How I Observed the Day of Atonement
If you are unfamiliar with day and its observance,
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,
Old travel companions,
Upon worn grayed, adirondacke thrones,
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 we meet next, 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 resting easy, when he atoned before me,
And I gave him his absolution conditional,
As he gave me, mine