The Art of Blessing the Day by Marge Piercy

Haggadah Section: Conclusion

The Art of Blessing the Day

By Marge Piercy

This is the blessing for rain after drought:

Come down, wash the air so it shimmers,

a perfumed shawl of lavender chiffon.

Let the parched leaves suckle and swell.

Enter my skin, wash me for the little

chrysalis of sleep rocked in your plashing.

In the morning the world is peeled to shining.

This is the blessing for sun after long rain:

Now everything shakes itself free and rises.

The trees are bright as pushcart ices.

Every last lily opens its satin thighs.

The bees dance and roll in pollen

and the cardinal at the top of the pine

sings at full throttle, fountaining.

This is the blessing for a ripe peach:

This is luck made round. Frost can nip

the blossom, kill the bee. It can drop,

a hard green useless nut. Brown fungus,

the burrowing worm that coils in rot can

blemish it and wind crush it on the ground.

Yet this peach fills my mouth with juicy sun.

This is the blessing for the first garden tomato:

Those green boxes of tasteless acid the store

sells in January, those red things with the savor

of wet chalk, they mock your fragrant name.

How fat and sweet you are weighing down my palm,

warm as the flank of a cow in the sun.

You are the savor of summer in a thin red skin.

This is the blessing for a political victory:

Although I shall not forget that things

work in increments and epicycles and sometime

leaps that half the time fall back down,

let's not relinquish dancing while the music

fits into our hips and bounces our heels.

We must never forget, pleasure is real as pain.

The blessing for the return of a favorite cat,

the blessing for love returned, for friends'

return, for money received unexpected,

the blessing for the rising of the bread,

the sun, the oppressed. I am not sentimental

about old men mumbling the Hebrew by rote

with no more feeling than one says gesundheit.

But the discipline of blessings is to taste

each moment, the bitter, the sour, the sweet

and the salty, and be glad for what does not

hurt. The art is in compressing attention

to each little and big blossom of the tree

of life, to let the tongue sing each fruit,

its savor, its aroma and its use.

Attention is love, what we must give

children, mothers, fathers, pets,

our friends, the news, the woes of others.

What we want to change we curse and then

pick up a tool. Bless whatever you can

with eyes and hands and tongue. If you

can't bless it, get ready to make it new.


Marge Piercy

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