Oh, Do Not Give Me Sunrise

 

 

Oh, do not give me sunrise

and day beguiled

with ripening smiles, delivered safe

dawning of dismissal

from a brighter sphere

shrunk to oblivion

in the womb of night

the sea's bloodbath gilded with promise

 

And do not give me sunrise

on teasing cusp

of an epiphany that cannot wax

amidst a galaxy

of solipsist worlds

whose ebbing heartbeats

crave unpolluted air

and epic rest and consummation

  

Oh, do not give me sunrise

apprehensions

of things that might and mustn't come to grief

tales of fair Avalon

unreached, and longings

withered to a fault

for want of nurture

in furrowed field at season's sowing

 

Pray, do not give me sunrise

with ravelled skeins

of untold histories and mysteries

designs untapestried

to be single-stitched

by fumbling fingers

in taut laboured hours

eyeless in Gaza and as a slave

 

But rather grant me sundown's laurels

blood fire-consumed!

an Indian Summer of the senses

spent flesh telling, spirit

hailing the far shore

shuffling loose the coil

while mystic music

in surround sound shuns costly cadence

 

 

 

 

 (New edition November 2016)

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The Last Summer Visitor

 

Our last summer weekend was made special by a quick Friday-Saturday visit from our granddaughter Leslie from Nashville. Somehow her guitar had ended up at Woodsong for her to avoid taking it on a plane, and now she needed it. I was delighted she was coming to claim it with time for me to catch up with her life. It is invigorating to talk to young adults whose lives are full of activities, goals, and with years left ahead to achieve the goals. I am in the stage of life where I am crossing off goals and ambitions—not because they have been achieved but because they are no longer possible or sometimes even desirable. (For example, I always wanted to travel to Europe. It was a lifetime goal. Although I still wish I had done it, I would not now want to have to be at the airport at such and such a time. I no longer want to walk in strange foreign cities. Nor in American cities for that matter. I do not have that kind of energy or strong legs anymore.) But I love listening to stories my grandchildren tell me about their busy lives.

 

 

 

I love visualizing their travels and their careers and their fixing up of apartments and first homes. Vicarious living through real live people is much more satisfying than vicarious living through reading although that too is very pleasant. And, of course, if those real live people are ones you have watched from babyhood on, the interest and pleasure is even greater. So Gerald, Leslie,and I talked and heard about Mike's new career—he couldn't come because he is on day shift right now with the Nashville police. We heard about their plans for the renovation of the three upstairs rooms they have really not used in the three years they have lived in their first purchased home. I loved hearing about their interactions with kids driving in their neat neighborhood, close to heart of Nashville.

 

 

 

After staying up visiting a little later than usual, Gerald went on to bed Friday night, and Leslie was kind enough to continue our talking, which we also did on Saturday morning. She knew I would be interested in her planned trip to New York City to sing someone's song there at a conference. And, of course, I liked hearing about yet another interaction with someone connected to Hamilton. I believe it was the guy playing Thomas Jefferson who came to Nashville for some reason or other and she got to sing with him. And she knew I would be thrilled that the young man from Cairo, who was in the New York production, will now be playing the lead in Chicago. I am hoping on one of her trips to her hometown of Freeport, that she can get tickets for the Chicago show. Then she will have another story to tell me.

 

 

 

We both slept late Saturday morning and had breakfast coffee together as we talked. I fixed her one of our customary one-second eggs with her toast and told her to teach Mike so he can have an egg when she needs to sleep late on Saturdays and he is just coming in from work when he is on the night shift.

 

 

 

All too soon she had to get back on the road even though I had a new chicken recipe (pineapple marinade) cooking in the oven. Mike would be off work at 3 and they would go to lunch together then. She would use the driving time back to Nashville to think about the worship service songs she was to lead the next day.

 

 

 

I am grateful for today's young adults and love it when they share their modern ways of living with me. One reason I am not as fearful of the future as some are is because I respect and admire today's young adults. We are leaving some big problems for them to solve, and Gerald is concerned about that and so am I. I wish our generation had solved more problems—especially the national debt. Yet I suspect the newer adults will do better with those problems than we have.

 

 

 

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Winter Sky

To live aboard in winter is not so

Easy. Nothing stems the frigid flow

And cold creeps in from stern to bow

And hail is hell on bright work, as is snow.

Yet here I am, with no place else to go.

 

Ice has calmed the waves, and I remain

Frozen in this fragile brittle plain,

Afraid to move, or never move again.

The bulkhead groans from the relentless strain

Of closure, of entrapment, in the main.

 

But still in winter is the yielding sky

That holds more stars than I can wonder why.

 

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The Natural Bigot: The Case Of The Chief Of Israeli Police

I believe that there is a little bigot inside each and everyone of us who makes us suspicious of those who are different. But with maturity and proper upbringing most of us learn to control the beast and keep it controlled.

Unfortunately sometimes that bigot is not contained, then, like cancer, it grows too big and takes over. A scary example is the shady character of the rapper The Shadow (Ha’tsel Yoav Eliasi) with his hateful declarations and vile outbursts especially against Arabs and the left.

But although The Shadow is quite popular and has thousands of followers on social media, who chant after him "death to the Arabs, I personally don’t know anyone who takes him seriously. It seems that he is yet another shameful manifestation of the new Likkud, similarly to the violent ultra right wing La Familia soccer thugs in the Jerusalem team of Beitar.

But when the  Chief of Israeli Police Roni Alasheich speaks like a bigot in a conference of the Israeli bar association, then it is a serious matter. When asked why the police uses excessive violence toward Ethiopian youth, the chief explained that “in all studies around the world, with no exception, it was found that immigrants and youth are more involved in criminal activities than other segments in the population.

Of course there is no reason to use excessive violence toward anyone, but, in addition to that axiom, there are several other problems with Alesheich's scholarly argument. First, he has not checked every study, without exception. Second, those young Israelis are not "immigrants," as most of them were born in this country. Third, even if they immigrated as children with their families, here we don’t regard new immigrants  as "migrants," but welcome them home to Israel.

Based on that research Alsheich’s concludes that it is “natural” for a policeman to be more suspicious of an Ethiopian youth than, for example, of his “typical” Israeli counterpart.

Here lies the real problem, while it is almost brave for the chief of Israeli police to admit that the police has a bias against Ethiopian youth, the word natural should not be condoned or mentioned in that connection. What he should have said, and done, instead was to declare that in order to cure that prejudice within the Israeli police force, he initiated an educational program to teach policemen about diversity and cultural sensitivity.

As a religious Jew Roni Alsheich should be more attuned to the rampant discrimination against Ethiopian Jews within his own community. He must be aware of the fact  that for years children of Ethiopian new immigrants have been sent to state religious school where they were never accepted as equals.

Like many other policemen on the force, our chief of police is biased. Thus it would be advisable for him to attend a cultural sensitivity workshop as soon as possible. As his first assignment he could write a proper apology to the Ethiopian community. In addition, he should make sure that in the meantime someone with proper training goes over his statements so he doesn’t continue to step on everyone’s toes.

 

The post appeared in the Times Of Israel

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/the-natural-bigot-the-case-of-the-chief-of-israeli-police/

 

The link to my other essay about Ethiopian Jews in Israel

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/ethiopian-jews-are-not-welcome/

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Manservant - another variation!
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