by Sue Swartz (Bloomington, IN)
Be careful to perform all the words of this Torah, for it is not
an empty thing for you, it is your life…
I would welcome an easy forgetting, if not for the words.
I would pass up allotment and ceremony, but never the words.
Presence/Absence, glory & thunder, text with great resiliency:
Velvet-wrapped, indelibly inked, my self bows before the words.
From birth, a tribalist: daughter with broad receptivity –
I lie down and rise up with the sweet imperfection of these words.
Ancient scrolls stay alive with impudent twists of commentary.
I turn and turn the story, and the story (in turn) turns my words.
Transcendence doesn’t really interest me, nor does equanimity.
I prefer uproar, wild beasts set loose in the Garden of Words.
The believer in me is undecided, often racked with deniability.
Agnostic though I may be, I do not believe these are useless words.
Oh – to be the prime redactor, creator of numinous biography.
Lowly poet, heretical follower, I wrestle headstrong with the words.
Distracted and doubting this afternoon, still here I am, hineni.
Perilous to live like this, can’t stop swooning over the words.
The prophet’s heart is a raging fire, helpless before God’s word.
I’d burn too, wander alone in wilderness – were it not for the words.
Sue Swartz is a poet, essayist, and social justice activist living in Bloomington, Indiana. Her two blogs reflect her current passions and writing projects: Torah, tattoos, and truth are the focus of Awkward Offerings (http://swartzsue.wordpress.com/), while musings on work and workers is featured on Chop Wood, Carry Water (http://cwcw.wordpress.com/).