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Stacey Zisook Robinson

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Birds flying against a stark white sky as if to represent serenity

I have always loved the story that the rabbis tell, that they decided to place Psalm 150 as the last of the psalms because they knew that after all the words have been said, what is left to praise God is music - the timbrels and shofars and rhythms of song. And it ends with the joyous command, "Let everything that breathes praise God!"

I wrote this poem in honor of a dear man, a beloved pillar of my synagogue who died last week, thinking "after the words, after the music, after our very breath - what comes after that we can continue to praise God?"

A Psalm: A Song of Beauty... Read More

Open hand reaching skyward into the sunshine

Written several years ago, this poem about Parashat Balak is among my favorites...  

I meant to curse You. I opened my lips Past the borders of my fear And felt the curse rise in my throat. Like the sun, It's heat burned And lit me from within. Oh! I meant to curse You. Instead there was a song: Diffuse and Round, A glory of light and dark Together. Rising like glory, And cold, And silver. Rising like wonder And reflected joy. I meant to curse you Instead I called out Your name.

Eagle flying in sky in which sun is setting behind clouds

In this week’s Torah portion, B'haalot'cha (which means “to raise [the lamps], Miriam falls ill with “scales.” In response, “Moses cried out to the Eternal saying, ‘O God, pray heal her!’” This poem is my own prayer for healing.

To Rise

Let me rest this body that has known pain yet still it slips into numbness. Let me rise, Your right hand to guide me and place healing on my lips, tasting of sweetness and sky. Oh, let me rise!

I want to soothe this caged-wing soul, loose feathered and desperate, let go the moments that slip through withering and dull, so that I can no...

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Partial view of woman's pink silky skirt with gold beading hanging from the tiers

That blush on my cheek? It's paint, And I have glittered my eyes And robed myself in the finery of silk and gossamer, lapis and gold-- And whored myself for your salvation. You asked for no thoughts. You merely offered my body to the king-- My life forfeit If my beauty failed. You asked for no ideas And I gave you none, Though I had a thousand, And ten thousand more. Diplomacy was played on the field of my body, The battle won in the curve of my hip And the satin of my skin, Fevered dreams of lust And redemption. That blush on my cheeks? It is the stain of victory And of my shame.

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Person in shadow facing the sunshine arms up in a gesture of openness and gratitude

With all that is happening in our world today, I find it difficult, at times, to be thankful. Still, I believe our Judaism calls us to both partner with God to repair what is broken, and to give thanks for the whole of our lives.

Sing Hallelujah Sing praise and shout hallelujah, as bullets sing their siren song and death is never far; and sing praise while fires rage and children fall silent

behind barbed wire fences, and children fall silent with bellies distended, and children fall silent as their homes are devoured, and they race against monsters and time. Sing praise,...

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