The Forward article, from which I took this poem, also contained a really really un-Jewish poem by the same author. This one was beautiful, though.
By Richard Schiffman
Same crew as last year in Sandy’s parlor
with its low ceiling and burnished walnut fittings
reminiscent of a ship’s galley. Mutinous, as usual,
chafing at the matzo, maror and bitter herbs —
the routine questions, answers, prayers and songs,
as Richard strains to keep us on the same page
as tradition. But the ship is drifting into giddy,
irreligious waters, no longer salt, but cloyingLY?
sweet, in which we dip and double dip
in levity what our forbears shed in tears,
or smeared in blood upon the doorway,
when death came sailing down the Nile.
Ten drops of ManischeWitz for the plagues on Egypt,
horseradish to prick the tongue with Pharaoh’s
lash. Bread left unleavened for the quick escape
into the desert, where freedom cost us more
than bondage ever did: 40 parched and famished
years, which we commemorate with a feast
when the caustic condiments are done.
Richard Schiffman is a poet and spiritual author who recently completed a work on Moses.