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 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