Navigate to Arts & Letters section

Something Wild

Eve Grubin on what happens when poetry and religious life collide

Tablet Magazine
August 01, 2006

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 eye, the hand,

might beg


the ribs are modest

shy crests, ticklish,

an open fan,

not quite sexual, yet not puritan:

delicate accordion

—yawn, moan—

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.

Your browser does not support the audio element.

Sara Ivry is the host of Vox Tablet, Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast. Follow her on Twitter @saraivry.

From the editors at Tablet Magazine