Eyes why’d hopin’…
Hopin’ for anything, for something:
A purpose to be, a reason to believe.
They look but don’t see; only black-
And-white flashes of shattered images
Tear-soaked: Dignity crawling in the gut-
Ter, soaking coat dragged through muddy
Puddle, weighing down the frailty that
Once was upright and proud; Royalty
Limping over to an alley dumpster, pre-
Paring a feast fit for a rat off its moldy
Offerings; Innocence selling itself on
The corner to the highest bidder and
The lowest scum; Holiness burning in
Its own home, spit on by its own children,
Kicked by its own shoes, buried by its
Own earth in its own garden – its very
Own prayer shawl, a shroud.
Images flashing; not easy to comprehend and so:
Pupils (and teachers too) blur with watery sadness;
So sad, too sad and it trembles over the lid, rolls
Down the cheek in teasing slow-motion, never coming
To a stop but going further, deeper into parts that do not
Know inks, letters, words – and so they shall be and remain
A tear, a rip
Eyes don’t lie
(Some even say they are visionaries) –
And from this point of view
It’s just too hard to look
Eyes, too tired, close
Heart, too raw, closes
So closed, yet so far away…
I present before you today
A blessing and a curse
But how can He?
He Who represents all that is blessed
And good, holy and pure, true and
Real – how can He present before
Us, to us, within us…
(Present? Do such presents come gift-
Wrapped and with an intricate bow?)
See and be seen:
So many years, slaves, destroyed, wounds
Dripping, scars never really calloused and
So our eyes have closed, we have forgotten
How to see a blessing (and, tell me, who can
Blame us – ‘tis better to see nothing at all than
To look upon our loved ones hurt and hurting)
Oh, we can still look at facades and borders,
Don’t worry; it’s just that we have forgotten
How to see through them and deeper – we’ve
Forgotten what purity, holiness looks like.
O, but have we really forgotten how to see or
Have we merely closed our eyes, a weary traveler
Coming to the end of his journey, coming so close
Open your eyes, sweet child, and see through the pain,
Through the curses and into the joys, the blessings clear
And lucid everywhere you’d just care to look – what, do
You for even an unholy moment think He, He who is Real,
Who is Reality and Truth, would present us with curses
Without presenting us first with the flame to uncover their
Blessings? What is a curse, a challenge, if not G-d saying:
I believe in you, I trust in you, I know you can take anything
And make it everything; I know you can take that which may
Seem like a problem and make it a solution, I know you can
Look at a broken body and see a complete, always complete
Eyes see whatever we open them to –
Don’t you think it’s past time we did?
It is a see-through world in which we live.
The only question is:
What do we see and what do we see through?
Mendel Jacobson is a writer, poet and journalist living in Brooklyn. His weekly poetry can be seen at jakeyology.blogspot.com
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.
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