Friday afternoon piyut

It was his habit to indulge himself in that solemn passivity which easily comes with the lengthening shadows and mellowing light, when thinking and desiring melt together imperceptibly, and what in other hours may have seemed argument takes the quality of passionate vision.—George Eliot

Those expanding hours
the pause Friday afternoon
portfolios laced shut
new ventures not to be offered or taken up
while waiting for Shabbat evening yet to fall

my breathing reaches ahead

Now—who are those gathered there?
materialized from dust and shadow
figures greet each other
thronging sketched wayfairs
adjusting their shawls or long skirts
stroking beards or trimmed moustaches

One fellow with news from the front,
another retelling family tales
one interpreting a text
perhaps musing on
what Spinoza demanded of government
or reconciling Freud and Reich

assembling smiles and charitable coins
comrades conducting spirited arguments
in tents or low-slung meeting houses
poised on their lips
a pipe, hookah, or schnapps glass

My eyes tear at recognizing them
I gather their epochs eagerly,
wander among them to inquire
where they hailed from
how they kept clear hearts, sharp thoughts, keen knowledge
throughout those mists of time

Our words and embraces
bring us one week closer
to the joy of the after days

Andy Oram
January 5, 2024

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