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Kol Nidrei: A Poem

Kol Nidrei: A Poem

Young child blowing a shofar against a black background

I heard Kol Nidrei on a violin tonight.
They should take all legal documents
and set them to music.

All vows –
This legal document
written in unholy language

a prenuptial agreement
for our inevitable failing.
This relationship with

the year itself
a contract awaiting
the biggest signature.

Please, cancel my subscription
but charge my card anyway.
I don’t deserve the content.

Every promise I make
a guaranteed broken one
between today and

a year’s worth of
Jewish days from now.
The next time the shofar

is dusted off,
we’ll have this conversation again.
Forgive me this year

and last year and next.
Forgive everyone who ever
stood at the mountain.

Forgive our promises
our oaths, our vows, all vows
You made the whole world

and on this day and every day
You knew this would happen.
​Pardon me. Please.

Rick Lupert is a songleader, poet and graphic designer in Los Angeles who has been involved with L.A. poetry since 1990. He created the Poetry Super Highway and has hosted the weekly Cobalt Cafe reading since 1994. He’s authored 21 collections of poetry, including God Wrestler and Donut Famine, and edited A Poet’s Siddur, A Poet’s Haggadah, the Noir anthology The Night Goes on All Night, and Ekphrastia Gone Wild under his imprint Ain’t Got No Press. He is regularly featured at venues throughout Southern California and works as a music teacher and graphic designer for anyone who would like to help pay his mortgage.

Rick Lupert is a Southern California poet, songleader and graphic designer. He is the author of the book God Wrestler: A Poem for Every Torah Portion, along with 22 other collections of poetry. He met his wife at the Reform Jewish Movement’s songleader retreat Hava Nashira Songleading and Music Institute, which he has attended every year since 1996. Rick lives with his wife, 10-year-old son Jude, and five cats (which apparently is more cats than he legally should have). Visit him on the web at

Rick Lupert

Published: 10/03/2019

Categories: Jewish Holidays, Yom Kippur, Practice, Prayers & Blessings, Spirituality
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