Thursday, October 12, 2017

Yehoshua November

There's a lovely Hasidic story of a rabbi who always told his people that if they studied the Torah, it would put Scripture on their hearts. One of them asked, "Why on our hearts, and not in them?" The rabbi answered, "Only God can put Scripture inside. But reading sacred text can put it on your heart, and then when your hearts break, the holy words will fall inside.
~Anne Lamott


When I was deciding what to post for Poetry Friday, I was feeling pretty lousy (a cold). What kept my attention when I was blowing my nose every thirty seconds? These poems by Yehoshua November...


Yehoshua November

After Our Wedding
by Yehoshua Nobember

When you forgot the address of our hotel
in your suitcase,
the driver had to pull over
in front of the restaurant.

Men and women dining beneath the August sun
looked up from their salads
to clap for you,
a young, slender woman
in a wedding dress and tiara,
retrieving a slip of paper
from the trunk of a cab
in the middle of the street.

read the rest here

*********************

Upstairs the Eulogy, Downstairs the Rummage Sale
by Yehoshua Nobember

The beloved Yiddish professor
passed away on the same day
as the synagogue’s rummage sale,

and because they could not bear
the coffin up the many steps
that led to the sanctuary,
they left it in the hallway downstairs,

read the rest here

*********************

Prayer
by Yehoshua November

Before the Silent Prayer,
some slip the hood of their prayer shawls
over their heads,
so that even among many worshipers
they are alone with God.

read the rest here

*********************

Conjoined Twins
by Yehoshua November

My father was a resident in the hospital
when my young mother gave birth to them. Two bodies
and one heart.
And hearing that the pathologists at that teaching institution
were coming to learn the lessons
science’s rare cases could teach,
my father turned the combination
on his locker and concealed the stillborn baby boys
in a box.

read the rest here

*********************

2AM, and the Rabbinical Students Stand in Their Bathrobes
by Yehoshua November

2AM, and the rabbinical students stand in their bathrobes
at the edge of the yeshiva parking lot, watching
the practiced motions of muscular firemen disembarking
from their engine. Soon, it will be determined
the youngest student in the building
pulled the basement alarm

read the rest here

*********************

A poetry poster by Yehoshua November: “You Stood Beneath a Streetlight Waving Goodbye.”

Live Your Poem has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Irene!

Don't forget to send your mistake poems! (Penicillin, anyone? X-rays?)

13 comments:

Irene Latham said...

Tabatha, these poems are simply gorgeous. Thank you. Sending you get-well pixie dust! And I REALLY want to write a mistakes poem... lord knows I've got plenty of material! xo

Diane Mayr said...

This is a new poet to explore. I liked the simplicity and subtle humor of "Prayer." Also, the humor in "Upstairs the Eulogy, Downstairs the Rummage Sale." Thanks for the introduction!

Linda B said...

The poems are like his comments about life, whether true or not, he tells us a variety of stories and to me, all about the heart. I enjoyed them, glad they brought you some relief, Tabatha. I love the thought of people with "ordinary lives (leaning) to something lofty and astonishing." Thanks for sharing about this poet.

Kay said...

I hope you feel better soon. Thank you for introducing me to another new poet to explore and get to know. I love these that you have shared--a glimpse of life the transcends the particular to the universal.

jama said...

Enjoyed reading the work of another new-to-me poet (cool last name, too). I liked the mix of sacred + everyday/ordinariness. Clarity and truth, very refreshing stuff.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

You're always introducing me to wonderful new poets, Tabatha. It's like an ongoing gift subscription. :) I especially love the first one. AND guess what? I'm in the revision stage of two mistake poems I plan to send your way. Woohoo!

Violet Nesdoly said...

Wonderful post, Tabatha. This sampling makes me want to read more! November's ("Nobember"'s--noticed how it was spelled two ways) poems illustrate to me again how the details of one's particular life relate on a human level transcending all manner of differences.

Mitchell Linda said...

Tabatha, I really enjoyed these poems...especially the poem that Yehoshua read aloud. I really love how this poet makes the every day sacred and vice versa in his verse. Thank you so much for introducing me to this poet. I want to read more. I want to be the student in the basement reciting psalms...knowing how special it is despite the lovely seats upstairs for the official eulogy.

Mary Lee said...

Thank you for introducing me to a new poet. I love this description, "Throughout his work, he shows that religious faith can be compatible with a poetry of deep, uncertain feeling."

Brenda Harsham said...

Gorgeous poetry, specific and yet relatable. I love that image of the woman in the wedding dress opening the suitcase for an address. We use our phones for that now, don't we? I hope you feel better soon!

Ruth said...

Wow, these are amazing. Thank you.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Once again, Tabatha brings us something and someone we didn't know. I'm fascinated that Yehoshua doesn't read his poems at all the way I would. Feel better, Tabatha! (Also, I hadn't read your 13 Ways of Looking at Emma. Gorgeous.)

Michelle Kogan said...

Thanks for this eclectic mix of intriguing, sometimes melancholy and slice of life poems, Tabatha! Hope you are feeling better too.