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An Absence of Color and Light: A Poem for Tishah B'Av

An Absence of Color and Light: A Poem for Tishah B'Av

We sat among the willows,
and we wept,
there by the river
that flowed
clear and cold and swift,
--branches dancing,
barely dancing--
as they swayed
and swept the ground.

We stood among the weeping trees,
Prayers mixed with
visions of ash.
and smoke
that rose and billowed,
Black against purple-stained blue
-- the blue of periwinkles
and royalty--
and a sky smudged with soot and
an absence of color
and Light,
and the altars we had left behind.

How can we sing
with no stone walls
adorned with lapis and gold:
-- the blue of royalty
and the blaze of the sun--
How,
before that pillar of fire,
that billowing smoke
that is empty of God
and absent of Light?
That raged in a fiery, metallic storm,
licking at loose rubble,
that once was strong walls,
that once was adorned with
the presence of God?

We wept,
and did not sing,
and found no music
in our unstrung lyres
and broken harps.
We wept,
for how could we sing?

And after the weeping
and the fire
and the absent,
Empty,
broken altars--
Pale morning.
and skies of purple-stained blue
shot through with scarlet and gold.
Mist tangled in those willows,
their branches dancing--
barely dancing--
barely skimming the swiftly flowing waters.

A moment--
A breathless,
silent
sacred moment.
that was a psalm,
A hymn of color,
and holiness
Made anew.
And there was no absence.
And there was light.

And there,
among the willows
by that swiftly flowing river,
We found a new prayer
And sang.

Stacey Zisook Robinson is a member of Congregation Hakafa in Glencoe, IL. She blogs at Stumbling Towards Meaning and is the author of a collection of poems and essays, Dancing in the Palm of God's Hand.

Stacey Zisook Robinson
Source:

Published: 7/15/2013

Categories: Jewish Holidays, Tishah B'Av
Tags:
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