psalm 90: your so-called fortress

Looking into the new year of 2017 with all its challenges, Rabbi Brant Rosen’s poetic commentary/retake on psalm 90 . . . it is also one of the best poems I have read recently. He is also one of my favourite poets.

Yedid Nefesh

Medieval Akkerman fortress near Odessa in Ukraine

you’ve been my refuge,
or so i’ve been told from
the day i first learned how to sing,
from the day they first taught me
those rapturous hymns
to my stronghold, my fortress,
my shield.

you may have noticed
i’m not singing those songs any more
or maybe you haven’t,
maybe the cacophony of all
these desperate hosannas
have been mere background noise to you,
just a faint and constant buzzing in
the halls of your mansions on high.

oh yes, you’ve been my refuge.
or maybe more accurately my escape,
my pretense, my excuse.
i think the moment my song
began to falter,
was precisely the moment
i came to question the purpose
of your so-called fortress:

did you build it to keep me safe
or merely complacent?
to keep me from straying
or to keep me in line?
to shelter me from the storm
or protect me from the sorrows

View original post 4 more words


About gwpj

Originally from Seattle, I now live in Sapporo, Japan, where I write, explore this city, read widely, and ask questions about things that i see as important. I'm also an author, with three novels published ("The Old Man and The Monkey", "Grandfather and The Raven", and "Bear: a story about a boy and his unusual dog"). For more information about my writing, drop by my website, at
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