I once was a slave.
To other masters, certainly;
But mostly to myself,
And that was the tragedy.
I did not rise with the day.
I did not rise with anything:
(When one is constantly down
One does not easily get up).
And if I did set with the night,
I definitely did not set right.
I slaved in many forms and conforms:
Chains came in infinite verities, fences
In countless patterns. I was locked into
A certain mentality, jailed in a prison
Where I was the key – and barred from
My own self.
I am no longer ashamed –
I once was a slave.
These are the journeys of
The Children of Israel
Who left the land of Egypt
I have long since left slavery behind me;
From the land of con-strained breathing
To the land of broad horizons, I have
Journeyed long and hard: long not necessarily
In tape measures; hard not necessarily in surfaces.
Now I travel light –
Darkness has no place on these roads.
I travel light but also carry a lot of weight.
These are the journeys…
Not journey singular; journeys plural.
I once was a slave
And if I stop now I will become a slave again.
One journey from slavery makes me free only
Until that freedom becomes the norm, then its
Time to move on and become free again: that’s
The way freedom works – once it stops being
It stops being.
We are people in flux, people of flow ‘n’ ebb:
What may be freedom for a slave can be slavery
For a master, what may be new and exciting to a
Novice may be dull and arbitrary to an expert –
Growth never stops, lest it be known on the street
No matter how much one accomplished yesterday,
‘Tis still a confine in the light of what one can do today.
A journey begins, a journey ends – only to begin again.
A book begins, a book ends – only to begin again.
A journey, a book begins:
G-d spoke to Moshe
In the Wilderness of Sinai
In the desert wilderness many journeys,
Through birth and childhood, adolescence
And adulthood, parenthood and mid-life
Crisis, graying hair and satisfaction, old-
Age and young spirit, we’ve journeyed
And journey on…
A journey, a book ends:
In the plains of Moab
At the Jordan, by Jericho
Finally to reach the river, the
Border of the Land of Promise
The Promised Land…
A journey, a book begins again
Be strong! Be strong! And may we be strengthened!
Chazak Chazak V’nitchazek
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.