Joyce Miriam Friedman


April 5, 2020

MY BODY

 

There is a quiet in my bones,
My nervous system slowed to   
Allow uninterrupted sleep.
My God it’s been a long time.

Silence in the streets
And a clearing on the planet
While we fight a devil we cannot see.

There is a flurry in my heart,
Trembling and shaken,
Grateful and blessed,
Grieving and burning.

There is fogginess in my mind,
A blanket of blur,
Nothing gets done.
All striving has ceased.

Last week I cleaned the laundry room.
Today I make my bed.

 

 

 

 

 

April 6, 2020

Our Ancient Ones 

The ancient ones,
My ancestors
Stand by me, so close I can feel them.
One of them even came to me in a dream to
Command that I write some poems.
Thank you, I say, I will.

Sweetest, they say, we left our homes
To sail across the water
Never to see our towns and villages again.
We knew it would be the last time we would
See our parents and siblings.

 

Darling, our sons and fathers joined the Russian army in The First World War.
We were left to hunker down and
Fear the pograms.

From my own mother,
My love, your father left on a train
During World War Two and
I, I was pregnant with your brother.
Only the fierce love we had for one another
Softened the terrible uncertainty.

 

The crowd of my ancestors known and unknown
Have been called.
They hear our cries.
Congregating on a hilltop they say to me,
We love you forever and fully.
We are here to guide and protect all of
Our descendants.
This is our holy work.

They gently whisper,
Child of our heart,
You didn’t know this was possible.
Come into our circle
Where we can hold you
And with all our history of
Suffering and love,
We say
Enter the stillness,
Open your heart wider,
Stay in sacred relationship to all you know.
All will be well.

 

 

April 7, 2020

SEDER NIGHT

Why is this night different than all other nights?
In the sky, it’s Super Moon Time,
Brilliant glow of radiance above the horizon on my
Front lawn.

It’s Super Seder time,
The once in Many Lifetimes Passover
Where our families are on screens
And we eat alone in front of our seder plate.

It’s Super Wild Time,
We are cells in the body of the planet
Gone bad,
Yet continuing to love, to sing.
To stretch, to listen
And to comfort one another
From afar
On a screen
On a phone.

There is no normal
Yet
It’s Ordinary Spring and the
Buds are greening,
Birds are nesting,
My grandsons are blowing bubbles
And making sand cakes in the
Blue sand box.

 

 

 

April 25, 2020

PRAYING

 

My little Alvie brought me out of my
Blue today.
His magic marker scribble in the
Huge Cardboard box with
Inquiring eyes, funny gestures and
Knowing mind
Created magic markings in
My descending soul
And brought me right back
To this sacred moment,
To the joy and wonder
Of a toddler discovering
Dandelions and daffodils,
Hiding puppets in drawers
And eating pickle pieces in his bowl.

My last night prayers were answered.
Please lift me
Please lift me
And so I was.

 

 

 

 

May 20, 2020

Me in my blue car
Where the chaos of my mind can rest,
A podcast inspires me,
I chew my gum or eat a cheese snack.
Pet store, Trader Joes,
Four trips to the woods,
Oh and the fish store in Nonantum.

 

Errands filling my day,
Is this what I did in that Before Time?
Oy, I think so. Sadly.
More or less.

Trying to keep this loneliness far away
The empty space doesn’t quite get filled.
I learned that you can feel loved,
Be loved, be surrounded by your loved ones,
And still be lonely.

Carry me.
God, companion, guide, friend.
I want to be carried or just
Be by my side while
Planting my garden,
Playing my piano,
Cooking dinner,
Singing on zoom.

When you’re not here,
(and often I can’t feel you)
I just float on the fragrant wind of this springtime
When what I really need is my feet deep in this earth.

 

 

 


When Joyce isn’t isolating at home during COVID 19, she is an avid pianist, singer and fiddle player. She has been a hospital clown for twenty years with the Hearts and Noses Hospital Clown Troupe in the Boston area which has sadly been put on hold. Joyce has written and performed several one-woman shows that have been both universal and personal. During this pandemic, she has taken on the practice of writing one poem a day.
She lives in Newton MA with her husband of forty years and her grown daughters and grandsons nearby.