It’s the penultimate day of National Poetry Month, which means today is Poem in Your Pocket Day in New York City! Many are celebrating by carrying a favorite poem in … well, you can probably guess where.
Earlier this month, we asked our readers to get in touch with their inner 11th century poet and reimagine so-called “poet laureate of the Jewish people” Yehuda Halevi‘s words. And today, we’re proud to announce the winner: Susan Comninos, whose poem you can enjoy below. And then later, maybe put it in your pocket?
“Can I do what I’ve vowed to and must?”
– Yehuda Halevi
Thou shalt not
bear the winds higher
than they would blow. Thou shalt never
prick halls of glass
with a bow and arrow. Thou shalt fail
to sway the sky
with the ceiling, stone
through the floor, leaves
with feeling – the dense weight
of a dank heart. Thou
shalt entertain no note
without instruments, sloth
without toil – sweat from strong languor.
Thou shalt not stroke
wood of others’
to a barren house. Thou
shalt bring in bees
from the hive, swear
allegiance to their stings – sing alone
of a scant
incandescence: of a lion’s
fraught den, and no honeyed signs.