Impersonal, or: God

First matters too much, I -  
Second, too intimate, 
    You - 
Third
like the rest, 
        that 
    aged bearded Jew -
like those before, doesn't even
like all that are
like him in
        that 
    way including -
no - just
he, him, third 
person is impersonal 
        enough for -
    for - description

Right, God? Right?
        Right? All just -
    just - characters 
in 
Your play - second -
Your mind - intimate -
Your imagination 
so why -
        why - why - make it
    personal? why
        make it
    first
person? He - 
him - different only
    insofar as every person 
is
different only
    from every other

Make it 
        matter
    Make it 
        matter 
all just - 
he's just -
      - matter
Right, God? 
    Right? Right? Like
all the rest,
        that
    aged bearded Jew -
Graying, withering, wondering
        whether words fray too 
        like the sinews of his - His -
        Torah
    for he is matter 
    for unto matter
        he shall return
like those before 
like all that are
like Him

d’Verse

‘Open link night’

For the most recent ‘open link night’ I have decided to share a poem that I wrote nearly one year ago (in early June), not longer after I created this blog. In general, I don’t feel particularly comfortable writing free verse, and this was one of my earliest attempts at it.

64 thoughts on “Impersonal, or: God”

  1. Stellar piece Ben – so well worked… Fresh and original too… I’ll definitely be back for more!

    1. Thanks so much, Scott, I really appreciate it 😀

      BTW, please feel free to call me ‘David’ ~ that’s my first name. ‘Ben’ just means ‘son of’ in Hebrew, and my father’s name was ‘Alexander’… my blog is dedicated to him.

      Much love,
      David

  2. Really interesting rhythm, the internal monologue, then I was caught unawares with the more poetic lines :Graying, withering, wondering whether words fray too.’ Great work.

    1. Thanks so much, Ken 🤗

      BTW, please feel free to call me ‘David’ ~ that’s my first name. ‘Ben’ just means ‘son of’ in Hebrew, and my father’s name was ‘Alexander’… my blog is dedicated to him.

      Yours,
      David

      1. I’m an idiot, sorry David! 😕 Have seen you sign off so many of your posts with David so I should have known 😊 That all makes sense, will remember that in future.

        1. No worries at all, Ken! When I picked my pen name, I knew what I was getting myself into ~ it’s confusing! That’s transliteration for you 😀

          Shabbat shalom,
          David

        2. Ha! 😂 Not at all David, it’s actually quite clever! 😊👍

          Shabbat Shalom to you toi
          Mind yourself

          Ken

  3. just another thought -the late Swiss Lutheran pastor and poet Kurt Marti at one point speaks of god as immensely small… I think it was that what made me as a habit spell them as g-o-d. Oh it will be shabbes where you are now. So I sign off Shabat Shalom.

  4. Some interesting questions posed here David, and an interesting shape your poem takes. Reminds me of the song ‘one of us’ – of course, if God was one of us, that would rule her/him out for the role of God…

  5. Although I’ve only begun to read your work, I feel this strays a bit from your usual style…am i right? Right? 😉
    I enjoyed the spilling of monologue and pondering on the page.

    1. Mish, you know, I am still trying to figure out what “my” style is… but I have to say that writing free verse always feels awkward to me.

      I’m always more comfortable with some sort of form to play with.

      ❤
      David

  6. I love the use of the repetitive phrasing and the dashes. The dashes seem to be a gasping for breath or a sob. Free verse is difficult for me too, which is why I rarely do it… Now a prose poem is something I can enjoy writing!

  7. This circles around the essential question to which there is no clear answer. The stopping-and-starting-again rhythm is very effective. It’s the way thought travels I think. (K)

  8. I think you address a lot of very deep questions which I think every religious person has to address…
    Maybe some of the texts shall be seen most as written with metaphors… we can only grasp the abstract by relating to what we know in ourselves.
    I like the reference to “One of us” which is a song I will listen to now.

    1. we can only grasp the abstract by relating to what we know in ourselves.

      I think this is exactly right, Björn! After all, how else can we grasp it?

      ❤
      David

  9. In my simple ‘shteiteldike’ way of relating to Him, I believe that each one of us has a spark of G-dliness within each individual Neshama. In addition to that, my grandmother taught me from early childhood that He is everywhere, without time or space constrains or attributes.
    I do understand the inner struggle of those, who, like you, David, have not grown up with these concepts but have to learn and accept them intellectually.
    I wish you Hatzlacha,
    D

    1. Dolly, I do struggle – but I don’t feel that I have to accept anything, only that I am expected to do so by many other people. After years, I’ve become more comfortable being true to my own perception of existence. That said, my perception is far from black-and-white – my perception is wrapped up in the very struggle itself.

      Much love and appreciation,
      David

      1. As good old Master Will said, “And above all, to thine own self be true.” Other people can go and live with their expectations without forcing them on their friend and neighbors.
        I believe that Torah has a way of getting to every Jewish Neshama through learning, not pushing. I also believe that a good chaulent has made more Baalei Teshuvot than all Rabbis’ sermons.
        Love,
        D

        1. a good chaulent has made more Baalei Teshuvot than all Rabbis’ sermons.

          This is certainly true for me – it was the warmth, kindness, and community of frum Jews that I encountered in ’98 that drew me towards observance – not anything that any rabbi told me.

          ❤
          David

  10. Reminds me of some of my thoughts before bed, especially this:

    “Right, God? Right?
    Right? All just –
    just – characters
    in
    Your play – second –
    Your mind – intimate –
    Your imagination
    so why –
    why – why – make it
    personal?”

    Makes me realize that we play God as writers, just as God creates his own characters in us. Humanity is interesting with our beliefs and emotions. The different perspectives shared, first, second, third all ring true in their levels of intimacy. I like how you explore the different relationships with God and even questions surrounding it. Very beautiful writing!

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