house them,
These beliefs,
Like who’s a chosen people
And who’s a virgin, an only son, or a true prophet,
Beliefs that hurt those who don’t believe them.
These are the beliefs I don’t believe
Are any good for anything
That’s not a building.

© 2016, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

A True Believer

(Raanana, February 10, 2017)

Although there is truth
I will never know it
Or be absolutely sure.
Although the world
And universe above and below
Do in fact exist
I will never perceive or conceive it.
Although all this is true
There is not enough evidence
To make of me a true believer
A skeptic or a cynic
An optimist or pessimist.
According to forensic science
Every criminal leaves a trail
Except for God and His magicians.
All this and less
As we move forward in our time.

© 2016, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

Forsaken Children

(Raanana, September 23, 2017)

The child is taught
When there is no help
God is our help,
When there is no hope
God is our hope,
When there is no redemption
God is our redemption.
These are honeyed words
To hear on sabbath after new years,
They succor us until we need them to be true
And then they desert us
Just like God did long ago
And we cry out from our crosses
With our last breaths like His Son
Why have You forsaken Me?
The truth is it’s our beliefs that crucify us,
Better to die like a lion roaring
Against the jackals of death
Or an eagle falling silently
From the sky
Than like forsaken children
Waiting for redemption.

© 2016, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

Mike Stone

MIKE STONE Although this is Mike’s first time on Wednesday Writing Prompt, I think many of you know him from other venues. I do believe he has participated in every The BeZine 100TPC event as well. Mike was born in Columbus Ohio, USA, in 1947 and was graduated from Ohio State University with a BA in Psychology. He served in both the US Army and the Israeli Defense Forces. He’s been writing poetry since he was a student at OSU and supports his writing habit by working as a computer networking security consultant. He moved to Israel in 1978 and lives in Raanana. He is married and has three sons and three grandchildren.


(Have the life)

The wings are bending of a dead
wind.
Under the fallen papers with words
blank
not burnt cockroaches are running
back
and forth
making noise…
And the ocean dries up.
The death is whispering in eyes
every single while,
when you’re bent above the oars.
The oars are making after the hits
circles
and they’re expanding.
A twitch and the end.
But the tries are repeated.
It doesn’t matter.
They leave sweat and tears,
pieces of keels,
trails of activity,
grief.
Where are you going in the early afternoon,
When the twilight
Is lying on your shoulders?
(but love is a place sedentary).
Repent –
know-it-all.

Have the life!

© 2017, bogpan (bogpan – блог за авторска поезия)


they asked Bertrand Russell

how he would react
if when dead he found that God really did exist —
that he had been wrong all along…

what would he do when he arrived
at the Pearly Gates
to be welcomed by St Peter?

what would he say to God?

without hesitating Russell said:
I’d go up to him and I’d say
you didn’t give us enough evidence

(From my The Recovery of Wonder (2013)

© 2013, Colin Blundell (Colin Blundell, All and Everything)


Still Searching for Answers

I have lifted my eyes to the heavens to pray
trying to renew the faith I once felt;
coming to find at the end of the day
that life as I know it is centered on doubt.
How can God sanction such anger and hate,
the loss of a parent to such a young child;
the illness and pain that never abates…
too many questions left unreconciled.

We thank God for all of the good things that come,
but who takes the blame for the unanswered prayer?
Time intercedes until we’ve become numb—
stuck in this place between hope and despair.

I believe there are angels who wander among us:
in the friend who just senses when you need to talk;
in the kindness of strangers when we are in crisis,
who lift and support us when we cannot walk.

Life lessons learned have hardened this heart;
still God bless the ones who can truly believe.
Blind faith without proof is really an art;
it’s through love and kindness I’ll find my reprieve.

I still ponder the words that we heard in our youth:
to pray, to have faith that our voice will heard;
but have come to acknowledge this as my truth—
my Divinity’s found helping those here on earth.

© 2017, Ginny Brannan (Inside Out Poetry)


Gods Like A Twining Snake

Gods cloaked as inner fears
grounded in DNA
like a twining snake
posed to lunge
to strike

waiting within a tired mind
weariness a braided chain
harnessing movement

reality sinking into quicksand
bogs of memory calling
burning names
taunting

Gods of money and loving guns
meaningless possessions
of nameless masses

when the use of words like arrows
taken from the quiver
can be weaponry
to fight

dueling with engines
created of cells
stinging like bees

identified as expectations
masked as perfection
a straight line
blue chalk
do not cross

we try to let go, let be
erase illogical revenue
nothing money
can buy

for these Gods leave
no purchase
are grounded
on a slippery
slope

quickly buried by mud slides
that alter belief in self
confidence askew
in the remnants
of time

© 2017,  Renee Espriu  (Renee Just Turtle Flight and Inspiration, Imagination & Creativity with Wings, Haibun, AR, Haiku & Haiga)


#Falsehood of legendary Gods#

Swimming through their tears I live
Shedded leaves let out a deep sigh
The fiscous sky leaves a black smile
Howl of funous thunder
Heehaw of rampant lightning
tear apart hearts
A lorn’s cry for mom
A beggar’s bowl beside a temple
A street child’s furious search for a wrapper
A destitute aback a flash flood
Casts the falsehood of legendary Gods
Towards galaxies
Towards constellations
Towards this whole universe.

© 2017, Kakali Das Ghosh


alma mater

i.

the machine believes money
is love. honor and prestige
parade through the town

with cash clenched tightly
in their hands. they build
monuments to honor sport

while souls are crushed
under the clamor of their
self-congratulatory speech.

ii.

the hallowed halls
ring hollow with words,
reeking of self-preservation.

indeed if ghosts
still pass through these walls,
the living do all the haunting.

© 2017, Anthony Carl (Anthony Carl)


Godfather Life

I am born dead.
My father weeps
as he has nowt
and hopes for best.

He holds us out
in middle of our road
and offer as whoever
says they want me

can be my godfather.
God turns up first
and says as he can give me
eternal life in heaven.

Dad tells him to bugger off
as I’ll still be dead
and he’ll still be bereft.
Devil arrives next,

and says he can give me
all riches and principalities
in world at cost of my father’s
blood and soul.

Dad tells him to bugger off
as riches are in other things
and he don’t want me
without a father.

Then Life turns up
and says he will make me
a miracle worker and bring
other folk to life. Dad agrees.

When I’m of age
Life says to me
“I’ve given you breath
of life you can gi to others.

When you see me not there
it means as they shunt
have it. Don’t make me smile.
You won’t like it.

If I laugh it will be at you
not with you. You’ll have
disobeyed me, so I must
take away your gift.”

Then my wife drowns suddenly.
I think surely life
won’t mind, but
it isn’t there. I kiss

her lips till they redden.
And there was Life
at the foot of the bed,
and it’s smiling.

It tells “Well done.
Pleased to see such progress.
You have challenged me.
I like your spirit. Let

it go this once. Your wife
needs a hug.” Then my dad
dies of asphyxiation
in a car accident.

As I’m about to give
Dad my breath
Life pulls me away
with a “I know you

want the best for him.”
I reply “If you take
my gift give it to him.”
Life takes my breath away.

© 2017, Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

A Sea God

“Don’t let it get away!”
my sister shouts as my Dad’s hot air
wrapped in rubber flaps up
over the ocean in a cross gust.

We both climb in to steady it.
“We’re going out too far!
“I can’t see mum and dad.”
She shouts clambering back out.

She grasps the rope to pull
it forward but gust is too strong.
She lets rope go. “I’m going
back.” she shouts and swims away.

I paddle but gust is against me.
I get out, grab the rope, try to haul,
the current against me. I climb
back in. Watch beach and mam

and dad disappear, till there is only
the gusted, grey green waves.
It is cold. In my trunks I curl
into a question mark
in the rubber dinghy.

Suddenly, a shout. A huge hand
gathers me and dinghy up.
I rise into air. Lifted
into a smelly fishing boat.

“Thought tha wa lost their lad.”
the sea god says.

© 2017, Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

Editorial Note: I just finished reading Paul’s newest collection, She Needs That Edge, which is scheduled for publication shortly. Look for the alert on Paul’s site or here in Sunday Announcements. It’s another fabulous read by this indefatigable Yorkshire poet. In this collection Paul combines his singular style with acute insight into the human condition. He takes us through five stories, pictures of the great and small ironies of life. We observe the daily routines, rituals and reactions in lives where birds have jam sessions on rooftops, mausoleums live on fridge doors, the memory of a touch stays with the skin; lives where hands are telling and people hunger, give what’s not wanted and take what’s not given. In short, Life with all its pathos and ethos. She Needs that Edge will be well worth your time and pennies.


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

“the doctrine” and other poems in response to the most recent Wednesday Writing Pompt


The last Wednesday Writing Prompt, May 10: Words have power to hurt, heal, fool, free or nourish. They have weight. Sometimes a word – worthy in its way – is just not right for an occasion or circumstance … or for your latest poem or story. It doesn’t meet the test of your vision; but you believe  the right word will come to you. You work at it, play with it and sometimes wait quietly, as an invitation of sorts, until the perfect word arrives and speaks to you, the word that you know will speak to others as well.

What are the stale words – the inadequate words – you hear used to describe something you value? What words are better or best? Tell us in prose or poem.


. words needed .

alongside gestures of despair,

may communicate thought

better. or worse?

so lets be singular

enjoy our own space,

and be friends, forever.

she says that you

cannot see some people’s souls,

perhaps we need to look harder.

there is a lot going on.

© 2017, sbm.

:: those words again ::

rather a lot of words were said in friendship.

yesterday.

good words.

#writing for jamie.

words on health and well

being.

recovered, we admired

the socks, little boots.

she knew who i meant, a small

description. the bluebells are down

the road she told us.

kind words come in memory and subjected

elements.

some folk cannot connect other than eyes

while some utter such kind words; honey

and furry bears.

© 2017, sbm (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA)


the doctrine 

of inevitable progress –
the present the highpoint
of cultural and personal development –
the ancestors treated with condescension
the thinkers ignored unread
(those who told it how it really is) –

the present (so they say – the powerful ones
in their powerful ignorance) is
the threshold to a Golden Age –
provided you accept our
version of events…

tissues of false imagery
& abstraction

progress is the ghost
of a big black dog
cocking its leg against the lamp-posts
of infinite dark streets –
a convenient construct;
an unsubtle trick of the imagination;
a laying of eggs
in a basket that does not exist

© 2017, Colin Blundel (Colin Blundell: All and Everything)

“This comes from my collection The Recovery of Wonder (2013)
I focused on ‘words that fool’ and remembered this one. There are many words that fool, especially abstractions. The way to recognise an abstraction is to wonder whether you could put whatever the word is supposed to represent into a wheelbarrow. You could put a pound of apples in a wheelbarrow but what about ‘justice’, ‘beauty’, ‘love’, ‘democracy’, and in this case ‘progress’?” Colin


Being Unpolished and Knowing

Like strands of pearls uncultured, unconnected
they lie strewn at your feet tantamount to words
discarded and useless unable to be linked as one
until something more refined comes along

she knows this every moment of every day speaking
is broken by hesitation, pauses and frustration
like diamonds rough from nature not yet expertly cut
by the jeweler’s hand in minuscule sharp detail

something like disparate but not really the same
just as peculiar is not exactly being self-serving
for who can say she is not the bowels of that same venue
as she compiles opinions based on incomplete knowing

she ultimately sees herself on the fringe of everything
and anything but peculiar touting her uniqueness as
that of shrewdly knowing but like that of the pearls
as that of the diamond she too can be unpolished

© 2017, Renee Espiru (Renee Just Turtle Flight)


No Words

Like Light On A Needle

light shivers on a cobweb strand
between curved lace frills
of a woven white table cloth
in a spring front room.

Glare of harsh words
incandescent behind watery eyes
focus on insignificant details
as each of us folds our legs
away from the other

in the silence
below the radio songs
below the doppler
of cars and people outside
waves break up sunglint
on a pebbled shore

Don’t Read

this sentence.

Don’t understand this meaning.
Don’t interpret this link between words.

Don’t interrogate each word
as having a separate existence
from this context.

Don’t recall where you first heard,
or read these words as they
have no history.

They have not been written before.
They are new born, awaiting meaning.
They need maturity to fit in correctly.

Will have their wild times in places
where they shouldn’t be, next to words
they will be embarrassed to recall.

Second Fiddle

Always the presence
never in the presence of…

Always carries the coat,
never owns the coat.

Always opens the door to…
never for whom it is opened.

Always the ghost…
never the blood and sinew.

Always mouths other’s words
never mouth’ own.

Always imitative
never innovative.

Always derivative
never different enough….

First Fiddle

never in the presence…
Always the presence

never carries the coat,
Always owns the coat

never opens the door to…
Always for whom it is opened

never the ghost…
Always the blood and sinew

never mouths others words
Always mouths own

never imitative
Always innovative

never derivative
Always different enough….

Finding

Chat to the motor museum curator
at his post behind the counter.

“Have to bring my wife. She was into bikes, and can remember every…”

He looks at me.

“every…”

I am an idiot.

“Those things with numbers and letters on the front of cars?”

“Number plates”.

He replies with sharp sarcasm,
and no smile.

The older I get
what were once obvious words arrive less
and less when and where I need them.

© 2017, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)


From Mike Stone (Uncollected Works) via comment)

“I’m reading an excellent book, “To the End of the Land” by Israeli author David Grossman. I just came across a review of the book that does good justice to Grossman’s latest novel (http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/a-wayward-eulogy), but I wanted to mention just one of the many pearls in his book: “… Do you mean these paths speak Hebrew? Are you saying language springeth out of the earth? …” I loved the idea that our languages spring from the land that our forefathers and descendants live and die in, that Hebrew and Arabic have exactly the right sounds to onomatopoeicly express the realities of the Middle East. Of course the English poems I write about Israel can never really capture the essence of this land, unfortunately for me. My ears were formed by the backwoods of Ohio and Indiana. I feel like Moses standing on Nebo Peak seeing Israel from afar, but unable to enter it. I am in Israel, but in some other dimension of it.”


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