Vol. 10
2001

Michal Lemberger


PASSING THROUGH

1

Into the wreck of stones that had been the Temple, a despair

of waste and scattering, someone stepped to pray, to shield

his words from the wind and thoroughfare.

2

Whereas, in a late afternoon sky blown

over with shallow clouds, I saw a bare patch of mountain

still shining in a strong stain of sunlight.

3

Behind him, Elijah followed, asked, Why have you come

to this relic of holiness, deserted by God, open only the sun?

4

Our shadows lengthening beyond ourselves,

and somehow, ahead of us, a strip of sand, shifting

reminder of an ancient sea blown to this ruinous place,

glowed gold amid the purpling of the landscape.

5

And what is the voice you heard here, whispering as a dove?

It cried, Oh, my children, my children, what have you done?

6

At night, stars hang above the desert, a profusion strung

to the dome encircling this feeble place, and the infinite

too big, even here–pressed to this rocky field,

pulled heavy to this bright spot, glowing.

 

7

But you are wise and should know,

said the prophet. You cannot re-enter here. You can only

walk in the streets; You can only speak loudly as you go.

8

This is prayer; straddling time, looking

into the vastness and whispering, whispering.