Tag Archives: God

Prayer, Anyone?

by Mel Glenn (Brooklyn, NY)

When the fate of the world
lies not in our own hands,
when chaos is loosed upon the land,
can the power of prayer
move mountains and men?

Can appeal to the heavens
restrain madmen from their fury?

Would that the weight of all prayers,
Jewish and otherwise,
tip the scales in favor of sanity.

When bombs rained down in WWII,
when people were herded into camps,
when others in charge carve our destinies,
when disasters, man-made or natural, strike now,
the only recourse in our own hands comes
when those hands clasp together in prayer.

I may be the paragon of doubt,
a stranger to formal ritual,
but when catastrophe throws its thunderbolt,
I am the first to utter, “Oh, my God!”
and proceed to direct my prayers skyward.

Do you not do the same?

The author of twelve books for young adults, Mel Glenn has lived nearly all his life in Brooklyn, NY, where he taught English at A. Lincoln High School for thirty-one years. Lately, he’s been writing poetry, and you can find his most recent poems in the YA anthology, This Family Is Driving Me Crazy, edited by M. Jerry Weiss.

If you’d like to learn more about his work, visit: http://www.melglenn.com/

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Filed under American Jewry, poetry

Of Death and Coffee

by Mel Glenn (Brooklyn, NY)

So, three older Jewish guys

are sitting around a table

at an older Jewish restaurant

talking about death.

It’s the subject of some worried inquiry

as all three approach the finish line.

“Jews don’t believe in heaven,” says the first man.

“Your soul lives on after you,” says the next.

“Perhaps,” says the third, “the big surprise

is there is absolutely nothing – gornisht.”

“You mean this is all there is?” the first one asks.

“Could be,” replies the second.

“Maybe it’s like this,” the third man says,

“just ten minutes before you die,

you get a message, like an e-mail, from God,

telling you exactly what’s gonna happen.”

“That would be nice,” the first man agrees.

The three men stare into their coffees,

each one contemplating his own mortality,

together as friends facing the dreadful uncertainty.

“Same time next week?”

“God willing.”

The author of twelve books for young adults, Mel Glenn has lived nearly all his life in Brooklyn, NY, where he taught English at A. Lincoln High School for thirty-one years.  Lately, he’s been writing poetry, and you can find his most recent poems in the YA anthology, This Family Is Driving Me Crazy, edited by M. Jerry Weiss.

If you’d like to learn more about his work, visit: http://www.melglenn.com/

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Filed under American Jewry, Jewish identity, Jewish writing, poetry

I Can’t Promise

by Natalie Zellat Dyen (Huntington Valley, PA)

I can’t promise that people will be kind.

But I can show you a reservoir of kindness
where anyone can dip their cup.

I can’t promise you happiness every day of your life.
But I can plant seedlings in your garden
that burst with joy in springtime.

I can’t promise you undying friendship.
But I can give you the words
to mend shattered bonds.

I can’t promise there’s a world to come.
But I can give you the tools you need
to fix the world that is.

I can’t promise that those you love will love you back.
But I can give you an open heart
to receive love when it comes.

And if you can’t promise to use all your gifts
At least you can promise to try.

Natalie Zellat Dyen is a freelance writer and photographer living in Huntingdon Valley, PA. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia Stories, The Willow Review, Global Woman Magazine, Intercom Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Schuylkill Valley Journal, and other newspapers and journals. Links to Natalie’s published work are available atwww.nataliewrites.com.

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Union Square Chess

by Mel Glenn (Brooklyn, NY)

“Sit down, son, and play a game of chess.”
“I’m not very good at it.”
“This is not a tournament, just a game.”
“Of chess?”
“No, of life.”
“I seemed to have forgotten basic strategy.”
“Well, you can forget about all that.
You think you can plan your moves?
Only the Grandmaster can do that.”
“There’s a celestial Grandmaster?”
“You bet there is. He sets up the board,
but it’s up to you to play the game.”
“But what if I make a mistake?”
“No problem. Everybody screws up once in a while.
You just have to play your game, straight through.”
“That’s it?”
“That’s all there is to it.
Just sit down and play.
You’ll do fine. Just decide what moves to make,
but don’t forget, He controls the board.
Your move, son, the clock is ticking.”

The author of twelve books for young adults, Mel Glenn has lived nearly all his life in Brooklyn, NY, where he taught English at A. Lincoln High School for thirty-one years.  Lately, he’s been writing poetry, and you can find his most recent poems in a new YA anthology, This Family Is Driving Me Crazy,  edited by M. Jerry Weiss.

If you’d like to learn more about his work, visit: http://www.melglenn.com/

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Loss of Grace

by Mel Glenn (Brooklyn, NY)

The perfect metaphor, you think?
The missing word in my crossword puzzle,
G-R-A-C-E,
a word I couldn’t get,
a quality I don’t have.
How many other words
have I missed in my life?
L-O-V-E?
C-O-M-P-A-S-S-I-O-N?
P-U-R-P-O-S-E?
Apparently, I don’t understand the clues,
and my penciled answers
are constantly erased in self-doubt.
Understanding the overall theme of this puzzle,
lies outside my up and down comprehension.
I would like to receive the full measure of Your grace
to finish this rather incomplete puzzle
with a bold pen stroke of assurance.

The author of twelve books for young adults, Mel Glenn has lived nearly all his life in Brooklyn, NY, where he taught English at A. Lincoln High School for thirty-one years.  Lately, he’s been writing poetry, and you can find his most recent poems in a new YA anthology, This Family Is Driving Me Crazy,  edited by M. Jerry Weiss.

If you’d like to learn more about his work, visit: http://www.melglenn.com/

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Conjugations of God

by Ilan Braun (Le Tour-du-Parc, Brittany, France)

There is no past or imperfect tense
In the Creator’s Utterance
Everything is present and perfect
What has been proclaimed at the Dawn of Time
Still rings hollow to our ears
The Creator cannot be ‘past’
He is beyond Time
Neither yesterday nor today nor tomorrow
He is the Fullness and the Unity of Time
The Whole, the Infinite
Continuum
He is permanent
He is “the” Permanence
At every billionth of a second of our lives
Within each heartbeat
HE IS!
Not human conjugations of Time
Futile and morbid
How to conjugate the time of God?
Just as we can not really explain the swelling of waves
Crashing on the shore
GOD is the first wave
Breaking on humanity
Its divine spray wetting our faces and our souls

Ilan Braun is a retired French journalist who wrote for L’Arche. A poet, writer, painter and amateur historian on the Holocaust and post-war Jewish clandestine immigration to Israel, he has lived in Israel and Australia and visited over 30 countries.

You can read more of his work in Labyrinthe poétique: De la terre au ciel (Publibook, Paris, 2009) and in English (“The Oak of Tears”) in Under One Canopy: Readings in Jewish Diversity, edited by Karen Primack (Kulanu Inc. Silver Spring, MD. 2003).

For more information about his work, visit: www.ilanbraun.dr.ag

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“Oh, Wow, Oh, Wow, Oh, Wow!”

by Mel Glenn (Brooklyn, NY)

“Oh, wow, oh, wow, oh, wow!”
– Purported to be Steve Jobs’ last words.

Did you see something?
Or someone?
Visionary on earth,
did your far-flung sight
earn you special access,
a quick peek into the anteroom of heaven?
Maybe He wanted to show you
His new communication system,
a celestial Facebook that would unite
those separated by time and distance.
Or maybe, He wanted to give you a preview
of all future gifts He means to bestow.
Or maybe, He wanted to give you a tour
of His world-wide-web connection.
Tell me, Steve, what did you see?
Before I book passage to the great beyond,
I would like some idea of my itinerary.

The author of twelve books for young adults, Mel Glenn has lived nearly all his life in Brooklyn, NY, where he taught English at A. Lincoln High School for thirty-one years.  Lately, he’s been writing poetry, and you can find his most recent poems in a new YA anthology, This Family Is Driving Me Crazy,  edited by M. Jerry Weiss.

If you’d like to learn more about his work, visit: http://www.melglenn.com/

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Filed under American Jewry, poetry