Illustration by Daniel Kabakoff
A Prophet, from Targum Press, 2000, available on Amazon.com
The man is dead, but a deathless voice speaks on:
“Hear me at last, you comfortable Jews!
Exult not in a war you have not won.
You’re doomed: If heads they win, if tails, you lose.
You’re rich enough to think you’d seize the day,
Fulfill great dreams and never meet your sorrow,
But the democratic idol’s feet are clay;
Its big green statue may crush you all tomorrow.
What help is Happiness, your tinsel star?
What good are houses, cars, and kids in college
Without a sense of who you really are?
In dollars you trust, of G-d you have no knowledge.”
All this they heard, but none knew what he meant
Till a jury found his killer innocent.
I listen for a music
Nor sung by human voices.
Its instruments are lives
I hear a cosmic rhythm
Unless the bike is moving
Unless your mind is rolling
A vital spring keeps flowing
To anticipate the green
To celebrate green leaves
Something green within us
All material things
Listen, trees are singing,
Ocean waves are chanting
On hidden frequencies
While grunts of whales and dolphins
But who discerns the angel
The fretful evening birds
They skip from twig to ground,
I watch them knowingly.
A kindred agitation.
A song as light and sheer
Was sung for me at dusk
I was surprised to find
The rhythms of day and night,
Is there no pattern here,
Is that a pagan goddess
A piece of orangewood
I touch its crevices,
This fragment of a branch
The music of the trees
The land leans back and shudders,
Now all things are beginning,
David K. Weiser taught English at Tel-Aviv, Bar-Ilan Universities, and CUNY. He is retired and lives in Pardes Chana.
Daniel Kabakoff is an award-winning watercolor artist. email@example.com