VCU Menorah Review
Current issue • Archive • Search
VCU Menorah Review Summer/Fall 2015
Number 83
For the Enrichment of Jewish Thought

Four Poems

By Richard Sherwin

New Eyes

with my new eyes my neighbors numbers clear
as if i ever wanted seeing them or them
i almost see the edge of Gd thru clouds
i never saw were there before and now
a terror settles in of worlds and men
i'd dimly felt before and barely bear

so this is what or something what they saw
once Gd had cut the veil from off their eyes
and heard the wax pulled out and shook untied
no mast to hold them up and off the rocks
when called to speak uncircumcized their flesh
their hearts their eyes unveiling holy breath
to everyone they never saw before
thru times beginnings ends and more

Who Laughs Last

Abraham laughed first.
In a dream perhaps but first.
Im past it, my wife’s
past it, this covenanting
darkness smoke fire animals

and Gd promising
us children. Ninety-nine’s past it.
So Abraham laughed.
Even between carcasses
and Gd he laughed. In a dream

he got away with
it. No recriminations.
From Gd or rabbis.
When Sarah laughed wide awake,
then Gd took laughter to task.

No matter silent,
no matter to herself, no
matter privacy,
tented, preparing Gds food,
invaded without escape.

Her covenanted
parts werent any easier
than Isaac to bear.
Recriminations. Laughter.
Hagar and Ishmael gone.

Saul and David

pity david and saul who fought as if
eternal enemies and not as pit
bulls chosen bred and bet on and then tossed
away a royal win and human loss

pity david and saul inflated by
the spirit of Gd sucked out and left to die
a hero on a hill savior in bed
betrayed by Gd and husked and just as dead

pity david and saul who touched by Gd
exalted and degraded israel
and judahs Temples risen twice twice felled
their suffering abandonments the cost

pity saul and david praise the Lord

what david wrote saul lived without the word

The Dancing Lords

what did shiva do to get condemned
to dance forever in a ring of fire
existence into universes men
pass in and out of darkness dreaming higher

lord of the dance he’s labelled libelled so
if he cant stop the dance is lord of him
if he’s the dance that must go on it’s close
to hell he’s trapped in beautiful and grim

no wonder rabbis wouldnt dance the tune
piper dancer actor shows in shows
better freedoms few and on parole
of Gd than all such timeless powers doomed

and me idolater par excellence
no shiva jesus pan can dance to sense
i’m out for Gd in all my life’s confusions
commandments dancing me thru sins and virtues

|  Virginia Commonwealth University  |  College of Humanities and Sciences  |  School of World Studies  |
Center for Judiac Studies

Comments and manuscripts are welcome.
Address all correspondence to:
Center for Judaic Studies
Box 842021
312 North Shafer Street
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2021

Phone: (804) 827-0909  |  Email:

Updated: Jan. 24, 2013

Created by VCU University Relations