Under the Cedars


Inspired by Karen’s end-of-year Irish Blessing, I wondered if I could find an end-of-year Hungarian blessing. At Hungarian Spectrum, I found this arresting poem by Lisa Shatzky. I hope that at the end of 2014, we can all say we have spent more time, “under the cedars.” Happy New Year, friends.

A New Year’s Blessing:

Had we one more day
it would not be stuffing envelopes
to save the world,
citing love as our reason
for feasting on romanticized
atrocities in the nightly news
(which are still atrocities, cold
and ordinary, come morning)
and believing
that if we analyzed and dissected
our suffering long and hard
enough and set up camps
in stations of the lost
and joined the victims
and survivors and born
again wounded,
some kind of healing
would happen.
Oh, perhaps some good came of all that
learning and unlearning the languages
of sorrow which hung heavy
around our necks and cut
deeply in our lips,
but had we one more day
I imagine we might have
chosen instead the laughing
geese above us and their gawking
at the melodramas
we made.
Under the cedars we might have
lingered, graced by slowness
of breath and the utter importance
of the hummingbird
and petals from delicate
flowers falling
with the fragile forgiveness
of the seasons
and the godliness of laughter
and the tenacity of the beating heart
carrying on without needing
to know why.
As remarkable as finding ourselves
awake, at last, trembling
and seeing each other
for the first time.

Published in The New Quarterly, 2010 and Simple Praise, 2009.

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