Aniya: A Poem for Alan Soloway

I started this poem in the winter but just finished a few days ago and read itat the memorial of the shloshim-the 30 day ending of the month of mourning.  As some of you may know, sailing was R. Marc’s father’s lifetime passion.  As we learn in the last part of the Talmud tractate Moed Katan, may the time come when ‘death is swallowed up forever.’ (Aniya means ship and also contains wording of ANI-I, and AYIN- no-thingness.)

Written in honor of the shloshim of Rabbi Marc’s father- Alan Soloway z”l

We attempt to carve a well anchored name
with wind words sculpted into nautical wood.
Each plank of ego with spirit engravedLife
force etched into exoskeletal frame,
Impervious at least we thought, to menacing storm and tides.
Inner chambers carefully paved, declared we could.
Paneled from bow to stern- self-reliance our foremost guide.

Enter wormholes, slow or sudden- Cracks in solid mass,
Biodegradable matter sails through creaking doors.
Crashing waves tease out stubborn longing for infinite seas,
As one by one beams break off, spitting nails, decomposing as they
Finally the hollowed hull allows the soul its plunge to nameless foam,
embracing once feared eternity, now towed to shores
Where personhood, at last unfettered, floats toward home.

About Morah Yehudis Fishman

I have been teaching Torah and Chassidic writings for over forty years to students of all ages and backgrounds, both on the East Coast and the Midwest. I have been a director of several Jewish organizations in Santa Fe and Colorado. My articles and poetry on a wide variety of Jewish topics have been printed in many publications, and also are available online.

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