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Brenda Barrie

Three poems for the high Holidays by Brenda Barrie

by Brenda Barrie, August 27, 2013

Editor's note: Below are a few poems written by Brenda Barrie at High Holy Days over the years, and published in the liturgies of various synagogues and in her book of poems *Full Speed. Full Stop,* to be republished sometime during 2014 by Gray Matter Imprints.



Cheryl Sang The Shofar Service
Rosh Hashonah, 1992

I've always heard the war chant
in the Shofar service,
heard the call to battle
in the leader's song.
Gloried in the sounds of strength
leading to his

                                  * tekkiah*

This year Cheryl sang
the service.
called for the* tekkiah gedola*
with the complex song
leading to it.

But something new was added,
the distaff notes she sang
altered the music for me,
let me hear the love song.


I set before you this day the blessing and the curse.
Therefore choose life.


Choices carry their opposites within.
Replete with blessings, still we bring the curse along.
While ensconced in life, we feel the tickle of death.
and we prepare for beginnings by first looking back

We struggle to recall our old mistakes.
They add a certain relish, even to better choices.
And newer promises have part of their savor
in contrast to our old and broken ways.

The year's new fruits carry a hint of sour within.
We eat the sweet bread put before us,
and the apples and honey, but we know,
they come with the bee's sting still sharp in them.

whiteface moon floats silent
within, cycle of a life
in minutes.  Or whatever
the name you give to this time
of internal e-


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Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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