Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
The flames of hell do not burn me for their own pleasure
They burn to reveal the truth of me
Behind my minds lies
Behind my defences
These flames do not burn me, they cleanse me
Their pain is my shame
They blister my guilt
I have run from these flames too long
I have hidden from them in my own shadows
Now I surrender
To their burn
To atone for the truth my hell reveals
To be worthy of myself
.
I welcome this hell
I welcome my flames
annh Dec 2020
Oak leaf and oath,
Rock water and spun linen,
Unction and atonement,
The circle and the flame.


”While there is strength in this body, I will raise the sword;
While there is breath in yours, you will do no harm.
Whether warrior or healer, a truth
Appointed by the heart is
Irrevocable.”

Fragmented impressions of another time and place.

‘For so sworn good or evil an oath may not be broken and it shall pursue oathkeeper and oathbreaker to the world's end.’
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion
mayur Sep 2020
In their eyes
she, is the holy river
and I, am a doubtful sinner.

I drowned myself
deep in Ganges.

Now she, is a holier-than-thou
and I, am a confessed sinner.
Ghats of Banaras, in India, is a holy place where Ganga river is washing sins of many from thousands of year.
Naveen Malhotra Sep 2020
Who punishes?
Who is punished?
It's all in the game
One remain in their frame
Tormentor can torment
There's no atonement
**** remains always ****
It's never a hit
Lens may zoom in on a beautiful face
Does it mean
It's in the race?
Learn to live with grace
One day there wouldn't
Be a trace
Nat Lipstadt Aug 2020
~~~~


~for Isabel (‘30), Alexander (‘31), and Wendy (‘35)~


~~~~


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, Adirondack thrones,
We overlooked
A natural prayer place,
Bay and breeze, white-clouded, sun-laced.
Only the full time inhabitants,
the animals,
Grayling butterflies to match and contrast,
Eavesdropping on our Greek dialogo,
In this holy place,
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 exchanged 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,
sunset color palette spectacular,
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 could ever slake
his kind of thirst

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, wind whipped,
Sails, both black and white.


He stood to depart, my arms-he-grasped,
Me-taken, he-graphing,
Measuring my fortitude, the strength,
of my divine spark

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 a deception

Only He resting easy,
when He atoned before me,
And I gave him His absolution conditional,
As he gave me,
mine
You are loved,
you are blessed.
In Christ's righteousness,
you are dressed.
Nat Lipstadt Aug 2020
In the year 2016,
Yom Kippur was celebrated on Oct. 12th.
Leonard Cohen passed away on November 7th.


~~~

faint knocking heard at the heavenly door of 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 almost 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 the responsa,
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 consumed?

in one voice, answers the angelic choir,
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 special 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, to delve deeper,
into the consolable chasm tween divine and mortals,
all those who are so poorly but perfectly constructed
in his image

you, who has earned his place, his best rest,
his works adjudged sufficient,
you, who best answered
this judging,
this calling out,
this calling 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,
you have been judged sufficient...
it is his will


                                                    | | |
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.
https://hellopoetry.com/poem/1833523/for-leonard-cohen-who-by-fire/
this first version first published Jan. 2017

^^"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.
Jordan Gee Aug 2020
I foot the ladder
I called upon the wheat
I called upon the spaces where only an ibex can stand
I called upon the swollen silence, the space between the keys
I called upon the distended bulb of awkward air that is my usher unto
the people of this world.
I called upon God to change my purpose for me
but all I saw were white shapes in the darkness.
he had sent his heralds with the long horns and bugles
the thrones and cherubim suspended like a women’s pearls about the neck
but i was too deaf and hard of seeing
on what was happening in my day to day
in my aloneness
in my facebook messages
in my bank account.
I thought the die was cast and so
I rode their mercy like an uncut Arabian steed.
I was young and my shadow was a
bad foretelling -
like worms drowning on the pavement-
like an empty soul factory in the bathroom stall.
but I’m on borrowed time like a black cat dream on
the narrows and the cobblestones.
like how a broken broom breaks all gypsy curses,
black cat dreams are never wrong, and
in the deep statecraft of my undoing I’m almost sorry for
what I asked for.
See, there are two of me and they are crowing
I know not which one bodes the ill intent and which one wields the cyanide.
but both are mostly indolent in their listening
to the building of the gallows.
Every breath is a fatality
Every hand full of dirt is a genesis
and I can hear the hangman at the gallows.
Let Justice Be Done, Though The Heavens Fall
and i’ll go see my brother on the water.
halfway up the sky he’ll build eternity outside of time,
and I will foot the ladder.
birds of hollow bone they herald my undoing,
planting white lilies in my heart.
by the building of the gallows I will foot the ladder
sometimes there are only hammers
sometimes all I see are nails.
where is the healing balm in this dreamscape that I invented?
he’s holding sulfur in his death hand.
I looked up and asked him for a bright lantern
I asked him to keep this pen alive and to fix me to his liking
I asked him for a bamboo raft worthy of the rapids.
I told him that when I was in California I was so sad I couldn't see the ocean.
I asked him that if I were to give penance
could he take these tumors in his hands.
all i saw were reflections of him smiling
like long eclipses on comanche moons.
I heard the gears of the clock all grinding but the hands were spinning loose.
I wanted to be home then, but he said I already was. And then he told me:
You are the gallows and the hammers
You are the black cat and broken brooms
You are the pavement and the worms and
the drowning and the nails
You are the lilies and the wheat
You are your brother and his dreaming
You are the cyanide and the birds.
but i’ve so much invested already in the crawling
in and out of beds
that all there is left to do is
foot the ladder till I'm no longer deaf to the horse's mouth,
to the screaming of the diad in their forgetting of their
Oneness
Of their Atonement
Of their dreaming of the dream.
20.Jan.2020
Next page