Who Knows One?

Yesterday, I shared a poem that actually came to me in prayer as I stood outside with the cornfield on my left, as high as an elephant’s eye, and a tree on my right that has been on this property long before we came here, perhaps since before I was born.

As I indicated, I was inspired by a book about kabbalah, the mystic stream of Judaism. It is an amazing book and I am awed once again by the Oneness of God. I believe that all who search with a sincere heart will find the door to God and when they open it, they will discover the same God that all other sincere searchers seek.

When I picked up this book, I picked up two others, one on Jewish festivals (I was hoping weddings would be included) and one a Passover Haggadah. The Haggadah is the story or script that goes along with the food when a family comes together for the Passover seder (meal). I was delighted when I opened the Haggadah book and realized that the way my family celebrates the seder is pretty accurate. I must have done some pretty good research when I wrote ours 35 years ago. But in this book, there were some really cool children’s songs which, according to the footnotes were sung during the seder to keep the children interested in what is a pretty long, adultish type ritual.

Two that are really fun (I wish I had music to these) are “Who Knows One” and “The One Kid”. The former is a repetition song like the 12 days of Christmas or Old MacDonald. Children love these songs and they are great to help them put to memory ideas you want them to remember. Here is a sampling of the first:

One – who knows one?
One – I know one.
           One is our God, who is in the heaven and on earth.

Two – who knows two?
     Two – I know two.
          Two  are the tablets of the Covenant,
           One is our God, who is in heaven and on earth.

Three – who knows three?
      Three – I know three.
          Three are the Fathers,
          Two are the tablets of the Covenant,
          One is our God, who is in heaven and on earth, etc.

Having worked in Early Childhood for years, it is easy for  me to imagine actions to go along with this song.

The second song reminds me of songs I taught my children – “Hush Little Baby”,  “There’s a hole in the bucket” and “There was an old lady who swallowed a fly”. Here are the words:

The one kid, the one kid, that daddy bought for two zuzim, the one kid.
And the cat came and ate the kid, that daddy bought for two zuzim, the one kid, the one kid.
And the dog came and bit the cat, that the kid, etc.
And the stick came and beat the dog, that bit the cat, etc.
And the fire came and burned the stick, that beat the dog, etc.
And the water came and put out the fire, that burned the stick, etc.
And the ox came and drank up the water that put out the fire. etc.
And the butcher came, and butchered the ox, that drank up the water, etc.
And the Angel of Death came and slaughtered the butcher, who butchered the ox, etc.
And the Holy One, blessed be he, came and slaughtered the Angel of death, who slaughtered the butcher, who butchered the ox, who drank up the water, that put out the fire, that burned the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the kid, that daddy bought for two zuzim, the kind and one kid. 

Footnote says of the first that it was probably composed in the 15th or 16th century. The second was originally written in poor Aramaic no earlier than the 15th century. One explanation for its meaning: “Israel is the kid which God bought for two zuzuim, which are the two tablets of the Covenant. Subsequently, Israel fell prey to the first of a series of empires, each of which destroyed its predecessor in turn. The cat is Assyria, the dog Babylonia, the stick  Persia, the fire macedonia, the water Rome, the ox the Saracens, the slaughterer the crusaders, and the Angel of death the Turks.” The song is a history lesson.

So who will give the  meaning of our songs…Henry’s bucket, the Little Old Lady’s Spider and the Hushed Little Baby? Someone else’s research.

Savoring the last bite

Another new week. How many times have I looked toward a new week? There are ritual activities that make me aware that my time on earth is getting shorter. One is the list I always make at the start of a week of things I need or want to do for the next seven days. Another is when I fill my pill box with my daily vitamins and medications. There is the once-a-week water pick treatment I do on my teeth. Add to these rituals the meetings I attend each week and laundry day, always Monday.

There are the yearly repetitions, too, of course, another Thanksgiving, another Christmas or Easter gone by. Each time we celebrate, the list of future celebration gets shorter. It alerts one to paying better attention. Like the last bit of food at a fabulous meal, the one I want to savor. It is as though each meal were my last, but then…another comes along and it wasn’t after all.


Ode to a Blank Mind

It is one of those days when nothing worth blogging about comes to mind.

The most spiritual of days.

How little it is that I know.


Christmas is coming and the goose is already getting fat. Tra-la-la.

Meditating with Birds

I knew a man once who invented a thing that could bring the sound of the birds

from the outside of his house to the inside.

How strange, I thought, my friend has too much time on his hands.

My friend’s name was Bob. I suspect it still is.

Bob came to mind this morning as I sat on my front porch for my morning meditation.

It is getting very close to raining:

grey, still, a vague sweet smell, bird chatter lazy.

I thought how much I love doing my meditation outside where my senses hold me in place

like braces that keep a house from sliding off its foundation.

Minnesota summers are short and precious, intense and much appreciated

though the citizens don’t dare express this

I know that I will have to go indoors when winter comes.

Where I will sit in a box before a fire while the sun rises

And listen to the familiar hum of the refrigerator.

Bob, in his box, will listen to birds.

Morning Docking

Standing on the dock in the early morning, I watched a bug of sorts bunny hop the water sending radial circles that crashed into one another. They say our every thought and action does this, send ripples out until they hit a shore, but never have I thought that these circles we create intersect. So what does one do then? I am conflicting with my own opinion expressed last week or when I was 13.

I saw the lake’s bottom through the still water and there was a clam pretending to be a butterfly there, not fluttering one iota so the truth was given away.

Birds, white with black bottoms and long red beaks. Oh, for my Minnesota Bird book now. One heads out to the middle of the lake, another nears the dock until it realizes my watching, then takes flight and I see that the black bottom was its wing tips tucked under.

I realize that nature, to be known, must reach out and grab me. And then, only for a split second am I held before my thoughts seep in.