How to Begin Five Days You Couldn’t Possibly Explain to Anyone Else

These poems are offered free for your enjoyment. If you use them as part of an event, meeting, educational or liturgical setting, please consider tipping the author.

Share this poem:

for the Barechu

Here we are
from every corner of the earth
which is the strangest way to put it since
we all seem to agree the earth is round.

But we are open, open to the idea that there are corners
that Israel is a corner
that Australia is a corner
that Van Nuys is a corner

Last night in Chicago I was at a corner.
A man wanted bus fare and we gave him food.
At first he wasn’t open to it but it’s what we do.
Restaurant leftovers while traveling.

I can’t tell you how many times we’ve
brought leftovers onto the streets of a new city
so sure we’d find someone who wanted them
only to carry the bag for miles

as if the very act of bringing leftovers to the hungry
cured the city of hunger. It was a new experience
for us and for him. But openness prevailed
and a handshake sent us all on our way.

On our way to here.
To this five days
to this harmonious unknown.
Be prepared for anything.
You might offer someone food and

it turns out they’re gluten free or, on a no-food diet.
(I’d like to see that as an option on the registration form next year.)
You might offer someone a song and
they might take it with them. Or not.

This is the one set of five days where
it is better to receive than to give.
So walk in this tent.
You can approach from any angle.

and welcome here from all your corners
Don’t try to quantify it.
No one will get it anyway.
There is only this.
We are the hungry
looking for our spiritual bus fare.

Are you ready to pray?
Yes, I am ready to pray.

These poems are offered free for your enjoyment. If you use them as part of an event, meeting, educational or liturgical setting, please consider tipping the author.

Share this poem: