Clouds

Scarce clouds in the sky today,

wisping across a blue canvas.

A glint of light upon a metallic object,

that passes into a lone cumulus.

~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~

From my vantage point in a sailboat,

alone on the lake at summer camp,

the object remains hidden within the cloud;

it does not reappear on the other side.

~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~

Saucers in the sky, gathering together

at the end of history when the rapture

is expected to occur across the world.

Is the remnant being flown home?

~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~

Or will angels collect the elect,

from the four corners of the earth,

and bring them to the promised land?

We will not need spaceships,

because our bodies are spirit.

This song haunted me from my youth, until I learned the truth.

note: This poem is a polemic; in particular, a response to the imaginative scenarios in Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush, written after he had read a screenplay of the same title. Having grown up ignorant of the plan from Above, as recorded in kitvei kodesh (holy scripture), it was easy for me to fall into daydreaming about the possibilities mentioned in the song. Yet, scripture has provided me with greater clarity, concerning the aharit hayamim (end of days). I left the question somewhat open, for the sake of the reader, to ponder upon for oneself.

Depth of Spirit

My heart pitters and patters,

while the glitter of the world subsides;

my desires shift to the transcendent,

as past and present collide.

The fireworks of yesteryear,

only a gleam in my mind’s eye;

the essential truths of my life sear

my conscience, and memory.

Called, to transcend the mundane,

wayward paths of my youth;

to let go of all done in vain,

while forging ahead in truth.

A smile brings comfort,

to every soul that yearns,

for the depth of spirit,

that like a flame will burn.

Cascades

Ever flowing Spirit of Life,
cascades from one world to another,
emanations from Above to Below –
from Heaven to Earth.

Cascades from one world to another,
trickling Light down through the spheres,
from Atzilus, to Beriah, to Yetzirah, to Assiyah.

Emanations from Above to Below:
from Emanation, to Creation, to Formation, to Action,
mirroring the essential elements of divinity.

From Heaven to Earth,
the Light contracts, from Infinity to finite actualization,
where the Shechinah dwells in Malchus HaElokim.

Sagami

Sweat, discipline, and a weekly regimen,

fosters a strong will, and a determination

that prevails each and everyday, until

the end of the semester, after testing

~ we cross the span of the river ~

To feast on miso soup, sushi, and sashimi;

cups of green tea, and sake throughout dinner.

Conversation turns towards Japan, where

all devoted students would like to train.

Kuroi Ame

On Temma Bridge, the boys gathered,
listening intently to their teacher’s speech;
words designed to spur them to service.
When in an instant they were all burned;
they still found enough courage to sing.

The teacher, with Japanese resolve,
lead the boys to sing a patriotic song;
ironically called, “lay me beneath the waves.”
After shouting, “dismiss,” he led the way;
jumping into the waters at high tide.

The novel, Black Rain begins with this jarring account, perhaps to inspire the Japanese spirit, twenty years after the bomb was dropped. The details in regard to this incident, depicted in the opening scene are sparse. The reader must needs to fill in the gap with one’s own imagination. What went through the teacher’s mind, in those few moments, before it seems that he made an immediate decision to order his students to jump?

Japan was a feudal society until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. The samurai spirit prevailed upon all of society a formality, and a code of respect and honor amongst every strata; and, continues to be found generations later in the Japanese way of life. Burned by the radiation from head to toe, the teacher and his students accepted their fate, like the staunch examples of their forbearers. The only survivor of that party, who lived to relate an account of this tragic event, died shortly later. Echoes of this blast, detonated on Hiroshima, warn against the inevitable destruction of warfare.