In 1990 I enrolled in the University of Wisconsin Law School, and graduated with honors in 1993.  The experience was undoubtedly instructive and produced, among other things, a number of poems.   These are given below in chronological order, followed by some that were written after 1993 but that still reflect this experience or touch on the theme of law.  The central poem of this website, "The Hexagon," could also be included here.  Written midway through my last year in law school, it expresses an alternate vision of law as well as of the poetic vocation.


                                                                                                                Esther Cameron



High in the economy the naked dice

in the dead hand roll our fortunes, constellate

our wills.  Or so you say, and legislate

thereby against my call to the One Choice,


or so it seems.  And yet there is no price

on that which no one covets: the estate

of talismans and tokens, cast by fates

obscure beyond the workings of the bourse.


Like, there's this old house in Jerusalem

a friend once dreamed she'd given me.  I went

to the neighborhood.  Friends there had dreamed I'd come.

Before you'd write an equation for these lines

I could return, with all the world's consent,

and claim that house by eminent domain.








The trading goes on:

A computer chip

For the heart of a sparrow.








Her picture stands on the table top,

And everyone says it is very fine.

The made-up face doesn't show a line,

The tinted hair is well fluffed up,

The tilt of the head seems meant to say,

"Look at me, I'm as shrewd and sharp as any,

Be sure my looks cost a pretty penny,

I'm poised and launched for success -- make way!"

Only the eyes give her away.

They whisper, "This isn't where I belong.

This hairdo, this suit, are wrong, all wrong.

I never was good at overreaching,

And I'm much too tired and sad for the teaching.

Let me walk in the woods, by the shore of the sea,

Like the dreaming girl they once let me be."








I would that all who saw you had these eyes

That watch for beauty and hail it as a sign

Of cosmic order and intent divine,

Of harmony transcending compromise,

And hope the most, where form and feature are

Illumined from within by gifts of mind,

Where conscience and strength appear combined:

Many might wisely follow such a star.


Be always kind, and constant to your word,

Seek unacknowledged worth, make it your own,

Let none who have spoken truth remain alone

While you are there to say that you have heard:

No less is worthy of the gifts you bear,

Nor should Truth be content with guise less fair.








Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.



We take to law because our love has failed.

We study how to sue instead of sing.

We still plead; but our pleadings have a sting:

They're meant not to reach out, but to be hurled.

Farewell, the uncorrupted word that held

In visionary light each common thing,

That fitted symbolism like a ring

Upon the hand of the abandoned world.


Here we avoid each other's eyes in shame,

Learning our lawyer tricks, earning the blame

For half the evils of this addled time.

Wish our congeners could have valued us

When we spoke to them in truth and trust.

They cast out reason, when they turned from rhyme.




                     (Published in Mad Poets Review and on The Hyper Texts (www.thehypertexts.com)






Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

-- Noam Chomsky


The corporation's colorless green idea

sleeps furiously through the sections of the code,

as on the futures market mitochondria

logistify a hubbub into outcomes.


While hands of flesh let go their grip, the wires

grope toward each other, programs copulate

in the usurious space, and calculations

mesh to convolute a brain nowhere.


We're the card section.  Keep your cards in order,

don't shuffle them, don't show another color

or you might garble our message to the stars.


In plain terms, brother, I do not like what's taking

shape from us; would flash a laser mirror

in anyone's eyes, so as not to be that sight.








Here lies the matter of the universe,

Murdered by mind amuck, which has so made

These lightless forms that they can never fade

And bloom again in the cycle of the years:

The atoms have outwornness like a curse

Indelibly affixed, and now must bide,

Impervious as an evildoer's pride,

Itching and suppurating in the earth.


Here unrots our presumption's mutant fruit,

Death beyond death! Corpses and dung are sweet

As apple blossom in comparison.

You who drive by here, pray we amend

Our works that they return to Earth as friend

And we to the Great Round, the All-in-One.








When two decide to bind their lives together,

Having no thought except for love alone,

They cannot fear that clouds could ever gather

Between them, or their love to strife be prone.

Love, absolute, commands that voice be dumb

Which cautions that enchantment can take flight

And then estrangement, and then anger come

Which blinds the angered to the other's right.

O Love! be humble in your proudest hour,

Consider that you work in mortal clay;

Secure yourself against the darker power

By contracts that will bind you to fair play

If worst should come to worst.  Then many a storm

May lightly blow, knowing it cannot harm.




                      (published in Wisconsin Lawyer)






All in the dewy morning

On the fourteenth of July

I went to walk beneath the trees

That grow so green and high.


And there I met Tom Jefferson,

He was pacing up and down,

His head was sunk upon his chest,

His face it wore a frown.


"What is the matter, sir," I said,

"Or what is it you seek?"

"I'm looking for the people

With whom I wish to speak."


"What do you mean," I cried in fear,

"I see them all around."

"I see their bodies just like you,

But their spirits are not found.


"They do not hear, they do not see,

They walk with empty eyes."

"I guess you mean the media

That have got them hypnotized.


"Their ears are filled with crashing sound,

Their eyes with flashing lights,

Their minds too full of greed and gore

To sort out truth from lies.


"They have no time to meet and talk

And hear the liberty bell --

It is as if some evil king

Had bound them in a spell."


"Climb up, climb up into that tower,

"And ring that bell once more."

"That bell has got a crack," I replied,

The sound would not go o'er."


"Then you must forge it new," he said,

"In the flame of your desire,

Until they come together

To hear what freedom requires.


"Tell them to keep the Sabbath,

A day when all are free:

That day they must not buy nor sell

Nor sit and watch TV.


"It is a day to meet and talk

And find the ones they trust

To keep their hands from bribery

And on wisdom to insist.


"And these in turn together

Will meet in council high

To write a Constitution

For the coming century.


"For everything wears out at last

And needs to be renewed

Out of the ancient spirit

Of truth and rectitude.


"That spirit has a mighty power,

Although the odds be high;

Will you go and tell the people?"

I said that I would try.






Well, I was a starving poet not so very long ago,

And I came to law school hoping it would help me make some dough,

But I also hoped that it would help me work for liberty,

But the very day I got here, this is what they said to me:

“Lawyers never cry, they don’t dream at night,

Spend their long days working under fluorescent lights.

If the principles we’re teaching you do not seem very high,

First thing you must learn here is, Lawyers Never Cry.”


There were some who came here thinking they were going to save the trees,

While others spoke of helping women and minorities,

But I saw their dreams grow dimmer as they learned about the game,

And their faces with each passing week looked more and more the same.

They’d found out Lawyers never cry, they don’t dream at night,

Spend their long days working under fluorescent lights.

If your interviewer says to you, “Why did you even try?”

Just keep saying to yourself, Lawyers Never Cry.

When the fall came round we all began to go for interviews,

And they told us very frankly, “This is what we mean to do:

We will pay the winner sixty grand to run a treadmill race,

And if they burn out there’ll be plenty more to take their place.

But you know Lawyers never cry, they don’t dream at night,

Spend their long days working under fluorescent lights.

If your supervising attorney comes on like Captain Bligh,

Grit your teeth and tell yourself, Lawyers Never Cry.”


Well, I used to think the purpose of the law was to define

The rights and wrongs we live by, and to keep the bad in line,

But the view that now prevails is that it’s just a power-tool,

And if you mention right and wrong you’re made to seem a fool.

They’ll tell you Lawyers never cry, they don’t dream at night,

Spend their long days working under fluorescent light.

If you get the blues for justice and your heart is asking why,

Close your eyes and yell out loud, Lawyers Never Cry.


Now come all you lawyers who have time, or who did not get hired,

Or who burnt out or who expressed convictions and got fired:

Grass-roots organization is the job that must be done

Until we have a law again that’s fair to everyone.

Till then let the lawyers cry, let them dream at night,

Let them take long walks and get some fresh air and sunlight,

Let them help the people find out what is going on and why

And how to build a government that won’t make people cry.

I said let the lawyers cry, let them dream at night,

Let them take long walks and get some fresh air and sunlight,

Let them help the people find out what is going on and why

Until we have a government that won’t make people cry.






  Those who aspire   to the skill of singing

And wish to know   how to acquire it

Should bear in mind   with joy and reverence

Four things chiefly:   the word, the self,

The human other,   the cosmic Whole.

  First the word:   how each word we use

Contains a wealth,   a world of meaning.

At every hour   watch words in action,

To names above all   accord attention,

For the act of naming   is half of art.

Read, too, the books   of the bards before you,

Watch what they do   and how they do it,

At tradition's table   listen and learn.

  Next, attend   to yourself, your soul,

Storehouse of memories,   well of dreams,

Wearer of wounds,   seeker of healing,

Unending teller   of its own tale,

Source of melody   beyond experience:

Those who can hear   both tale and tune,

To them all things   bring signs of guidance.

  Then, the others   who are to themselves

Storehouses of memories,   wells of dreams,

Wearers of wounds,   seekers of healing,

Unending tellers   of their own tales,

Source of melody   beyond experience,

Messengers to you   as you to them.

Above all, abhor   envy like poison,

For envy blinds   the I in the other,

Blots creation   with hatred of good.

If envy stings,   let its sting alert you

To what you must praise   lest your soul perish,

Then draw its fang   with magnanimous deed

And all you acknowledge   shall be your own.

  Last and first:   the cosmic Whole,

The household of Earth   and all its inhabitants,

The infinite fugue   of human fates,

The hope of vision,   of one awareness

Embracing all earth,   surmounting strife,

In each true word   the poet utters

Calls to attention,   advances toward peace.

Vast is the Way,  complex beyond knowing,

Yet free, unforced   as a child's chanting;

At every step   the goal is present

And most when we manage   the step of silence.

May all who read this   find friends in wisdom

And inspiration   for sacred song!









The hive of government is empty now,

stone wedding-cake of power and hired art,

stately it stands upon the narrow brow

that keeps two lakes apart;

only the overtaxed or overzealous

still burrow, plot and plan

the people's and Earth's bane

of which a headline some months hence will tell us.


Upon a corner of the Capitol Square

given to the people for a weekly fair,

a knot of poets try to raise their voices

above the waning noises

of morning's market; shoppers going home

have little time to spend

upon the word no friend

to the football cheer, the television's drone.


The various causes, too, already fold

their tables, and the meager dollars doled

by citizens whom various wrongs incense,

though few seek out the sense

of the vast web that implicates them all,

which solely through the word

of poets, when it's heard,

relates the part to the comprehended whole.


So thinly now in end-of-summer air

amid the sounds of life's retreat, yet clear,

our voices sing the mating-dance of thought,

the rain-dance that has brought

the lightning down on many a throne

in ages past, and still,

could we reforge the will,

might lift a wave of earth beneath this dome.


So hear us, powers of water, earth and air,

all civic spirits that may linger here

to grieve the ruin of your good intent:

teach us the government

of the eternal and unchanging Way

and show the paths that lead

through minds of those that heed,

that here true counsel's house may stand someday.


                                                fall 1993






There is that sound in the sound of rain outside

That bids me to speak, what time I wake in sorrow

Before dawn, for thinking of that lady

Whose servant I would be, though she is poor

And for many days I have had of her no sign

That she remembers me in her distant tower.


Long have I known she is prisoned in the tower

And those who would serve her must roam outside

To receive on their brows, as the sign

Of her favor, the tracings of stubborn sorrow,

Sole livery of those who love the poor

And keep faith with them and their constant lady.


In this time she has few who call her lady:

The powers and principalities do so tower

Over all, systematically making poor

All who by will or hap remain outside

Their dominion; their minions sneer at sorrow

And count it folly to believe a sign.


The scored serpent, that is their only sign.

They strenuously boast there is no lady

It cannot charm, no tort or sorrow

It cannot compensate, no lofty tower

Of troth it cannot throw down.  They sweep outside,

Mechanically, the refuse of the poor.


They have drawn from her even the hearts of the poor,

Who watch the strutting potentate's every sign,

Hypnotized by a glittering outside

Into spurning the counsel of the lady

And flocking round the foot of the dark tower,

As those whom fear and hunger rule more than sorrow.


For these in the early morning hours I sorrow,

And for many a one who dared be poor

Until a beam from the searchlight in the tower

Fell on them; then they fled, forgetting the sign

They had received, alleging fear that the lady

Would draw them, with arms of remorse, inside.


The rain outside is still.  I have spoken my sorrow.

Lady, remember me among your poor

And make my name a sign against the tower.    


                            (published on The Hyper Texts)






We are the superfluous people.

We are the unionized workers replaced by robots or slaves,

the secretaries ousted by computers.

We are the people of color, the over-50, the people with disabilities,

the ones who don't belong on the team.

We are the displaced homemakers,

the parentless children,

the partnerless parents,

the poets without readers,

the teachers without students,

the students who can't afford college,

the graduates who didn't get hired,

the scientists without grants,

the executives who got downsized.


Why is this?

Isn't there enough work to do in the world?

Aren't there enough stomachs to be filled,

enough limbs to be clothed,

enough babes to be rocked,

enough children and youth to be taught,

enough neighborhoods to be beautified,

enough trees to be planted,

enough fields to be tilled,

enough songs to be sung,

enough stories to be told,

enough riddles to be solved,

enough wounds to be healed,

enough houses and cities to be built right?


But the market does not ask these questions.

The market cannot ask what people need.

It can only ask what those who have the money


Only community can ask

what people need.


And time may be short.

As slave labor replaces free,

as machines replace people,

as large corporations swallow up small ones

and cut their staffs

and buy up the press and the government,

I tell you Spaceship Earth is flying

with a shrinking crew,

a skeleton crew

with skeleton motives,

and the rest of us are not passengers.

We are ballast.

And we feel the moment edging closer

when we could be pushed off.


But let's keep our heads, my friends.

Let us put them together.

Together let us learn to ask the question

what we, the people, need.

We are the superfluous people.

Nobody needs us

except ourselves.

But if you'll say you need me

I'll say I need you.

And we can start.








We do not come to read here in the pride

of being chosen by those arbiters

who on whatever basis may decide

this person's poem is better, another's worse.

We write because we must; we come to read

because the heart must speak its mind, or break;

and, recognizing one another's need,

each with attention hears the other speak.

It is a humble thing, a humble place,

but greatest things spring from humility --

as the Tao says, the central empty space

give the vessel its utility;

and we may yet be, if we hold this dear,

our city's heart and mind, its mouth and ear.








If once a year the praises that I spend

On what this world contains of fair and true

Can interrupt their outward flow, and bend

Back to their origin, then shall you two,

Well-born and of the world's nobility,

Obtain, not all your due, but some small part,

Who gave me life and give it constantly

Not only to myself, but to my art.

If I have learned to move within a form

And gracefully to wear its lightsome bond,

I learned this from the way you served the norm

Ungrudgingly, and faithfully were fond:

Through you the thought that love and law are one

Unbroken beams from the eternal sun.







The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars

But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

-- Shakespeare.


Let me be certain I have understood you.

You tell me that you have no guilds of bards

pledged to convene and sing to one another

in sacred measures of what has transpired

between the full and dark, the dark and full,

each offering the fragments of their vision

until an image of the hour take shape,

which the most skilled then set before the people

to put them on their guard against the guileful

and rectify the laws and names of things?

That poets vie in speaking idle words,

promising nothing, making nothing happen?

That for their labors most have no reward

save to be printed on a page perused

by none, except their rivals studious

of the judge’s mind, that they too may be printed?

Ochone, the harp of concord thus untuned

and bardcraft made into a trade for fools!

It is the dark age you must live in surely,

the age our eldest bards foretold last solstice

in such a cold as no one could recall.


But, traveler, if you hear me, as I you,

And if your well of wit is not quite dry,

will you not now return and tell your comrades

the time has come to win word’s honor back,

reforge the canon and the sacred forms,

reconvene the counsels of the wise,

send forth your strongest voices to beseech

the people to return to reason’s measure?

The words of all who say so will be deeds,

worthy of space in the memory of the gods;

the rest is vanity, the trash of time

which time will sweep away.








Upon this day of darkness, Mother, may

Your image rise and shine in many minds

As the one metaphor of all our caring,

Sign of the being in which we must live.


Your image rises, shines in many minds.

Your light shines forth from one face to another.

Sign of the being in which we must live,

In your presence things fall into place.


Your light shines forth from one face to another.

Under your glance the ways of help appear.

In your presence things fall into place.

You organize our issues and concerns.


Under your glance the ways of help appear.

In your hands the things we do add up.

You organize our issues and concerns.

You are the map, the blueprint of our temple.


In your hands the things we do add up.

You are memory, storehouse of our good.

You are the map, the blueprint of our temple.

You are the meeting-place, the standing-ground.


You are memory, storehouse of our good.

You are mind’s integrity and purpose.

You are the meeting-place, the standing-ground,

Talisman of the freedom of the upright.


You are mind’s integrity and purpose.

You show us how to sift the laws and customs.

Talisman of the freedom of the upright,

Through you we know what we must hold inviolate.


You show us how to sift the laws and customs.

As the one metaphor of all our caring,

Soul of creation, our inviolate House,

Upon this day of darkness, Mother, rise.


[Note: in the Kabbala, the Shekhinah is the female aspect of the Divinity.]




                   published on Melic and in The Romantics Quarterly






                                                Each one has a name...


Just as they need a Social Security number,

each person needs a poetic identity.


A name that is nothing like a number,

that ties them

to the uncountable.

A constellation of syllables that recall

whatever spoke to them

when they were alone.


A name by which they can be called up

when courage is needed,

A name by which they can be held

to the promises of love.


A name like the pouch of charms

round the neck of the shaman,

like the box of small treasures

each child should have the right

to bring to school.


A name that weaves them into the text

of a common life,

a life among kin.


And the poet should be the one

who goes around

giving names.






Note: Psalm 119 is a sequence of 22 alphabetical acrostic poems, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet, on the theme of the Law.  In the Orthodox world is it the custom to pray for the sick by reciting the sections of Psalm 119 that begin with the letters of the sick person’s name. 


Embedded in this text

are the letters of my name,

like surgical instruments

in their case.

The shape of my body within

the body of Your Law.

You are the health of all,

the will by which dry bones

are joined and walk again,

by which the scattering atoms

cohere to a form

intricate as Your Law

and become a living soul.

You are the center that holds

if we hold to you.

I will hold to you,

I will keep Your Law.

Grant me insight into Your Law

and delight in its workings,

grant me the joy that is health!

Preserve me from corruption

and from the outward whirlwind

of things that come loose.

Keep me that I may keep Your Law

and show your strength among the people

for the healing of your world, Sela.





Exodus 21 - 24


After the tenfold thunder of the dawn,

God’s evening speech set forth a plainer food,

For not upon great principles alone

Is justice built, but on exactitude

And on attention to those situations

Where flesh and blood is likely to fall short:

So the design of highest Wisdom places

Beside the sanctuary the law court.

And with the Hebrew slave the Law begins,

Who at the end of six years must go free,

Because the bonds of Egypt are re-cinched

When folk forget God’s generosity

And human freedom, which are the ground and sense

Of the Creation and of these judgments.




                                    (from Rim of Gold: A Cycle of Sonnets on the Weekly Torah Portion

                                    posted on the website of the Madison Jewish Community Council,





from The Consciousness of Earth, ch. 13


Assume the House of Wisdom built, if only

in mind as yet, as round-house of the roads

that lead toward diverse fields of enterprise.

that now divide the Earth.  Starting from here,

let us now follow for a little way

only, the outsets of so many quests!


Let us begin with Law, and Shelley’s truth

so well confirmed in all we have considered.

We know there is no life without a form,

nor is there form that is not based on rules,

on algorithms that apply themselves

unconsciously, until the conscious mind,

itself a product of such rules, perceives them,

and makes new rules, and with them builds new forms.

And as the person, so each social body,

each group that has duration and coherence,

is constituted by some law, unwritten

or written, known or unknown to the members.

Likewise the consciousness of Earth as one

body, implies a law that could sustain it.

That Hidden Law, which from the Earth’s foundations

must shine up at this hour when they lie

so nearly stripped, has shown itself through time

in patches to our deepest sense.  These patches

we shall connect, and with the picture thus

obtained, compare the tablets of our codes,

from international through national

and local law, down to the rules unwritten

and written of the circles where we move,

even to the workings of the private heart,

where love and law inextricably entwine. [...]

[S]o may within the social sphere our voices

acquire concerted resonance to enlist

compulsion’s power to remove the snares

set for our worser minds and weaker moments;

may legal minds, in trust united, clear

the thorny thickets of prevarication

where darkest motives have carved out their dens,

the unfathomable mass of regulation

that ever at grips with the complexity

of new contrivances conceives itself,

until the pathways of our civil law

become once more transparent to concern.


Hard by the road to Law, the way departs

toward Economics; often will these two

paths interlace themselves beyond discerning;

for half of Law is what belongs to whom,

and all our paths of interchange were paved,

our castles of possession fortified

by Law.  Yet Law is not identical

to the logic of the marketplace, whereby,

today, that which is bought and sold too often

sells and buys the buyers and the sellers,

makes people over to suit market needs

or casts them off as superfluities

from a commercial process more and more

tended by robots, owned by robot-owners –

Law issues from the center of the human,

however it be wrested from its source

by Commerce.

                        Commerce: ancient as the Word.

To give one thing so as to get another

is one sleeve of primordial human habit,

singling us out, as much as syntax does,

from all the animals that beg and rob

and have some dim conception of the sign.

Yet poetry and commerce ill assort.

A poem is a thing of no location;

given to one, it is not kept from others,

nor is it alienated from its maker.

Praise may be purchased, true – and so may silence;

but purchased praise and purchased silence are,

unlike the boughten tool, a suspect thing,

like boughten justice.  And when commerce learns

to lay its yardstick to the round of time

and mark off hours, each worth so many grams

of bread, the tangle thickens.  For who can

present the log of hours the poem took

to fashion from experience and desire,

drawing its threads from past and farthest future,

its instantaneous form?  The poet shrugs

his shoulders, and turns up her empty hands –

a mercy that the monolith of commerce

still has some chinks where poetry can sprout

like moss unsown!  But all this is the sign

of poetry’s appurtenance to an order

that commerce in its hypertrophy threatens:

the order of the home, of kin and friends,

wherein the child matures to personhood

and to the stature of a citizen.

Here, at the best, it has sometimes been true

that all receive according to their needs,

that all contribute what they have to give,

that property is an appropriate

belonging, that the thing has dignity,

and that the house was built to house the dwellers,

and not the dwellers shaped to fit the house,

love keeping no accounts but rather counting

on each to do their part, on that good feeling

by which the presence of good faith is known.

The family! an institution, true,

too often marred by private tyrannies,

too often praised by certain who refuse

to understand how their own enterprises

impinge upon its walls; while those who flee it

or would correct its tyrannies, take refuge

in anonymity of public action

where good intentions struggle to define

an all-too-abstract right that seldom fits

the persons.  But the House of Wisdom stands

between the private and the public, as

a place where knowledge of particular things

is gathered and summed up, not to a number,

but to a picture wherein each detail

has place and meaning, where ability

and need are known and can be used and filled,

so chartering an economics based

not on the unchecked working of the market

which toward corruption tends to fall and drag

the humans with it from the social center,

and not on centralized control that makes

the people one machine, to grind out goods

ordered by overlords of dubious conscience;

rather on free endeavor counterpoised

by organized awareness and good judgment –

a weight whose composition is the alloy

of carefulness for life’s involved domain,

for worker’s just reward, consumer’s health,

for honest value of the hard-earned coin,

for best use of materials, by which

the earth is honored; for just government

by those whose ears an honest word can reach –

for beauty, in a word which is the sign

of opposites resolved, of many gathered

in one, of true economy – it is

the splendor of that truth which is our life.




“...Shelley’s truth...”  That “poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world” (op.cit.)

“We know there is no life without a form,...”  I would like to acknowledge the influence of a poem by Leonard Borenstein, “The Lesson of My Life,” in shaping the passage that follows.

The fact that commerce is a distinctive feature of human society was pointed out by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations.







He was never wrong, according to his students,

Who made a farewell song with that refrain.

With almost a fanatic rectitude


He visualized the rock-layers that had lain

Rigid in earth’s foundations; he thought back

Until their ancient movements were made plain.


It was not in him to let thought go slack

Nor say the thing which is not, nor to claim

More than his due, or deviate from the track


Of obligations, valid with the same

Force as the laws that gave the crystal habit,

Implicit in the universe’s frame.


That sense of structure, of the way things fit,

Was also his in the domain of words.

He taught his students writing, kept them at it,


And when, a child, I took to writing verse,

He taught me how to scan.  I used to see

In him a shade of distant ancestors,


Chief Druids, masters of a poetry

That ordered what the people knew and did.

“Farewell” I say to him now newly free,


And: “Stand us now and ever in good stead.”


                           April 1999






We gather here to see

faces from which we need not hide our face,

to hear the sound of honest speech, to share

what dreams have etched upon the sleeping brain,

what the still voice has said, when heavy hours

plunged us to regions of the mind and life

not mentioned in the marketplace: to find

and match the threads of common destinies,

designs grimed over by our thoughtless life --

A sanctuary for the common mind

we seek.  Not to compete, but to compare

what we have seen and learned, and to look back

from here upon that world where tangled minds

create the problems they attempt to solve

by doubting one another, doubting love,

the wise imagination, and the word.

For, looking back from here upon that world,

perhaps ways will appear to us, which when

we only struggled in it, did not take

counsel of kindred minds, lay undiscovered;

perhaps, reflecting on the Babeled speech

of various disciplines that make careers,

we shall find out some speech by which to address

each sector of the world's fragmented truth

and bring news of the whole to every part.

We say the mind, once whole, can mend the world.

To mend the mind, that is the task we set.

How many years?  How many lives?  We do not know;

but each shall bring a thread.



(published in B’Or Ha-Torah, Healers Magazine, and on The Hyper Texts [www.thehypertexts.com])