Selected poems


Gate 1

Chesed b’Chesed / Loving-kindness
within Loving-kindness


Take a breath. Look around.
Hear the shofar beckon
from another time of year.
Awaken to it. Let it open you to beauty,
even in difficult times.

Take in the goodness
that surrounds you.
Kindness rests within kindness.
This is the platform
from which we begin
the ascent to Shavuot.

Notice the journey
you have already taken.
Look back at the terrain.
Remember its variations,
its constancies.

Turn again and look ahead.
The mountain on the horizon
is your heart’s deepest wisdom.
Take time to notice
its shape and size from afar,
the path to reach it.

Feel the ground beneath your feet,
trust the earth which holds you.
The Universal Generosity
which contains within it all the kindnesses
you have ever known,
or could want to know.

Step up to the first gate,
cross the threshold
and see what awaits.

Gate 8
Chesed b’Gevurah / Loving-kindness
within Discipline

OMER                            OMER TESHUVAH
WEEK 2, DAY 1                  WEEK 6, DAY 7

Be kind to the structure
that houses you.

Install a double paned window
for better insulation and UV protection.
You may have to repaint the trim.
Enjoy the light pouring through.

Warm your home
with family and friends,
whatever the season.

Kindness to your self
can be kindness to Her,
to All.

Cross through the 8th gate
just outside your door.

Gate 14
Malkhut b’Gevurah / Divine Presence
within Discipline

OMER                                OMER TESHUVAH
WEEK 2, DAY 7                       WEEK 6, DAY 1

Today could be a day
to pray with your feet.

What are you doing today?

What blessing would you like
for today’s activities?

Whether you are doing something
small or large,
private or public,
alone or with others,
what do you need
to be fully present in this moment
to the life you are living
and the world in which you live?

Offer yourself a blessing
and step through the 14th gate.

Gate 23
Gevurah b’Netzach / Discipline
within Endurance

OMER                           OMER TESHUVAH
WEEK 4, DAY 2                  WEEK 4, DAY 6

When you ride a bicycle
in windy conditions
you can minimize the impact
or use the wind to your advantage.

Keep your torso low, eyes straight ahead
when going against the wind
or when the wind is buffeting you from the side
so it flows over you like water off a duck’s back.

When the wind is at your back
don’t forget to enjoy the ride.
If going downhill
be sure to say “whee!”

If your climb is steep and long
and you have run through all the gears on your bike
and you are tired and still need to reach your destination
remember you can always get off and walk.

And if you can’t ride a bike,
or use your legs to walk,
you may still find a way
to traverse the windy passage.

Consider the winds on your path today,
the ascents and descents,
and ride, or walk, or otherwise travel
through the 23rd Gate.

Gate 32
Netzach b’Hod / Endurance
within Humility and Splendor

OMER                             OMER TESHUVAH
WEEK 5, DAY 4                 WEEK 3, DAY 4

Rows are hoed neatly in a field
so plants have the proper space to grow
and farmers and farm workers
will have space to harvest.

Words are written in rows
or in columns
so our brains can order them into meaning.

People ordered into rows for too long
can become mechanistic,
stop thinking for themselves.

Still a disciplined team accomplishes more
than an individual caught running helter skelter.

Hoeing with precision,
crafting clear and beautiful prose,
creating a well-functioning team,
these things take time

and then,  a-ha!

Tenacity in the service of a fruitful harvest,
the task ahead at the 32nd gate.

Gate 36
Chesed b’Yesod  / Loving-Kindness
within Connection

OMER                             OMER TESHUVAH
WEEK 6, DAY 1                   WEEK 2, DAY 7

Interlacing fingers,
overlapping hands,
arms linked in friendship,
lovers’ legs entwined

a colleague’s kind acknowledgement,
a stranger’s hand reaching
to catch the falling groceries.

With chesed we bind ourselves to what’s holy
by binding ourselves to each other.

How are you bound
to love today
here at the 36th gate?