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Jacket 19 — October 2002   |   # 19  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   |
This issue of Jacket is a collaboration with Verse magazine

Lucy Wilks

Three poems

Once upon a remedy

[from Abraham Cohen, Everyman’s Talmud: The Major Teachings of the Rabbinic Sages (Schocken, 1949/1995) 251.]

For that my heart it knoweth bitterness
it owns, may not physician minister
its want beyond what seems is proper? Yes
he says whose physic own advised to stir
such counsel from the Atrium (wherewith
it’s dyer’s madder he’ll prescribe, the dose
three garlands to arrest my heart’s disease).
And yes for that I shun the sun, am loath
to look on moon or rain, to hear the clang
of iron. Moreover’s kept from me the crow
of cockerel, lest a footstep sound me spring.
Want my heart be heart, my want’s endowment
want. And he retrieve such cure whose use in
disrepair has fallen yet employs me.

Reading Maurice Lamm

[from Maurice Lamm, The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning (Middle Village, New York: Jonathan David, 1969) 136–139.]

Barely aware it’s of you that I am
is my unseeing. The Portae Jubilaeum
seem to close upon me. Barely do I greet
who greets me. Barely do I know my scantling
bare. But bareness is the spareness within me.
A bareness you share. The share of my withering
want. Barely aware it’s of you that I feel
in commingling the atoms of thought. What’s real
is their scarcely perceptible song
beseeching but nothing. Never conviction
so bare as to prompt in the silence not tongue
nor book. In this sitting your sitting sits by.
In this sitting my thinking your thinking is.
Nothing comforts but has bared me someone nigh.

There’s no saying

[from Laws Concerning Character Traits in Raymond L. Weiss with Charles E. Butterworth (eds.), Ethical Writings of Maimonides (New York: Dover, 1975) 39–40.]

There’s no saying how it came about
I was bathing with Maimonides.
Yet there he stood, undeniably
the adventitious pitcher by whose spouting
heat my head was swathed. A luke-warm vault
he poured upon my frame till pliant
coolness came to shear as I perspired.
I seemed in moult, he bid me hooded
in his vestibule that breeze not waive
his taking pains. Which many were they
leading me to pause, occultly said
his equanimity a listing
disposition. To & fro contained
a little this for that’s attracting.

Jacket 19 — October 2002  Contents page
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