Psalm of the Sorrowing Children: A Poem For Elie Wiesel

Psalm of the Sorrowing Children: A Poem For Elie Wiesel
We wanted to call out to You, God,
   but we did not know how.
 
They wrapped us up and passed us swiftly into strangers’ arms,
   whispered kisses on our cheeks,
   and we cried out, in frightened silence.
Then, with new names, we were ordered to forget
   what was deepest in our hearts,
   and our souls cried silent screams.
 
They boarded us, in groups, on trains,
some bound east and some sound west,
some to new lives, some to pain, and some to no more life at all.
 
They talked to us of butterflies,
   and we gathered, small sad groups of walking bones,
   and drew pictures and wrote poetry of hope.
Calling out, God, to You, for the crumb of bread that promised life.
 
And some of us were sheltered,
   and tiptoed on stockinged feet through attics,
   while our cousins bravely trudged through ice in socks,
While some of us, reinvented, grew.
 
They undressed some of us gently for the showers,
   hiding their own fear, so we would trust…just one more moment.
   We wept inside, seeing their bodies tremble.
We wanted to scream out to You, but we did not know how.
 
And all of us remembered, as we remember still,
   to treasure breath, and butterflies,
   to value life, and laughter.
 
With all our hearts and mind,
   with all the small strong passion in our souls,
   we pray we are remembered;
That our memories can teach those who remember
   to cry our lives to You, God,
   in voices loud, or silenced by the pain.
 
We could not call out then to You, God.
We pray our memories live on and do that for us now.
 
Hug our souls close, God.
   Each hug an answer to a cry.
So we feel safe and warm despite it all
   held by the largest Love of all.

Min Kantrowitz

Rabbi Min Kantrowitz is a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, teaches about CryptoJews and Conversos of New Mexico for Road Scholar/Elderhostel and has private students. She directed the New Mexico Jewish Community Chaplaincy Program for 12 years, serving unaffiliated Jews throughout the state. A 2004 graduate of the Academy for Jewish Religion, California, she is the author of ?Counting the Omer: A Kabbalistic Meditation Guide?. Rabbi Kantrowitz is a former psychologist, a former architect/planner, a wife, mother and the proud Bubbie of three grandsons.

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