by Jacqueline Jules (Arlington, VA)
Twelve scouts went into Canaan.
Ten saw giants too big to fight
while two saw grapes too big to carry.
“We are like grasshoppers in the land,”
the ten cried, “sure to be crushed.”
“Not true,” Joshua and Caleb argued.
Steadfast, they predicted victory
while the rest shrieked and mourned
imagined defeat. In the end,
only the two survived
to stand on promised land.
An instructive tale for me
as I consider the faith needed
to see grapes instead of giants
in the wilderness waiting ahead.
Jacqueline Jules is the author of many Jewish children’s books including Never Say a Mean Word Again, The Hardest Word, Once Upon a Shabbos, Sarah Laughs, and the forthcoming Drop by Drop: A Story of Rabbi Akiva. Visit her online at www.jacquelinejules.com
“Facing the Wilderness” appear in her poetry book, Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. It is reprinted here with permission of the author. For more about the book, visit Evening Street Press at http://eveningstreetpress.com/jacqueline-jules-2016.html
by Mel Glenn (Brooklyn, NY)
Three nuns are bouncing on trampolines.
Why are they bouncing on trampolines?
It’s a parody on leap of faith.
And that, my friends, is the sticking point.
Either you have faith, or don’t, or hedge your bets,
caught between the chasm of doubt,
and the certainty of belief.
Current events test my faith;
senseless murders torture it.
I would love to believe that God has a plan,
but lately I have been coming to the conclusion
His plans are rather arbitrary.
Yes, I know man has free will,
but I wonder if that gives him too much license.
I have read that faith heals when
family and community come together in prayer.
Small comfort for tragic loss, I feel.
All great religions posit a higher power,
but in the certainty of my doubts,
there is no trampoline I can jump
to reach the upper vaults of heaven.
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.