Eve Grubin on what happens when poetry and religious life collide
Eve Grubin has read and written poetry for as long as she can remember. Her interest in Jewish texts and religious observance came much later in life.
In her first poetry collection, Morning Prayer, Grubin seeks to bring these two passions together, with poems that explore her forays into ritual and faith. She talks with us about how poetry circles have responded to her religious strivings, and, conversely, how Orthodox circles have responded to her creative ones.
The Buried Rib Cage
Eve slipped from its arced ridge—
the only body part
do evil with:
the eye, the hand,
the ribs are modest
shy crests, ticklish,
an open fan,
not quite sexual, yet not puritan:
soul breathes through its comb.
In the dream I walk with my teacher across a field.
It is day, the field
a dying brown.
Lifted by sudden wind we stand
in midair, our wool coats hanging
like heavy curtains.
When we drop back down, our boots in the dust,
I ask, “Why did that happen?”
She says, “Because we saw Christ.”
I say, “I didn’t see him,” remembering
the sycamores at the edges.
She says, “It was because of the resurrection.”
“No,” I say. “It was Jerusalem.”
Keep me close to the flaw,
to the cracked soil. Don’t let me
fly up again; keep me living
inside the laws and the lightning, planted
and learning, leaning
into this difficult field.
Stranded in Russia by the First World War, Chagall turned a generation of boys into artists