Sometimes it takes a claw,
one claw that you can, with great struggle,
grow out of your soul. With that claw
you can grab something, anything,
to hang on to. It may be a branch, a stick,
a crevice in the mighty cliff of Being, no matter.
Your claw gives you purchase. Hang on.
No matter what. Hang on. You’ve made a claw.
It isn’t the last thing you’ll make. It’s enough
for now, to survive, gain strength, pull pull
The energy is in the claw.
Pull, up, to where the sun shines.
Along the way, there may appear
another claw, or a finger, something
left over from before, from the dark.
Claws change into hands. Then the hand
sprouts an arm. And the arm is connected
to all kinds of things, your body, now humanized,
now breathing. You pushed this sharp, arching bit
of dross, the last clipping on your floor
and it became a means for getting up and out
of the deep well where you thought you might die.
Sometimes it takes a claw.
A Midwesterner by birth, Arthur Rosch migrated to the West Coast just in time to be a hippie but discovered that he was more connected to the Beatnik generation. He harkened back to an Old School world of jazz, poetry, painting and photography. In the Eighties he received Playboy Magazine’s Best Short Story Award for a comic view of a planet where there are six genders. The timing was not good. His life was falling apart as he struggled with addiction and depression. He experienced the reality of the streets for more than a decade. Putting himself back together was the defining experience of his life. It wasn’t easy. It did, however, nurture his literary soul. He has a passion for astronomy, photography, history, psychology and the weird puzzle of human experience. He is currently a certified Seniors Peer Counselor in Sonoma County, California. Come visit his blogs and photo sites. www.artrosch.com and http://bit.ly/2uyxZbv.
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Arthur Rosch Copyright 2019
A Guest At The Eternal Passover Seder
“Avraham, give our guest some more gefilte fish.” Mother Rachel spoke in Yiddish and gestured towards the man seated at the place of honor on the long holiday table.
Evidently the man couldn’t speak. His eyes bulged from his head, his arms went this way and that. Some hidden force seemed to glue him to his chair so that he could not even rise.
“He looks funny,” Avraham, eldest son, tried to conceal a giggle. The man was indeed a comical figure. His little mustache, his hair combed over his forehead, these were unusual accoutrements at the Eternal Seder. In the Spirit World the Eternal Seder was just that, an unending celebration of Passover. It occupied an archetypal place in the Cosmic Order.
“Why is he doing that?” asked Sipporah, younger daughter. The guest was thrusting his right arm out, almost straight, but bending and sagging from the fatigue of eons of attempting this salute.
“It’s supposed to mean Victory,” Zeyda Moishe said skeptically.
“I think he is perhaps deluded,” Baba Zifnah decided. “Don’t let him spoil the Seder.”
“There is always a guest at Seder,” said Cousin Frankl. “They are not always so unpleasant.”
The candles glistened, filling the chamber with soft light. More light, soft but differently colored, emanated from the spacious double windows.
“It is our tradition to welcome everyone, from all the Worlds and Spheres,” Mother Rachel declared. “Even the Hell Worlds.”
“Do you think he’s from one of those?” little Micah interjected with excitement. His eyes gleamed with ghoulish fascination.
“It is not ours to judge.” Zeydah Moishe said. “Sins are put aside during Passover. That is the whole point. The Angel Of Darkness passes over our house.”
There was a sound entering the chamber, a sound as of a colossal wagon loaded with tons of lead. It groaned with a sound so deep that most of it was felt rather than heard. Shadows covered the windows. The light was attenuated. Little Gavril, the toddler cousin, rose with curiosity to look out.
“Don’t!” commanded Mother Rachel. “Sit down! Our Guest’s crimes are rolling past our house. Praise God they don’t stop here.”
The grinding sound continued as if forever. Sledges pulled by immense demon-steeds yanked them forward a bit at a time. At last peace was restored. The Guest seemed to sag. It was possible to see a hint of remorse in his countenance. Then he straightened and attempted his rigid arm-salute.
“I thought for a moment that he might regret his crimes,” said Sipporah.
“For a moment, perhaps.” Zeyda Moishe replied. “But look: he is again celebrating his imaginary victory.”
“Too bad.” Baba Zifnah commented quietly.
“Without regret, without an accounting,” said Zeyha Moishe, “Crimes cannot be forgiven. It will take this one some time. Perhaps twenty eons, perhaps a thousand. Regret and remorse will come to him, but not for a very long time. Let us say a special prayer for his soul.”
Those at the Seder, all but the one who glared impotently, bowed their heads and began the traditional benediction. “Baruch Atah,” they intoned, “Blessed Be You.”