Musaf: Additional Prayer – Kenneth Salzmann

Praised be the one
I have lived contentedly without;
who reveals the Berkshires today
are an unexpected house of prayer
and sorrow, as just one green month
rises to repair a broken circle; whose
search for me is unfulfilled
and perhaps not ended.

Blessed is eternal loss and glory, wonder of the universe,
splash of color slipping from a winter-weary wood
that I have often walked alone; blessed a father’s flight
that leaves a son with no direction to flee but back
along remembered village roads that run two ways
through dimming childhoods; blessed each step out
and each step back, the returning implicit in the going.

Blessed are the little-traveled village roads that carry
fathers and sons toward innumerable destinations.

Blessed are the four corners, and the fringes.

Eternal Mothering Presence, you coax Deuteronomy
from the gentle throats of Berkshire songbirds
and fly away; you clothe the naked birches
with the finishing touches of spring; you drop green vowels
on weathered wood until the world finds a voice
and whispers Shema; you make me a Jew.

Unending Adonai, help us to go on imagining
that, wherever we go, we have only missed you
by a moment; allow us our untenable conviction
that we might become a blessing.

Blessed Father, command us to be free.

*Originally published in Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude
Holy Cow! Press 2009

Kenneth Salzmann is a writer and poet who lives in Woodstock, NY, and Ajijic, Mexico. His poetry has appeared in Riverine: An Anthology of Hudson Valley Writers, Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude, Rattle, The New Verse News, The Comstock Review, and elsewhere.

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