Tag Archives: Bitachon – Trust in God

J’Accuse 

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By Dana Janine Diamond

Are you impotent
Or did you just
fall down on the job
why does the one thing
in your name
perpetuate so much
evil
pretty soon
looking for the good
will require
a telescope
your city of refuge
has become a country
where women and children
are subhuman
expendable in the name
of raging sickness
and power
asking us to look
the other way
because they’re ‘worse’
than us
so that makes it okay
and across our nation
we send our children
on planes and busses
tourists viewing the ancient
and the quaint
as if what they’re seeing
isn’t actually a living
Holocaust
seething and raging
underneath

While I was praying
you looked the other way
how are you going
to beg
for my forgiveness
this year
every year
how will you
do it
until the end
of time
when the dew drops
I am not going
to humble myself
before such a screw-up
maybe I’ll deign
to go another round
maybe you’ll be dead
in my heart
but if you want to
really be in this world
have a dwelling place
then you better get down
here
and clean up
your own mess

Dieu,
is this really
what you imagined

COPYRIGHT 2016 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

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Pearl Seed

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      By Dana Janine Diamond 

                                                                                       

I believe

God needs me

I believe

I am the smoothest pearl

the sweetest juice

the tastiest morsel

on the most Glorious tongue.

I believe

God needs me

I believe

I could be                                                                    

the lightest petal

in the daisy chain

tied up and wished upon,

garland crown scrunched on,

spritely and meadow-free,

a dandelion cradled, held

in the smoothest palm

of the most resonant hand,

puff, poof, I’m gone.

Merely a flimsy whimsy thrown

by the pebbles, to the ground,

skipped over and stepped upon                                                    

precious trinket unseen

glimmering in the sun,

I shimmy and shimmer

to find my treasure,

like so many ships

slipped out of their slip,

circling, lost at sea,

journeys bequeathed,

for one girl or woman,

just like me,

I believe

God needs.                                                                      

As an ivory cameo rests,

her features forever in repose,

perpetually calm,

we carry on.

So, about my song

should I even get started?

on the sound I make

when I give charity

the fluidity of melody

my coins are heralding

in the Heavens

oh, but would if I could

hear the trumpets, the drumbeat,

the insidious rhythm so natural

to the heart of me

would if I could hear

that I believe

God needs me

all that is around me

here in me

and I dance

ever moving, shaking

shaking, shaking

the maracas in my head

can you hear it, too?

Such bliss, the waves,                                                         

the beads, the most

perfect pearl,

prayers rising aglow

freshly dusted like snow

angels’ wings

we make, grow, sing

breathe upon the air

balloons flying off

to nowhere, colors now everywhere,

I believe

there is no telling

where you might find it                                                

in the noise, in the quiet

your essence matters

with form or without it,

your poem-song-need,

the quintessential seed,

Those Loving arms

are yours, hold on now,

you know you’ve got it.

COPYRIGHT 2010 Dana Janine Diamond  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

Bobbing for Apples in Hard Times

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           by Dana Janine Diamond

I’ve had a craving

all day

for a cup of red lentil Minestrone

at the Eden Cafe

I’m immersed in Hass’s

The Apple Trees at Olema

chosen because it’s

Rosh Hashana, the new year.

My head is leaning in

taking poetry by the teeth

spooning on honey

from the sorrel tree,

to infuse, offer

succor from its redolence,

traveling through the spicy sagebrush

as I savor silky leeks, savory tomatoes, and soft sweet potatoes.

We tatterdemalion, pretty poets,

who wouldn’t want to be,

ahem…read a Poet Laureate?

I have to write

while I still have time

it’s the night

before Yom Kippur

have I awakened from our dream?

A blond-headed girl suddenly

lets out a loud, piercing sound

a unison call of the whooping crane,

startling me from my reverie,

her father glances at her,

“I’ll behave, Daddy,” she says.

I smile in complicity,

wishing to emit

letters from the arc of the ellipse

to sing us from slumber,

a parade of others

with downs syndrome, autism, special needs,

whatever we call different these days,

stream by accompanied

by guffaws, utterances, greetings

the girl and I wave,

Rebecca, I discover,

she boldly walks over, shakes

my hand and introduces herself.

“Now you know me?”

“Now you know me.”

“Now you know me!”

She exclaims with her hand on her heart.

Hope has arisen in mine,

a blessing from her pristine, holy soul.

I feel purified,

my metaphorical crumbs

swirling in the creek

for symbolic birds and swift fish to feed,

the hush of moving water

slips in between

peaceful pebbles,

tangled branches of leaves still green

hovering, these souls

marching before me

are my mikveh,

a second time in, and

tashlich revisited, revolving…

spinning sins into kindness,

these angels limping, helped along

by watchful parents, unsure aids, silver walkers,

their lopsided smiles

only only only

because the world is turned

upside down,

a dream within a dream.

An old man, stooped over,

his back curved into a hump,

is carefully washing a container

in the sink at the condiment station,

not shy, a large lime green kippa

clipped merrily atop his head,

above a twinkle in his eye,

a wild printed shirt and wide plaid pants,

cinched in with care

in contrast to his frail body,

something in his air

evokes Elijah, hints

at a hidden tzaddik;

despite his garish ensemble,

he manages to retain his dignity

as he shuffles lightly to his table,

in a honeycombed rhythm,

a kind of remembered grace

enhancing his step,

I close my book,

ready myself to leave,

resolve not to miss

my chance

in the Book of Life,

I wish him a Sweet New Year,

pause as he looks up,

no Tamerlane moment here,

he reveals his toothless grin,

responds, “You sure look beautiful tonight.”

“Why, thank you, um…what’s your name?”

“It’s Bob.”

“You’re real sexy,” he continues,

“Can we have dinner sometime?”

Shaking my head, I turn to go,

(I, who am covered head to toe)

turn again, “how old are you,

if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Old enough to know better

and young enough

not to give a damn!”

He interrupts his chortling

to add, “85!”

Ah, I see where I’m headed, Bob,

but I’m not there yet.

He reminds me a little

of my father, of blessed memory,

who would have turned ninety-three

this Yom Kippur,

what was that like for his mother, I wonder,

to be in labor, give birth, on the holiest of days…

he came to me once in a dream

he was floating in a canoe

on the stillness of the lake

tendering words of fatherly love,

in life, he talked of the future,

in death, he spoke only of the present.

And birth and death and the small

i in between,

begs the question,

are we as we seem?

I’m in love with truth,

if you can’t speak it, be it,

don’t waste my time, know

I will not forsake my birthright,

mine is a poet’s birthday, a poet’s namesake,

and tonight, the apples, an auspicious beginning.

*Written Eruv Yom Kippur 5772, October 7-8, 2011 (the week of Steve Job’s passing.)

COPYRIGHT 2011 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

 

False Imprisonment

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 by Dana Janine Diamond 

We ask for Mercy

extending forgiveness

like an old tree branch

bending toward the river,

leaves flowing by

currents confusing,

we know it’s our only  prospect

at getting to Grace.

We beg for clemency

agreeing that decency

is the salient, saving factor

in our long climb out

the chance we took

to escape from our own

little prisons,

we ran, we crawled,

we leaped, we sang,

unsure if the doors clanging

shut – would signal

our capture

or release.

At the break of day

the whispered question

“Do I regret…?”

“We’ll see…”

the non-committal response.

Breaking free

was a gambit

which didn’t work

as long as we really longed

to return

Lying awake at night

hearing the message

the echo of keys

the crush of the heart,

other sighs,

in this day,

the bar is set

just a little too wide

it’s all too effortless

to slip in and out

if I had known

how easily you would give me up

I would not have joined in

this fickle crime.

I read random books

eat tasteless food

whether it’s raining

or hot as hell

outside

I am here

remembering the sound of you,

the catch in your voice,

like the turn of the tumbler

the whoosh

of the picked lock

I am here

waiting inside.

My cells

carry the memory

of screams and howls

and mass cheers

for public tortures and executions

for bodies twisted into hideous shapes

for emaciated sticks passing for human beings

for burned homes and gassed bodies

for uniformed men torching

our place of worship, our stores,

our books.

stealing silver and jewels,

terrorizing our children and mothers,

taking our boys to drown

tearing apart families

just as easily as limbs

scattering us to the winds

and ashes.

I can smell the stench of charred skin

feel the pain of the missing layer,

the scars of sin.

There is a Jewish proverb,

“What soap is to the body,

tears are for the soul.”

Shower, shower, shower.

Oh, my G-d, I cry out to you,

you have given me a gifted life,

a life of privilege

I have always known who I am

when I was interrupted

on a busy street, on a busy, cold day,

from walking a quick pace toward my neighborhood,

wearing my grandmother’s fur coat,

over (my own) mini-dress and fishnets,

I was asked,

“Excuse me, are you Jewish?”

I came to a standstill.

Strangers rushed past

as we stood on the sidewalk,

facing each other,

no one seemed to spare us a glance,

or paused to witness

the internal commotion.

“What’s it to you?” I sassed.

“The Rebbe wants to wish you

a Happy Chanukah!”

and with that, this young rabbi,

in black hat and garb,

whisked out a black rectangular box,

with a gold tin menorah inside.

I could not and did not hide my delight.

I rushed on, looking forward

to the nights ahead

of fierce light.

How fortunate my life is,

that I am handed a tin, gold menorah,

not a tin, gold Star of David.

Yet years would pass,

‘til I would find my way home.

It’s been ages

since I first embraced You.

been loved and teased,

held peals of laughter in my palms,

been gathered up in warm arms,

if I listen to the soft persuasion

of beguiling voices,

it is my freedom

that opens the door

to this false prison.

Still, even moving sideways

lying down, hiding, writing,

talking, we stumble forward praying,

getting to Grace.

So far, my heart beats strong,

resisting beatings and broken bones,

nerve damage,

all inclement weather.

I do not give up on You,

You do not give up on me.

COPYRIGHT 2011 Dana Janine Diamond  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

All Things Bitter

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    by  Dana Janine Diamond 

At the root

this chicory

cannot hold on

blossom into a full

head of all

that’s wrong

no small coco

or coffee bean

will resist

a little sweetening

like quinine

which is not quite

the tonic

or bright lime

the bark and rind

will be peeled

away

away, away,

raise up and away

where constellations lay,

sweetness holds sway

in the open sky

bitterroot flowers

and berry seeds

rock rose

to mother’s

crowning glory

and God turns tears

into joy for

all things bitter

will not include me

neither sick nor small minds

will bring low

for long

petal growing wild

you can hold

your own

amidst the lupines.

COPYRIGHT 2011 Dana Janine Diamond  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

Weights and Measures

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  by Dana Janine Diamond 

I’ve been methodically

weighing this out

measuring the pain

hard to see

in the darkness

fighting shadows

truth could be

shedding a new light

but we live

in a world

of lies

waiting

will truth set us free

how do we measure

freedom

If I measured

all the little deaths

I might be linking together

gum wrappers

for many miles

some say

Starbursts work just

as well

but I digress

from that which most

would just rather not face

and so I’m left

apparently much of center

to think

that truth matters

weighing the choice

between silence

and courage

just shut up girl

isn’t that the way

we keep the chain going

I’ve been carefully

weighing and measuring

the feeling of

being punched in the face

repeatedly by a man

wearing a yarmulke and tzitzis

holding my baby

punching me again

and again

and again

until my cheekbone is shattered

until my baby’s skull is nearly crashed into a wall

until my head covering is knocked off mine

so minor in comparison

the snap of the fist hitting flesh

held a breathless moment

of clarity

while he counted down

the seconds I had

to save our lives

Years gone by,

I’m carefully weighing

and measuring

which is worse

broken cheekbone

or broken heart

one man

or many

I remember his mother

coming to my bedroom

hours later

telling me to lie

to go away

so no one would know.

I called a holy man

to hear what I knew

deep down inside

he said speak the truth

and we’re alive

I suppose I’m still waiting

all these years later

for holiness to arise

for the answer

that should not have a question

this feels worse

I can’t breathe

in this darkness

I can’t raise

my child

to believe

she’s like gum under your shoe

a discarded wrapper easily tossed aside

I’m carefully

weighing and measuring

the noise, the whispers,

the voice of the soul

the stars in the sky

desperate to be heard

shh! a voice needs to be heard

don’t run with the herd

don’t run away

don’t stand down or back away

from facing the

truth is bold

and cannot be measured

just the tiniest match

will overcome darkness.

COPYRIGHT 2011 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

After the Snow

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by Dana Janine Diamond  

We are dazzled

gazing up

we see You

in the light falling

if we look hard

we see Your gentle

wonder, bursts of Glory,

we are angels

for a time

and when it melts

all the pain and sorrow

with a burning star

we will find

the jewels

waiting to be shown

off.

We trudge, we push,

we lead the sled down

and up again

but You,

You bring the hill

before us,

You cover us

with light

so that it permeates

the center

of our being

so that our breast

is no longer weary

so that our skin glows

with mother’s milk

and honey, Your gift to us.

After the snow,

we remember

if we’re clever,

the manna

melting stars on our tongue

snow like breast milk in song

copper mirrors dancing

drifts of undulating deserts

shtetl mothers milking

praise waiting

to be uttered.

~ written with Ronit’s recovery in mind.

COPYRIGHT 2012 Dana Janine Diamond  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com