Home > The Crowd > Niggun for the Hand-Drum

Niggun for the Hand-Drum

December 7, 2010

by Jane Rice

Taste of soil
sings in the throat

solo clarinet

chin lifts
to listen

this, then
on the alphabet
of sound
on the nature of questions

keep and remember
this tree
this meeting place

now
is now
no other

welcome
to our land

angel, clearly an angel
greeted with kisses

light in danger
of darkening

earlier with people
finishes dusk

intricacies breathe
flaxen cloth

empty street
hangs
on every word

to learn
what fails
what balances

hour that listens
hears

sun and moon
together

how golden the sky

field of barley
ripe for the scythe

counting memory
wakes lunar dream

crowd is river
blue discussions

only the angel is barefoot
arm passes under the wing

and forward loosens
my hair

living water
enters
holds

a second so fast
the world turns

shadow upon shadow

so that little lanterns
of tambourine
fan and multiply.

*

Note: Niggun in Hebrew means humming tune. It is a short, wordless melody sung in a group to invoke a prayerful state of mind. The tune is often repetitive and improvised.


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Jane Rice lives in San Francisco and pursues her interests in poetry, art and art history. Please visit Propolis Press for information about her letterpress chapbook entitled Portrait Sitters.

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