ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is from the April 18, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] redsixwing. It also fills the "memories" square in my 4-3-17 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. It belongs to the series Clay of Life.


"Her Wilderness Like Eden"


Menachem did not always
keep to the common roads
and the busy villages.

Sometimes he turned
his horse down narrow lanes
and traveled through lands
that were largely barren.

When Yossele gestured
a question about why he did so,
Menachem said, "My friend, there are
people who live out of the way, and
they too need a blacksmith."

Presently the rocky path
turned a corner around a cliff
and they found themselves facing
an odd little pocket of trees.

Menachem got down from
his wagon to lead the horse
carefully toward the center.

There they found a cave
with a lean-to above the mouth
so that it made a sort of porch,
and on the porch an old man
sat in a rustic rocking chair.

He waved as they approached,
but he made no sound.

Yossele gave Menachem a curious look.

"Yossele, this is the hermit Eliezar,
who prefers not to speak," said Menachem.
"Eliezar, this is my apprentice Yossele,
who being a golem cannot speak."

Eliezar grinned at Yossele,
who nodded back, and just like that,
the two became fast friends.

"What do you have that needs
mending?" asked Menachem.

Eliezar brought out an iron pot
that was leaking, which could be fixed,
but there was nothing to be done for
the sliver of spade that had been
worn down from long hard use, so
Menachem had to make a new one.

Yossele wondered about the forest
growing in the middle of nowhere,
full of good things for people to eat.

"I remember when this garden
was only half of its current size.
Eliezar, why don't you show him
the trick of it?" Menachem suggested.
"Yossele is so strong that he will
make quick work of the digging."

The hermit demonstrated how
to dig holes and fill them with
logs or sticks, so the rotting wood
would hold water like a sponge.

From this rich, hidden base
there came forth trees and bushes
heavy with fruit. Raised beds held
delicious vegetables and herbs
and even a few flowers.

There were patches of
corn and beans, sunflowers,
hills of pumpkins and other squash.
Tomatoes and grapes had been
trained up the side of a cliff.

That night, Eliezar and
Menachem feasted upon
the fruits of the forest, while
the blacksmith shared his memories
of the garden as it had grown up,
Eliezar blushing at the praise
of his skill in cultivation.

Yossele just sat and watched
as the evening primrose and
the moonflowers opened.

Everyone admired the moths
that came to feed on the flowers.

It was a peaceful place,
and the guests could see
why their host loved it so,
preferring to live alone
in contemplative silence.

"Her wilderness He will make
like Eden," Menachem quoted softly,
"and her desert like the garden of the L-rd."

* * *

Notes:

"Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in her, Thanksgiving and sound of a melody."
-- The Bible, Isaiah 51:3

"For the Lord shall console Zion, He shall console all its ruins, and He shall make its desert like a paradise and its wasteland like the garden of the Lord; joy and happiness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and a voice of song."
-- Tanach, Isaiah 51:3

Jewish hermits may spend time living in the desert or secluding themselves within a settlement.

Gardening in the desert relies on a variety of techniques. Hugelkultur can be employed by burying logs or making raised beds. In this manner it is possible to grow a whole food forest in dryland conditions.

Dryland farming also has its own methods. Corn, beans, sunflowers, pumpkins, tomatoes, and grapes are just a few of the vegetables that can be grown in hot dry climates. Just choose cultivars designed for those conditions.

Night-blooming flowers include evening primrose and moonflower. Learn how to grow a moon garden.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-23 05:24 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
A Jew would call their books of Scripture the Tanakh. The word is a portmanteau of Torah (the books of Moses), the Nevi'im or Prophets, and the Ketuvim, or Writings (I.e. Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs).

Re: Hmm...

Date: 2017-04-23 05:36 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Isaiah chapter from online Tanakh (the internal text doesn't call it that, but the titles do):
http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/15982/jewish/Chapter-51.htm

Wikipedia ref for the word:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanakh

Re: Hmm...

Date: 2017-04-23 07:20 pm (UTC)
thnidu: Seven-branched Temple menorah, symbolic of all Judaism, not the 9-branched Chanukah menorah. bethelcongregation.org (menorah)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Searching Torah did not turn up the quote I needed.

That's because Isaiah is not part of Torah but of Nevi'im (Prophets).

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-23 07:16 pm (UTC)
thnidu: Seven-branched Temple menorah, symbolic of all Judaism, not the 9-branched Chanukah menorah. bethelcongregation.org (menorah)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
An acceptable English name is "the Hebrew Bible".

Technically "Tanakh" is an acronym rather than a portmanteau.

And by the way, this is quite lovely. Thank you.
Edited Date: 2017-04-23 07:21 pm (UTC)

"the Hebrew Bible"

Date: 2017-04-26 05:00 am (UTC)
thnidu: Seven-branched Temple menorah, symbolic of all Judaism, not the 9-branched Chanukah menorah. bethelcongregation.org (menorah)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
I just read the "Jewish hermit" link, and the author uses the term "Hebrew Bible".

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-23 06:20 am (UTC)
corvi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] corvi
Oh, this is really lovely.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-24 02:50 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
<3

Thank you.

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