The exquisite sharpness of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has plucked out an underlying population of infant stars embedded in the nebula NGC 346 that are still forming from gravitationally collapsing gas clouds. They have not yet ignited their hydrogen fuel to sustain nuclear fusion. The smallest of these infant stars is only half the mass of our Sun.

Pasturing Amongst Roses: A Prayer For Elul

אֲנִ֤י לְדוֹדִי֙ וְדוֹדִ֣י לִ֔י הָֽרוֹעֶ֖ה בַּשּֽׁוֹשַׁנִּֽים:
“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine, who pastures among the roses:”
Shlomo HaMelech, Shir HaShirim


Let I/Me/Us/We begin
with begging forgiveness
for this petition’s penitent repetition,

my/our mission is driven
by persistent and specific wishes
we are incapable of dismissing.

I/Me/Us/We are the opening,
the ten-thousandth gate-swing,

I/Me/Us/We plead
for clemency;
to be sprung from this linguistic prison.
Decolonize my/our verbal volition.

Repair the damage
of landlocking
my/our oceanic tongue,
mermaid-mouths choking on ashes,
sand, shell-shards and beach glass
crammed down our collective throat
by those who would silence this
life-giving defiance.

I/Me/Us/We long to know that this
abject loneliness
and shattered brokenness
will come
to untold wholeness,
heretofore-unknown seventh-leveled
pleasure and respite,
sweet completion,
a deep knowing that I/Me/Us/We
am/are supposed to be,
am/are meant for present existence.

Disabuse I/Me/Us/We of the notion
that we don’t belong here.

Let us be healed from this
terminal and toxic
brought on by unwantedness.

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I/Me/Us/We are pasturing amongst roses:
let my/our devotion be known,
we subsist on only blossoms:

consume just blooms,
fill our hungriness
with bee-buzzed budding,

drink of sweetness,
quench our thirst on
thirteen-petaled mercy

make us worthy of learning,
may we be deserving of awakening,
may our faith be greatly warranted,
may we receive our invitation
to the garden, and

above and below,
body and soul,
let our every petal unfold,
let our every sense open,
let us know the generousness
of wild, abiding and unbounded


With thanks for the teachings of Rabbi Reuven Wolf, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, Shlomo HaMelech, and all the roses.


Photo: “Cosmic Rose” by Nicolas Raymond