Saturday, April 24, 2010

a poem by mani lieb


Let shrieking steel and gray stone be set
For green grass; the clash of hammer and tongs
And the rush of wheels - birdsong;
Grating of saws - the summer cricket; the pious poet -

The merchant. And as in earliest and early days
The grass will shoot its stalk through the rock
In rhythm with the cricket; and over the clanging shock
Of steel - the bird's song will range far and away.

So too the poet: pious, from market noises,
From business bustling and the wheels' clatter
He will move apart with parchment, ink and feather

To the holiness of the word, which in its commonness
Is strong - to stitch prayers for the world: to knit
The heart to God, to unbind the sorrow on silent lips.

Lieb, Mani. "Psalmodist" Voices Within the Ark: The Modern Jewish Poets. New York: Avon Books, 1980.