Questions in the Desert – New Prose with an Old Jewish Theme

February 28, 2013
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In the desert I walked, so long

Alone, beyond an evening sun.

While earlier in town we danced

For loves, as easily lost as won.

Passing beyond the city gates

I’d found a destiny within that sings

Knowing deeply what can end,

Renews, and once again begins.

For ages, it felt, walking,

An infinity, in a timeless sink.

In Jonah’s yellow sunlight baked

And from sandy pools I’d drink,

Now, many years hence, by luck

I’ve lived to share a tale

And recount to you this fateful time

In the belly of a desert whale:

By a cave at night, light

A flash as though a dream

The ether splashed upon me

Reality bursting at the seams.

It came as questions six

A mind’s eye dance beyond words

Hard to tell if another was speaking

Or was my very own voice I’d heard.

“What is behind me?”

And my vision ventured back

First to family, deeds, and dreams

To unseen lands from the distant past.

“What is within me?”

And my heart burst open wide

With fears and hope, regrets and love

A truth, from which I couldn’t hide.

“What surrounds me?”

And natures gifts burned bright

Trees and sands, birds and lands

Miracles glowing with holy light.

“What is above me?”

And at this I looked straight up

Gifts as many as the stars to see

Two eyes were barely enough

“Whom do I face?”

And then I saw the unseen

Not men or women, but a guide

By a holy mirror inside of me.

“What is ahead of me?”

And there was the black unknown

With faith and trust and love

Facing it, but ultimately – alone.

It left as fast as it came

The night seeped back in

Was I by a prophet visited?

What had I really seen?

Little things felt different

Touch, and taste, and smell

I felt a wee bit older

Though stronger, and quite well

What came to pass truly?

That answer I never knew,

I suppose it’s what we do that matters

So tell me – what would you?



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Lee Frankel-Goldwater is a professional environmental educator, writer, and social good project developer as well as a recent graduate of NYU's Environmental Conservation Education masters program. Lee has also studied at the Center for Creative Ecology on Kibbutz Lotan, Israel and at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. Currently he has been leading development of the Global Action Classroom, an Earth Child Institute initiative focused on global youth environmental cooperation and helping to create the Global Sustainability Fellows, a program of The Sustainability Laboratory seeking to design a new and innovative, international sustainability masters program. Other projects include: developing mobile applications for encouraging social action, mixed media video design, leading peace and environmental education workshops, and doing his best to live a life in connection with the Earth while helping others to do the same. At heart Lee is a poet, traveler, musician, and philosopher with a deep curiosity for new experiences, unfamiliar cultures, learning languages, and often dancing to the beat of a different drummer. As student of yoga, meditation, and spiritual arts, Lee aims to connect the inner journey with the outer one, hoping, as he can, to share what is learned along the way, enjoying the journey.

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