September 21, 2018

Dear Uncle

Uncle, it’s but a whisper,
the echo of your bare feet
kissing the ocean floor.

The tap of your staff
on a cold marble floor.

These days the roar of metal
engines, and mental ones too,
have just about drowned out
the song of our cells,
the echo of an emptied well:
Mi kamocha Ba’elim Adonai.

Sure the words still ring,
but, Uncle, our hearts
they, too, must sing!

And I wonder if but a word
was uttered before that sea
spread itself open wide
and let our people deep inside.

I wonder, can a song ever truly sound
if not upon a silent ground?

And Uncle, these days the silence
is scarce, a treasure to be found
far, far off the collective course.

You led us from the grips of chains
long ago, and now they’ve come
once more, taken a mental hold.

Clanging, clanging, clanging,
sounding over the echo of a man,
you my dear Uncle, who emptied
the well of his will, as wide as the ocean,
and let Adonai in. Uncle, it’s but a whisper,
this prayer of my heart, turn it to silence,
for any sound keeps us apart.


Hannah Arin is a junior at Pitzer College pursuing a double major in religious studies and philosophy.