CLEARLY THERE WERE JEWS AND THERE WERE JEWS
Clearly there were Jews and there were Jews —
Hellenized, not Hellenized, not caring.
Assimilation let one pick and choose,
Not wedded to the faith that one was wearing.
Until a king sought Judaism’s end,
Kindling a flame that burned inside,
A miracle that would the faith defend —
Here for us, a faith that else had died.
GOLD IS NOT THE ONLY BURIED TREASURE
Gold is not the only buried treasure.
In your heart there is a sunlit sea.
Underneath each moment lies another
Life of pure angelic ecstasy.
In simplest things there is the greatest pleasure.
DREAMS DO COME TRUE
Dreams do come true, but only when
They make it through despair,
Limping into everyday
Transformed beyond repair.
No dream would be a dream if it
Could pass for something real,
Nor would we sail for paradise
Would it its shoals conceal.
So it is with love: the dream
Long longed for, now possessed,
Must be a dream no longer, but
An emperor undressed.
Stark naked it must come to us
In unaccustomed shame,
And we must take it in our arms
And love it all the same.
And we must love love as it is
That dreams might still come true,
Mangled into miracles
To make our lives anew.
HOW MIGHT LIGHT HAVE COME FROM NOTHING
How might light have come from nothing,
Absent any uncaused cause?
Nothing cannot lead to something
Under Reason’s well-known laws.
Knowledge is as knowledge does,
Knowing only what we know.
A cause uncaused is caused by nothing!
Here again around we go.
HEARTS ON HOLIDAYS TEND TO BE TENDER
Hearts on holidays tend to be tender,
A consequence of far too much to feel.
Perhaps the stew becomes too rich to render,
Parts of which, still tough, remain too real.
Yet what you feel is what you are, so feel it,
Hemorrhaging your sorrow, rage, regret.
Out it comes again, as censors clear it,
Leaving you again, again, and yet …
In feelings, the negatives will reign,
Dependent as we are on being right.
Although we know that love’s what keeps us sane,
Yet we would avoid the loves we fight,
Still feeling what we cannot help retain.
FIFTY YEARS TOGETHER IS A MOUNTAIN
Fifty years together is a mountain
In truth not all of us would wish to climb.
For umpteen thousand days . . . but, well, who’s countin’?
The two of you have trudged up this incline.
Yet what you see up there must be sublime.
Your love has shaped your lives much as the weather
Erodes the Earth into majestic forms.
A half a century of life together
Reveals the rock beneath the mountain heather,
Splendidly unmoved by passing storms.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVE THROUGHOUT THE YEARS
Thank you for your love throughout the years.
Happiness comes slowly, day by day.
All you and Dad have given me remains,
Not distant from the wellspring of my tears.
Kindnesses can never go away.
Your love has been my rock, despite the strains
On all of us as separation nears.
Under your roof, my love will always stay.
Nicholas Gordon is a poet and the webmaster of the popular poetry site, Poems for Free at http://www.poemsforfree.com. He holds a Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Stanford University. For most of his working life, he taught English at New Jersey City University, in Jersey City, NJ.