Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Standing Prayer

Share |
The Standing Prayer

The Standing Prayer

Menachem prays standing in
a warm rectangle of light;

Isaac prays with his eyes closed,
the pages of his pearled book
turning in the breeze of his breath;

Nathan prays out loud,
his recitation, a river,
washing over polished stones;

Yossi races to
the nineteenth blessing,
eager to sit down;

Abraham stumbles over
the syllables’ twisting roots;

as Nehemiah prays,
the crocheted halo of his yarmulke
slips from the crown of his head;

Kalman prays stroking his red beard;

David prays shifting his weight
from foot to foot, a fighter,
dodging invisible blows;

Oren prays beside his father,
the fringes of his prayer shawl
almost touching the ground;

Shaul prays near the door,
the tenth man closing the circle;

(I pray where I cannot tempt
and cannot be counted,

my praises and petitions, my thanks,
heard or not heard, as all the rest’s).

Painting by Amit Yaffe

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Karen Shenfeld

Toronto poet Karen Shenfeld is the author of The Law of Return (Guernica Editions, 1999) and The Fertile Crescent (Guernica Editions, 2005). Her work has also appeared in well-known journals published in Canada, the United States, South Africa and Bangladesh. Her personal documentary, Il Giardino, The Gardens of Little Italy, was screened at the 2007 Planet in Focus Environmental Film & Video Festival.

Go to Karen Shenfeld ’s Author Page