Once we sang the blustery tunes
of a people bloated on happy promises.
Now, we wait, the words long forgotten
of songs happier still but too faint
to make any difference.
Once we told tales of kings and giants,
maidens and madmen, serpents and swords
walls that crumbled and glories won.
Now, we inhale the night stars of a brittle,
unfamiliar sky into lungs long dry,
heaving for the breath of Heaven.
Once we sang in dulcet tones
with brothers strong, and sisters proud
the songs, full-throated of Yahweh’s arm,
God’s nurturing wings of holy enchantment.
Now, entombed in raspy voices, we sing,
unpracticed in liberating sounds.
We have lost more than a note or two,
suspended as we are
between the music of here and there,
once and again,
Gehenna and Gabriel,
ranting and ruach.
Once we sang a single song.
Now, too many disparate notes vie
for heart and hearth and the demands of presence,
too dim to matter, too far to see, too good to hope for.
Joseph’s bones still cry out from Egypt,
the one with onions, olives and overflowing fullnesses,
not the one the skinny prophets told us to avoid.
Broken reeds too weak to hold up heads
too bored, too forgotten to feel shame.
Even that would be better than
these furrowed grey skies, frowning in apathetic non-wonder.
Lately, we’ve heard rumors of a man
and his pregnant mistress.
Some girl from who knows where
who talks with angels.