Tashlich 1990

Tashich. We amble in the autumn sun
Replete with awe, late lunch and honey cakes
Towards the stream where brackish waters run
To shed our sins, wrongdoings and mistakes.
Among our company, there is not one
Whose soul is pure, so everyone partakes.

And in the moving stream we throw
Small crumbs of bread which represent
The damaging, unceasing flow
Of acts which cause us to repent,
But on this day we watch them go
And hope to feel the soul’s ascent.

Our sins are more than we can recollect,
We name them in the liturgy by rote,
For how can we with clarity detect
Where we fall short or, when we do, take note;
We strain our memories to resurrect
Misconduct so that we can watch it float.

The sins are scattered on the stream,
They cut the water like a knife
And by this gesture we redeem
The shattered fragments of our life
The holy, wishful, hopeless dream
Of lasting peace and banished strife.

Year after year we stand upon the bridge.
To passers-by, an unexpected sight
A group of Jews who seek the privilege
Of offering up the broken and contrite,
Judgment is not easy to envisage
But we choose life and trust there will be light.

This English, autumn afternoon,
We walk like others in the past
And though we stop for coffee soon,
The spirit of the day will last;
We saw at night the Tishri moon,
We heard today the shofar blast.