Rosh Hashanah: Where Sweetness is Found

Of all the human beings that walked the earth

How could I be me

And you be you?

Discover that which alchemy reveals

Bottle up the flood

Know it’s value as it turns to ink.


In crystal vessels set on a pedestal before a mirror

Touch the fibers of your gown of Ophir

Priceless threads made of ash turned to gold

Woven through time by a harp and an arrow

By the brightest stars

Like the wings of a bee caressing my skin

The gold returns to ash

While I fear the Sting

Tormented by this tiny creature

Which pulls the thread that unwinds

My gown

Until I am naked

Yet covered

In starry golden honey

In the dark, baselessness of grief and loss, I wonder at what is being stripped away. Beliefs, dogma, confusion, others intentions. The vulnerability of widowhood feels terrifying and I wonder if there is anything unchanging, ever present or sweet.

Originally the science of Alchemy was dedicated to discovering how to convert base metals to gold. Plain, worthless, colorless matter believed to somehow conceal gold. The spiritual metaphor of our polluted lives being purified to reveal the gold within seems the definition of alchemy. I wonder at the centuries of attempts. My heart melts in this grief.

The gold of Ophir was purported to be made from ash. Psalm 45 records a love story in which the bride wears a gown made from this ash turned to gold. I saw my husband as the handsome and noble groom, and myself as the bride wearing this golden gown as my heart valued his integrity. I felt the ashes of my life before him, transformed by his honest loyal love. He offered me this golden gown to wear daily, all of our marriage, seeing only beauty.

As this flood of tears falls into an endless sea, I have tried to look at myself, in a mirror that sees my soul. I’ve looked deeply and honestly. This unspeakable grief has poured out onto hundreds of pages, my tears the very ink which writes the story of my heart.

I am clothed in ash, our lives together, now separated by physical death, the golden gown you saw me in has been reduced to cinders.

As I wriote this poem a bee seemingly mesmerized with me, tickled me with its gentle wings . The instinctual fear of being stung, was numbed by my pain. The sting of death transformed this bee into a friend.

My soul listened.

Of course you are afraid of my sting, of familiar pain.

I am

here to remind you, my task is not to sting, but to make honey. Gold to be eaten, to nourish you and offer sweetness.

Ashes and gold, you will always be clothed in.

Truth will render you completely uncovered, not in a shameful way, but in the most beautiful way. As you tell the truth of your story, of your love story, your soul story, that was written in the heavens, as you transpose it with tears onto paper

I will weave you another gown of pure gold, which is also priceless and sweet.

Rosh Hashana