Passover Poetry 2019 by our OZ community

From our Or Zarua Pre-Pesach Poetry writing workshop, Sunday, April 14, 2019

🌺Reveries of Freedom by Debby Swirsky Sacchetti 🌺

Pre-Pesach 2019

Reveries of freedom...

Sweet, exhilarating movement.

We flow...

Leaping,

Soaring,

Crescendoing in song...

Tapping down softly,

Only to glide upward again.

The dance unfolds...

The mythic journey.

Arrested by the call of reality,

of urgencies,

mortal limitations,

and fears.

We pause...

Take the next step.

Yet we flounder,

cry out,

Searching for our way back,

Yearning once again for the breakthroughs of spring.

The table is set,

The air is sweet.

Rituals of old,

informed by our oneness,

Begin their sacred spell.

We are dancing again at Sinai,

Beloved gathering,

Each with an offering

Together at last.

Unexpected is the fervor that celebrates the miracle of life.

Leading Up

by Cathy Cohen Pre-Pesach 2019

My spirits lean down

in the days leading up.

They take note and murmur

don’t forget Grandma’s bowls

for charoset and horseradish

although the vessels have cracks like rivers.


Our seder won’t be thorough this year.

We’ll piece together snippets of prayer and song

because the toddlers can’t sit for long moments.

But they will be a blessing

among this spaciousness.

Candles will sputter and warm the air.

We will sit so close

we feel each other’s breath.

How will I suspend this,

keep us at the table for hours?

Is this why seders run so long?

Against what’s onrushing?

I will memorize the lit faces that flicker

and sit among spirits who lean in.


Before Pesach

by Cathy Cohen - 2019

Weeks beforehand, I search for haggadahs,

enough for all who come to the table

and roomy enough

for any questions that come up.

I find old Maxwell House copies

featuring matzoh, coffee, children on laps,

bubbies in time capsule hairstyles.

Also, the American Family version, dense with Hebrew.

Our kids used to rush us through this one,

racing through Chad Gadya.

Here are copies of ancient texts from Belarus (dad’s collection,)

and stapled pamphlets from a 1970s women’s Seder,

the first time I saw an orange glow on the plate.

We read poems and burned worries in a shared metal bowl.

And we continue to share

words and prayers, symbols and stories,

open pages and patient shelved volumes,

fragrant meal, candlelit faces,

those we bless and those that bless us.

Cathy Cohen

Leading Up

by Cathy Cohen - 2019

My spirits lean down

in the days leading up.

They take note and murmur

don’t forget Grandma’s bowls

for charoset and horseradish

although the vessels have cracks like rivers.

Our seder won’t be thorough this year.

We’ll piece together snippets of prayer and song

because the toddlers can’t sit for long moments.

But they will be a blessing

among this spaciousness.

Candles will sputter and warm the air.

We will sit so close

we feel each other’s breath.

How will I suspend this,

keep us at the table for hours?

Is this why seders run so long?

Against what’s onrushing?

I will memorize the lit faces that flicker

and sit among spirits who lean in.

Cathy Cohen