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VCU Menorah Review Summer/Fall 2010
Number 73
For the Enrichment of Jewish Thought

Two Poems

By Richard E. Sherwin

Usha in the Galilee

usha’s empty
here a pile of stones
there a winepress cut into stone
a clump of poppies red remembrances

famous rabbis cutouts in tin
whitewashed and summarized 
in hebrew black
among the purple thistles
cactuses and dandelions
the dry cowpattied path
winds thru

still the sabbath boundary is marked
in greek on stone between another town
nothing else is left of

but then sanhedrin judges gathered here
on hilltops hadrian allowed unharried
burnt by nothing but the sun
escaped from burntout yavneh

and jerusalem
to scribe and pharisee eternal truth and
daily law the centuries to come

hadrian a curse and crumbling wall
that may have kept out picts
but failed to keep out time
the usha talmudists had crystallized
glittering dark matter 

no matter how we turned it
no matter how we turn 
Gd’s word

no matter stones piled up dug out
no matter metal cutouts standing in
and up for brilliant minds returned
to Gd and us forever

bonding jacob joseph david jonathan
souls bound up in souls

Mist On the Moon

mist on the moon. clouds on the sun.
when thou hast donne thou hast not donne.

do not go gentle into that good day.
the seas rise windless without a wave.

fish are gone. gulls on empty.
ah when gd was one and twenty.

round the ghosts of honor glide.
what holy ghost is on our side.

joggers slosh through flooded streets.
to meet the faces of the fleet.

dawn claws up to bleach the moon.
dark dark amid the blaze of noon.

the crows. the crows. the crows. the crows.
and where they stop nobody knows.

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