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VCU Menorah Review Winter/Spring 2011
Number 74
For the Enrichment of Jewish Thought

Two Poems

by Richard E. Sherwin

The New Moon of Av

The new moon of Av--[nine days until]
the day when the temples are destroyed
the day remembering the night we wept
falsely at the spies report
our lack of faith and theirs a fire
not centuries of tears could quench

before sundown the synagogue in Sefad
where the mystic lion prayed receives
another torah scroll another bride

slowly we have learned to live the ways
the Lord has kingdomed time to
now we mourn the temple not yet built
the temple not descended yet from heaven
repenting what still needs repentance

only the Lord knows if we're ready
we can only keep torah and glory
in the scroll the gift 
the lion named the many levels of
so much that we not in the holy heights
that we beside the sea 
can feel the darkness radiant still
and mourn our mournings true and false
eight days to lamentation night and tears
and candles light the hope this fast
becomes the feast 
we are invited to

Marina Lights: Before Sunrise, Sunrise, Morning

the green lights out. the red one spins and blinks.
the suns unrisen. its later than it thinks.

three railings down. the waves can wet the rocks
the seas at ebb. the surfs asleep. who knocks

why hassle my sleeping soul with ought atonement
me and the breakwater empty enjoy this moment

so what if nothing comes to nothing so
no harbors safe forever let them go
the harbor lights blink green and red together
the fishingboat backs up and trawls between them

i think the trauma lights blink unrepentant
fishing off the rocks at dawn goes easy

still it seems the sea gives up its fish
as hard as humans giving up the ghost

the seas no place for Gd to harbor men
eat and die be eaten and survive

the sea has caught my bait my fishing lines
caught me as taut about to snap alive

who will cut the line the light and free
me hungry for the fishing sealess sea
the sun is up the harbor lights are off
enter and exit as you please unwarned

learn the laws and live by them or crash
charitys to keep you from killing others

alive or dead who cares your gene pool covers
most of what you call yourself that matters

the little ion here or there thats free
thats you stays unredeemed stupidity

yes its a shame when kids dont get the chance
to screw their lives away the human dance

study hard so ignorance can thrive
and you live long enough perhaps alive

who knows but what together we might save
some human good from our too human graves

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