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A Prayer for Yom Kippur, by Andy Izenson

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No venerable conductor makes the shape of this piece in the air
with finely tuned hands.

No single consciousness directs,
and still, somehow,
against all odds,
a coalescing of harmony.

Each leaf and each stone
raises its voice,
each dancer and each drop of oil
offers its fragment,
refracts,
weaves into the current.

When you turn your hands over to see
the candlelight shine off the beds of your nails,
it’s a strand in a braid,
it’s always been.

There are a hundred million hands describing this motion before yours.
There are a hundred million after.

How lovely –
how senseless –
how inevitable –
each note of this, the ecosystem of it.
The eddies of causality that trail behind your fingers when you dip them in the flow.
The sun on the water, moving always in the same pattern.

Unguided by anything but itself,
it could be anything.
It spangles over your nerve endings
as the harmony learns itself,
threads through itself,
ever new, becomes itself.  

Snags of dissonance.
Strings twang and snap.
Mourning. Feels like death.

Every other force has a face.
A name to howl.
Something to beat your fists against.
This is just the song. The atmosphere.

Shout. Try. Rail. Drown it out.
The ricochet of your own voice.
It’ll wait.
You’ll tire.

When you’re ready,
surrender.
Crack open the resonance chamber of your heart.
Pull a shawl over your face
and listen, listen, listen.
The space for your voice is there,
waiting for you to turn back to it.

Sing because a piece of this lives inside you,
and sing because it is beautiful,
and sing because a piece of this lives inside everything that touches you,
and sing because it is beautiful!

O how good is creation,
how crunchy are these autumn leaves,
how pure is the pain of Nothing Compares 2U,
how perfectly chocolate and peanut butter go together,
how soft and rushing is the knowledge
   that your parents will die
      and you will have to live in a world without them,
how clear is the call to justice, what blessings!
Turn your ear towards each,
the swell of the song,
the enfolding sunlight!

As creaking hinges add their voice to the music,
and as the sound slides smoothly into the place that is made for it,
a lyric –
a still, small voice –
yearning towards the inexpressible –

I will be closer to harmony next year than I am today.

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