And streets will stretch only longer When the once wise walk backward What can I wash in the water To bring up on the altar? Am I even worthy of a gift to the Divine? Or do my hands smell too much of earth, My feet of sky? What shall I bring to the temple, If not song? My King, A crown-bearer not, But the hand under the earth. Do only my brothers have a seat in your kingdom? My Queen, A royal mother yet, The tent over the heavens’ face. Does only your veil find a place at the table? Servant and soldier Though I was trained to be . . . I find myself suddenly An apprentice, a partner, And a daughter Singing praises with hands outspread.
Two Great Lights
And finally, when the sun sets down his too-bright crown I am free to lock eyes with the moon As she swings slowly overhead And glows on lonely roads On some nights I sit beside her and tell her of the daylight hours she has missed While she tells me of planets I have never seen But on other nights I raise my hand to wipe soft tears from her full face As we speak of the injustice that will soon sliver her small light And on those quiet nights Her light comes to rest beside me And I whisper promises of the days when she will no longer recede
Let Me Pray
Let me pray Let me sway And whisper Though it be madness I need this frantic song to God Because the soul Is a heavy burden Like the world Upon another Causing me to stagger And sing out A quick prayer In this dying light Like a balm upon my heart And a soft hand Over my eyes Let me pray
Ester Eckhaus is a woman-loving, devotional Jewish poet, whose writing explores the existential experience of encounter—between God, world, self, and others. Raised in a Hasidic community in Brooklyn, Ester’s path has led her far afield and deep within. Her poetry has previously been featured on Living Jewishly and can be found on Instagram as well (ester.bayla.poetry).