Ketuvim: Trees

Melodies I weave, songs I sweetly sing;
Longing for your presence, to you I yearn to cling.

In the shade of trees I delight to dwell,
To grasp your mystery, captured by your spell.

I glorify you with words and song,
Declaring with my heart: for you I long.

When I can’t see you, I write your praises,
And though I don’t know you, I long for your places.

To the assembled birds and your branches speech,
You alluded to your wisdom that is sometimes beyond our reach.

The scope of your greatness and the marvel of your strength
Are reflected in your bark and described at great length.

They have painted you, but rarely as you are;
They draw your colors and portray you from afar.

They speak of you in poems in countless varied visions,
While you remain throughout all their renditions.

They try to portray you as one now young, now old,
With leaves now green, now red and turning gold.

Nothing is more precious among the earth’s good pleasures,
Than sitting against a tree, chief among forest treasures.

-adapted from “Hymn of glory” in Siddur Sim Shalom
-Shadow

Ketuvim 16

My adaptation of Psalm 16

Keep me, O Living Earth,
For in you I find refuge.
I said you are the source of life,
You are my mother,
And my happiness lies in you alone.

All my desire is to be among
Those who protect the land,
And those who respect it.
Sorrows increase
For those who disfigure your face.
Never will I follow their ways
And never will I trod their path.

Living Earth, my share of the heritage,
My cup,
It is you who keeps me secure.
The lines have fallen for me
In pleasant places;
A wonderful heritage is mine.

I will honor the Earth who has given me counsel,
Even at night my inner self instructs me.
I remember the bounty of the Earth always;
It sustains me with its abundance.
I cannot be shaken.

So my heart is glad
And my flesh rejoices;
Even my body shall rest in safety,
For you sustain me now,
And will embrace me in your arms at death.

You have shown me the path of life,
The fullness of joy in your presence.
Everlasting happiness
In the mists of your wonder and beauty.

-Shadow

Ketuvim 18

My adaptation of Psalm 18

I do not know from where my strength comes,
Nor do I know who I love
When I come undone.

I feel as though there are no rocks
beneath my feet
Or any sure foundation to stand upon.

The sorrows of sadness blanket me,
I scream from a place of torment
As I struggle to break free.

No one can see my internal struggles
No, not one.

I have been true to no god
I was not blameless before any of them.
I am not free from guilt.

It is said with the loyal, god will show himself loyal,
With the blameless, he shows himself blameless,
I have been neither.
With the pure, he shows himself pure
But I am crooked and not humble.

There is no one to light my darkness,
And I feel crushed underneath its canopy.
I have no shield,
No refuge,
Nowhere to feel secure.

I am constantly at war with myself
And I grow tired from battle.

-Shadow

Borderline Psalm 54

My internal chatter leaves me no peace
It shakes me like a rattling can full of coins.
My inner noises and conflicts consume me
Like a roller coaster from hell.

I love you
I hate you
Happiness beyond measure
Sadness beyond consoling
This one
No, that one
It’s good
No, it’s evil…

If I had the wings of a bird
I would fly to the highest tree top and be at rest.
I would flee to the wilderness
To get away from this world.
I would escape
If it did not chase me.

Where can I flee from its presence?
If I sit among friends
I am consumed by thoughts of insecurity and judgments
If I sit alone
I drown in my own sadness.

I am like the blind person
Groping in the darkness
Unable to reconcile
All the pieces within.

-Shadow

Behind the masks

You took all the pieces
And stitched yourself together
It became your comfort
Entangled in the tether.

How can I know you
The one behind the guise
Lurking in the shadows
Hidden behind your eyes.

Who are you
And where did you go
That one behind the masks
That little girl down below.

Will I ever see you
The one without a name
Wrapped up your blanket
And covered in shame.

Shadow
December 25, 2018

Beyond the mask…nothing

My delay in writing has been due to moving into a cabin in the woods that I was excited about a couple of weeks ago.  It is such a lovely, quiet place. Unlike the dwelling of the Unabomber, my cabin has more than one room, running water and electricity…and I am not seeking a primitive lifestyle; only quiet, semi-seclusion.  For the record, I have no interest in making bombs either. These days, I’m more of a hazard to myself than others.

I have been contemplating the question by my therapist: “Who am I when I am not wearing a mask?”  I am still no closer to an answer than I was in 1986 when I first began therapy. Seems it is automatic for me to define “self” according to whatever behavior I may be engaging in at the time or whatever emotion I might be experiencing at any given moment.  

Several months ago, I attempted to discover self through meditation.  According to some Youtube videos, I could achieve this by “looking within”.  Although I must admit, I don’t know where “within” is exactly. I don’t see anything when I “look within”…just blank.  My therapist suggested that I might have a “blockage” and that could be why I can’t “see within”. Blockage? Why can’t it be that there’s nothing there?  Where am I supposed to be going, anyway? I’m not even clear how meditation works. Perhaps it requires a different skill set I have not yet acquired.

I am pretty good at psychological projection onto inanimate objects though.  Which I suspect is somewhat akin to religion. Speaking of which, I wrote a type of poem about the goddess Morrigan after reading about her through the study of Celtic mythology and beliefs.  It is a mixture of how she is portrayed by others, as well as my own search for self and attempt to see beyond my own mask.

Morrigan, Morrigan

Phantom queen.

Binding my fate

And setting the scene.

Morrigan, Morrigan

The one not clear.

Challenging me

To overcome my fear.

Morrigan, Morrigan

Who ignores demands.

They run through my fingers

Like grains of sand.

Morrigan, Morrigan

Weaver of time.

Creating a mountain

Then hurrying me to climb.

Morrigan, Morrigan

Shifter of shape.

Constant lessons

I cannot escape.

Morrigan, Morrigan

The one who knows.

I follow your path

But see only shadows.

Morrigan, Morrigan

I must open my eyes

If I’m to see you

Beyond your reflected guise.

©Shadow

Life robbery

Before sky’s black cloak

The horizon was painted in red

I knew then

The arrival of winter’s dread.

 

I conversed with my father

As you lay inside sleeping

Straw death is coming

But no one is weeping.

 

As you travel Hel’s road

I don’t know what to feel

I think I’m numb

And none of it seems real.

 

I’ve known for weeks

This day would arrive

The time is coming

When you’re no longer alive.

 

In silence I stare

At the borderland of the sun

Searching for emotions

But no–not one.

 

As yellow-queen descends

So your life fades away.

But by the next morning

There your lifeless body lay.

 

©Shadow