Stars and Constellations


The children of Israel may not touch

The arts of occult divination

Which other nations practised much

By means of star and constellation.

But Joseph could interpret dreams

And Daniel too possessed that skill,

And miracles occur, it seems,

The waters part; the sun stands still.

In Babylon, an almanac

Explained the changes in the sky

With symbols of the zodiac

Which last a month and then pass by.

A synagogue in Jericho

Displays a Zodiac mosaic

From fifteen hundred years ago,

Both enigmatic and archaic.

The water signs, the fish and crab

The bigger beasts, the ram and bull,

The lion in the month of Ab,

Yields to the virgin of Elul.

Unleavened bread and paschal lamb

Remind us we were Pharaoh’s slaves,

Went free beneath the Aries ram

And walked dry shod between the waves,

Received twin tablets of the Law

When the sign of Gemini prevails

Our deeds judged in the Days of Awe

The season of the Libra scales.

We read of Noah and his ark

When winter’s near and clouds hang low,

The afternoons are growing dark

The astral archer draws his bow.

But we are not allowed to plunder

The seductive wisdom of the mages

Though scientists suppose with wonder

Infinities of monkey cages.

The necromancer’s eerie art

Is banned, for that way madness lies,

But astrophysicists may chart

The restless motion in the skies.

Elul 5777


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