Psalm for the Three Weeks by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

Psalm for the Three Weeks


It is easy to offer praises
when all the world is green
and gold, when the thrush
trails off and on, at ease,
for long sweet minutes.

Oak and birch and maple
once ravaged by caterpillars
have grown new leaves,
pale like spring
through the crescent moon

now waning will take us
through Av, through August,
days that loll like lions.
I don’t want to remember
destruction, I want to skip

ahead to the birthday
of the gleaming world
and ignore the way that
anyone has ever felt
disowned or distant or alone.

But if I forget the losses
of my friends in the places
we call home and holy
may my poems dry up
like an empty creekbed.



This poem, which first appeared (in slightly different form) in Brilliant Coroners (Phoenicia Publishing, 2007) will appear in Open My Lips (forthcoming from Ben Yehuda Press.)

green world

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat was ordained by ALEPH in 2011 and is now a member of the ALEPH board of directors. She is author of three books of poetry, among them Waiting to Unfold and 70 faces: Torah poems, as well as several chapbooks. Since 2003 she has blogged as the Velveteen Rabbi; she serves Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams, MA.