Dayenu … it would have been enough, a poem

This gift comes from Dee Ledger who offers the following as her brief biography: “I joyfully serve a congregation in Bethesda, Maryland — Bethesda United Church of Christ and am a widowed mother of two precious twin boys, age 21 months.” Her poem Dayenu emerges from the traditional Passover prayer which lists all the many stages of God’s rescue of the Hebrew people from Egypt with the refrain, “Dayenu” — it would have been enough. Below is a contemporary Passover prayer, followed by Dee’s poem.                                                      

A Passover Prayer – Dayenu Hebrew for “it would have been enough.”

To have walked the earth today. Dayenu.
To have been a verse in your song. Dayenu.
To have been mortal. Dayenu.
To have seen the face of another. Dayenu.
To have been your face to another. Dayenu.
To have tried and failed to love you. Dayenu.
To have not tried and yet been loved by you. Dayenu.
(source unknown, prayed at Temple Israel, Dover, New Hampshire)

Dayenu –Dee Ledger, 6-4-2014

Perhaps it is enough to sit still,
this waiting room with a view
French glass opening onto roofs littered
with empty beer cans and cigarette stubs.

Perhaps it is enough,
This small evidence of last night’s party and
the morning workmen patching leaks
their course grunts and occasional garrulousness
communicating volumes of misery and raucous hope
in hallowed cheeks
finally set to task.

Perhaps it is enough to live outside of lives misunderstood
or unknown
or yet explored
if the lingering there brings desire to become acquainted
truly and well
despite the awkwardness of introduction.

Perhaps it is enough to finger the threads
of prayer shawls in temples
those of youth or old age,
Eleusinian mysteries,
and relational kindness however brief from back rows or balconies.

Perhaps it is enough to stand at crossroads or crosswalks
with the migrant or his midnight mistress both who
wait, wait, wait
Looking for the opening,
The moment that the crowded van
Pulls up and offers a ride to another construction site
bid on fault-lines
knowing that another family will eat tonight
and maybe tomorrow too.

Perhaps it is enough to see in part, to be known in part,
to love deeply though in part.
our fractured fragments of beauty rising up again to be blessed
and re-fused in the morning light
like the rounded flask purchased from a glassblower long ago in a Swedish park.
This glass is strongest he said as he spun the rod
and pointed with his other hand to the fissures
flowing like tributaries or maybe scars.

Perhaps it is enough to be one tear flask among many
like those in the side museum
here at the Church of the Annunciation
gathered and kept as silent witness to those sighs
and frights too deep for words.

Perhaps it is enough to hold tenderness in the palm of your hand
Zorba’s butterfly seeking breath the reversal of conclusion
if only imagined for a day, a week, or a lifetime.
Perhaps it is enough to gather strength on the side lines
through music, song, and a solitary dance
Outposts of pouring, this bread, this wine
of exquisite ecstasy.

Perhaps it is enough to leave this empty chair and wait upon Elijah
or Jesus or whatever new prophet should suddenly appear transcendent in the
Sheol of subway station during rush hour,
the wail of sax for your salacious happenstance and spare change.

Perhaps it is enough to hear hearts beating across these states of mind,
The be- in the longing,
the almost I am.

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