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Nat Lipstadt Sep 2013
How I Observed the Day of Atonement

If you are unfamiliar with day and its observance,
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_Kippur

In a place of perfect solitude,
No crowded synagogue within to hide,
No cantor to intercede on my behalf,
I spoke words of mine own creation
To my creator who wisely empowers me
To judge myself, for knowing, none harsher,

We two,
Old travel companions,
Upon worn grayed, adirondacke thrones,
We overlooked,
A natural prayer place,
Bay and breeze, white-clouded and sun-laced.
Only the full time inhabitants, the animals,
Grayling butterflies to match and contrast,
Eavesdropping on our Greek dialogos, in this,
Palace of Perfect Solitude.

Amiable did we chat,
I of family, this and that.

He, wearied from recent travel,
To Syria and India,
Was glad for a day off,
For he had little to do,
But wait for twilight,
To then close the books.

For us no formality, easy the going,
No prosecutor no defender in residence,
For we exchange these roles intermittently,
The incriminatory, the penance, all deeds displayed,
No adult games of winking eyes, and
Hidden heart, secret chambers,
Rabbinical or angelic intercession.

He does so love his Bach,
Adagio on strings,
My soothing gift to him,
This music more than divine.

He returned this courtesy.

Warming sun to expose my chest,
Cooling genteel breeze offsetting,
The bay emptied of wayfaring skiffs and yachts.

A cooling beverage proffered,
But sighing, he said that he had yet to find
A beverage that his kind of thirst could slake.
For his eyes, tho shining, did not effervesce,
As when we shared this day in years past.

Too much killing, this year,
It tires me so to tabulate human excess,
Spoke not a word, for my critique would
Comfort him less, if at all.

Thanks for Kol Nidre, he plainted,
So I too can disavow,
The best intended oaths I took and take,
For each year, I fail more than the year before.

If only I could sit with each,
As I do with you,
Where what needs saying,
Is said, understood, undisguised as praying.

A schooner to the dock did appear,
For him it attended, for him, it waited,
Sails, both black and white.

He stood to depart, my arms-grasped, taken, he graphing,
Measuring my fortitude, my strengths, my divinity.

I do so love this day in your company.
I shall sit with you again one year on,
Bach sweet when next we meet, please.

Soft spoke, as almost I should not hear,
Your time is nigh, no thing I create is forever.
He spoke with such sadness,
For well I knew, the intent, his meaning.

He, for-himself, saddened, for he loved
Sitting  beside me in this manner,
Since my inception, never deception,

Only He resting easy, when he atoned before me,
And I gave him his absolution conditional,
As he gave me,
mine
September  2013
Nat Lipstadt Jan 2017
Yom Kippur this year was celebrated on Oct. 12th 2016.
Leonard Cohen passed away on November 7, 2016.


~~~

faint knocking at the door to the Tower of Song

the ministering angels, hearing a rhythmic, lyrical rapping,
sigh, thinking the atonement day,
the holiday/holy days, are supposedly over,
the human balancing act, the rush to judgement period,
all tallies totaled, the busy sale season for souls,
at last completed, each fate inscribed & sealed,
in the book of life^

but, always one,
the itinerant straggler, the last reluctant sinner, a judgment resister,
flaunting an expired coupon, trumpeting demands for a recount,
waving it, claiming it, the bearer, entitled to a mercy discount and
an extra 30 days

"who shall we say is calling?"

the Angels are stunned to hear,
a familiar raspy, growling, almost indescribable,
yet, stammeringly, beautiful voice enchanting,
equally asking and answering,  how both,
with a strident humility, "a man in search of answers"

this voice, instantaneous recognizable,
the asking superfluous,
all beating wings now, all in vast excitement,
this psalmist, long awaited, one of His best,
a chosen one, a courtly singer in the Temple of his people,
blessed with the curse of seeing and believing,
the comprehension of beauty of the human superior interior,
never being quiet or quite satisfied,
in capturing, its multifarious variations,
in every language spoken

this is the man who took ten years
to compose just
one song,
one poem,
one word,
Hallelujah,
whose faith was strong,
but still needed proofs,
whose every breath of oxygen inhalation,
brought more questions,
every exhalation, only releasing partial answers,
and yet, still, yes, yes! finding hidden verses inside

a simple, everlasting
hallelujah

the hubbub subsides, the man sings~speaks:
how came I here,
was I one, who by fire?
that fire afeared,  that my finality was spirit consumer?

one voice, answers,
in one voice, the swaying back-up singers answer,
not by fire, not by water, not by stoning or
even drowning
in tea that came from all the way from China

when sing we Angels, the Judgement Day poem,
we alone, on high and above,
we, keepers of the books and records of everyone,
are permitted this to query:

Who by Sufficiency?

you, the sidekick of the creator,
special commissioned by him, anointed to live a life of research,
record in word and song the mysteries of musical gene strings,
that intertwine the skin cells of man and woman,
man and his fellow us-human,
your soul commandeered, ordered, delve deeper,
into the consolable chasm tween divine and mortals,
all those who are poorly constructed
in his image

he, who has earned his place, his best rest,
his works adjudged sufficient,
he, who best answered
this judging, this calling out, callig in
incantation,

Who by Sufficiency?

now forward on, write only of answers,
wade in the troubled waters no more,
no more passports, or borders to cross,
no more measuring the days,
the last road trip finale
finished & feted,
fate meted

no more changing thy name, changeling priest,^^
sing songs of solution, salvation,
for the questioning hours of confusion,
the urgency of revolution,
no longer need a hallelujah resolution


                                                    ­| | |
Who By Fire                             Who By Fire, Who By Water:^
(lyrics by Leonard Cohen)     (A Yom Kippur Hebrew Prayer)

who by fire                             How many shall die and      

who by water,                                how many shall born,
Who in the sunshine,                 Who shall live      
who in the night time,                   who shall die,                      
Who by high                                Who at the measure of days,
who by common trial,                    and who before,
Who in your merry                            
                                                          Who by fire
month of May,                                 and who by water
Who by very                                 Who by sword,
slow decay,                                       and who by wild beasts,
And who shall I                      Who by hunger,
say is calling?                              and who by thirst,

And who in her,                           Who by earthquake
lonely slip,                                         and who by plague
who by barbiturate,                      Who by strangling,
Who in these                                    and who by stoning
realms of love,                               Who shall have rest,

who by,                                             and who shall go wandering,
something blunt,                            Who will be tranquil,
And who by avalanche,                  and who shall be harassed,
who by powder,                            Who shall be at ease,
Who for his greed,                           and who shall be afflicted,
who for his hunger,                      Who shall become rich,
And who shall I,                             and who shall become poor,
say is calling?                                Who will be raised high,
                                                         ­     and who will be brought low
And who by brave assent,                  
who by accident,
Who in solitude,
who in this mirror,
Who by,
his lady's command,
who by his own hand,
Who in mortal chains,
who in power,
And who shall I,
say is calling?




^From the liturgy of Rosh Hasanah, the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur, the  Day of Atonement, there is this truly stunning prayer (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unetanneh_Tokef) in the Jewish liturgy. The Book of Life contents the fate of every sinner. From the first day of the new year, until ten days later, on Yom Kippur, depending on whether the sinner repents or not, his fate is sealed.
Yom Kippur this year was celebrated on Oct. 12th 2016.

Leonard Cohen passed away on November 7, 2016.

^^"A Kohens ancestors were priests in the Temple of Jerusalem. A single such priest was known as a Kohen, and the hereditary caste descending from these priests is collectively known as the Kohanim.[2] As multiple languages were acquired through the Jewish diaspora, the surname acquired many variations." Today, with no temple, the limited role of the Kohanim is to bless the Jewish people on the high holy days with a  special prayer with abeloved tune,  instantly evocative (see wikipedia.org/wiki/Priestly_Blessing) The Kohanim are still revered, honored, and always called up first to the Sabbath reading of the weekly portion of the Old Testament

A thank you to Bex for proofing and encouragement.
Part I of a trilogy
For a  more detailed analysis of the roots of the song, "Who By Fire," and its origins, see:
_____________________________________________
http://www.leonardcohen-prologues.com/who_by_fire.htm

He worked on the song Hallelujah, arguably his most famous composition, for ten years.
Nat Lipstadt Sep 2018
“leave at your own chosen speed”

always,
Dylan inserts a phrase that haunts,
indestructible permafrost,
played in slow and ever slower reverb all life long,
for it’s intuitive and you recognize it too well
as the best companion to the sour ending of another love affair

(but! this one differs; called love yourself)

the sad of a dying love, remembering the steady drift away,
capped by a casual remark that doesn’t sting but
cuts a Y on your chest, a lover’s coroner courtesy,
the bad humours permitted to at long last healthy escape

you’re staggered but say nothing for
speed
is a changeable elf, a mischievous devil,
requiring constant monitoring cause you moving,
but the speed limit alway a reflection of the road you’re on

speed is a tag along to show the overall fit still works,
though now far from the obvious and familiar
and the inspiration modifies,
so you retrofit untill the parts are incapable of
bending to new demands, contours unfamiliar, old plans no good

“leave at your own chosen speed”

for I am leaving you as I leave myself,
beaches erode,  lighthouses corrode, the salt cannot be refused,
the earth demands your return as the lease is deemed
non-renewable and the space where the date shall be inserted,
is parcel of the contract and though blank, certain to be fulfilled

the body erodes, the ***** parts corrode,
and this season of the new year^ comes with the usual disclaimer
recited on the tenth day from today

‘who will live, who will die,’^^

taught to you as a young-in, a child who can comprehend
even before manhood arrives, comprehend that life ends,
all good things and it ain’t no use, born compromised, but
“don’t think twice, it’s alright”

the slate you have written overdue for a prudent clean wet erasure,
so you begin to leave at your own chosen speed,
which is kind of nice, even cool, organizing your papers,
write with contented softness that so long eluded,
now come easy heady peasy

after a life of reciting poetry, good bad and always too long,
the pressure is on and off, side by side, even a dimming bulb
sheds some light, revealing what yet needs revealing


that Day of Atonement annual visitor,^^^ he/she of impish humors,
makes Pandora play a new station,
‘dimming of the day,’
reminder that it gave you a piece of an unowned heart to hold,
leased temporarily but the temp is roaring,
who, boo hoo, for you?

life and love is all about leaving,
the pen in penitent gone dry, no refills in this new world,
wish that **** rooster would stop crowing at
the break of sundown,^^^^  when I'll be gone
I'll be travelling on, for when the new day begins,
that’s my own signature personal marker,
the sundown poet
------------------------------------------------------------­-------



~the first day of the new year on the Jewish calendar
  Mon, 10 September 2018 =  1st of Tishrei, 5779

  Rosh Hashana 5779
^ see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_Kippur

^^ see poem  https://hellopoetry.com/poem/1833523/for-leonard-cohen-who-by-fire/

^^^ see poem https://hellopoetry.com/poem/462537/how-i-observed-the-day-of-atonement/

^^^^ jewish law says the day begins at sunset till the next sundown
Shadow Puppet  Dec 2018
Atonement
Shadow Puppet Dec 2018
Runny noses and black roses
Unquestionable devotion
Unrequited notions

Filled to the brim with unfathomable emotion

A hoax intertwined with me screams
I bask in laughter
The demented bliss holds me

Bathing in remnants of of love that never could

Holds me unlike my belief you would
I crave affection, but
I was left in desolation with my diamond reflection

So when all my dust transforms to glittering gold
I want you to know:
I do not love you anymore.

I plucked you out of fear
I would never call you by possessive name

Crimson to black
My nose runs for all I will never get back

I hope this bird flies tonight
I crave love no more
My heart is empty

My dust is fools gold
What's over my rainbow?

"I love you, just go to sleep"
You **** my soul

I am not sorry... for saying so
Happy 2 Year Anniversary
12.23.18
Nat Lipstadt Jun 2018
why I love certain men


it’s a raining and writing Saturday,
a washout for the beach visitors who chose their
calendar lottery tickets poorly

but hurrah and huzzah for the poet
in the no-sun-today-room with
steam collecting on his face from his 20 oz. Canadian mug,
and the rest of him cozied neath a
wooly mohair knitted and tasseled blanket,
from a now shivering alpaca goat in Turkey or Tibet

perhaps we’ll make a tiny dent
in the 1319 poems
in the ‘sorta started to do’ list

****.
new one sneaks in demanding immediate satisfaction
and threatening my mind’s incarceration unless
serviced and unleashed as the Frenchies say
Frites, immédiatement!: (french fries, now!)

I love most men; certain men more than others,
not because they are soft to the touch,
look great in thigh highs, can fix a backhoe,
lay hands on animals, just as they do upon their grandchildren,
or write better poetry than me,
because
they make me weep from zealous delight at
their capricious unprecedented constancy of their
honorable actions

they are soft to the core, which is itself
wrapped in a leather soldered steel
which defines them by their self questing constant,
asking themselves preface and postface,
doing it well, in between,

what is the honorable thing?

this honor idea of which writ previous
doesn’t dissolve - indeed grows crescendo stronger,
like the miracle of the Yom Kippurs rams horn
crying out to heavens at the concluding end  
on the holiest judgement day,
a shofar miracle for it inhumanly grows ever louder,
ceasing only when nightfall marks a new day begun,
reminding both sinners and saviour each,
to inquire of their colluding selves on this forgiveness-giving day,

what is the honorable thing?

some are borrowers and some lenders,
of anything, the substance or the whom matters not,
but the bonding bonfire from which the deal is done,
is of a uncharted chemical organic chemical matter unrecognized
but millennium ancient


here I stop

the call to breakfast must be obeyed,
for it’s with lovely made, menu man-poet requested,
this is too an honorable thing to do,
and the 1319 half blood~half writs poking my eyes,
can be faced with new courage afterwards
on a perfect raining and writing Summer Saturday
for the next one hopefully and woefully

may not come till the September (Rosh Hashanah/Jewish New Year) when acorns fall

certain men will greet that fall Sabbath/ New Years Day,  
when Atonement begins, a ten day process to the final conclusion,
by asking of everything living and of every act human performed,
for the forgiveness requested inherent in the absolute bar setting of

what is the honorable thing?

which by the by,

is why I love certain women too...

and all who are honorable
will read this honorific and remain
clueless as to whom it is addressed...

oh god, I do so love that best!

what could signal honor even more...
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