February 27, 2020

Poem: Va’eira

I’m gonna harden my heart
I’m gonna swallow my tears
I’m gonna turn and leave you here

If you like miracles
tangible evidence of the supernatural
then this is the Torah portion for you.

It really gets going. Sticks turned to snakes
rivers turned to blood.

Frogs, falling out of the sky!

The people who thought up umbrellas
never dreamed of this.

It’s raining amphibians
for God’s sake!

And the man holding the purse strings
hardens his heart every time.

We beg for our lives when
the danger is in our face.

And when it’s gone
we act like it doesn’t smell of rotting frogs.

What are twenty-first century plagues?

Guns raining out of the sky
into the hands of people who
don’t believe in magic.

The president, a Moses
tries to make them go away.

Ridiculed by those who’ve
never heard of the promised land.

People living under the freeway
a modern day Goshen.

Ignored by golden Egyptians
our hearts hardened as we drive on by.

This isn’t over.

A stick is raised in the air.

It’s an El Niño year.

The worst is yet to come.

Rick Lupert, a poet, songleader and graphic designer, is the author of 23 books including “God Wrestler: A Poem for Every Torah Portion.”