The First Construction Project – A Poem for Haftarah Terumah by Rick Lupert
It took four hundred and eighty years
after leaving Egypt until God gave us
the measurements we needed to
build the Holy Temple.
King Solomon got the Job.
He was only the third Jewish King.
We followed the charismatic until
the situation on the ground caused us
to formalize the situation with his
grandfather, Saul. Jerusalem was
barely the capital, and we’re still
having trouble setting that in stone.
His dad, David, was too busy
writing poetry under waterfalls near
the Dead Sea to take on a major
construction project and, I guess
the previous few hundred years
we were still glancing nervously
back across the Jordan River for
signs of chariots.
I wonder what happened with
the desert’s Tabernacle before
Solomon’s stones and planks
took to the mountain?
I wonder if they imagined that
thousands of years later, this
holiest of structures, and its sequel
number two, would only be
remembered by the words we
read on Saturday mornings?
Occasionally a shovel reveals
a clue. I walked up a staircase
made of stone once. I sang a song
of ascent. I crawled through tunnels
and looked in every dark crevice.
One cedar plank was all I needed.
Even just a splinter.
Los Angeles poet Rick Lupert created the Poetry Super Highway (an online publication and resource for poets), and hosted the Cobalt Cafe weekly poetry reading for almost 21 years. He’s authored 21 collections of poetry, including “God Wrestler: A Poem for Every Torah Portion“, “I’m a Jew, Are You” (Jewish themed poems) and “Feeding Holy Cats” (Poetry written while a staff member on the first Birthright Israel trip), and most recently “Donut Famine” (Rothco Press, December 2016) and edited the anthologies “A Poet’s Siddur: Shabbat Evening“, “Ekphrastia Gone Wild”, “A Poet’s Haggadah”, and “The Night Goes on All Night.” He writes the daily web comic “Cat and Banana” with fellow Los Angeles poet Brendan Constantine. He’s widely published and reads his poetry wherever they let him.