Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Room of My Own: Kaddish Haiku

 for Harvey Shapiro (January 27, 1924 - January 7, 2013), who was an admired American poet and former editor of The New York Times, and who suggested that Martin Luther King should write his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

in my sleep
a crow croaks Kaddish
... winter day moon

Note: Kaddish is a hymn of praises to God found in the Jewish prayer service. The central theme of the Kaddish is the magnification and sanctification of God's name... The term "Kaddish" is often used to refer specifically to "The Mourners' Kaddish", said as part of the mourning rituals in Judaism in all prayer services, as well as at funerals and memorials. -- an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry, Kaddish

1 comment:

  1. Below is an excerpt from Margalit Fox's article, "Harvey Shapiro, Poet and Editor, Dies at 88," which can be accessed at

    "Harvey Shapiro, an admired American poet who chose newspaper work over the time-honored academic vocation of his peers, and who as an editor at The New York Times made an epochal assignment — what became the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” — that ultimately never appeared in the newspaper, died on Monday in Manhattan. He was 88.

    In “The Mother of Invention,” published in Bomb magazine in 2011, Mr. Shapiro wrote:

    On my desk are the bills from the living
    and in my sleep are the bills from the dead.

    “Emptiness is the mother of invention”
    says my fortune cookie. July 23, 2010.
    Brooklyn. I walk in the slow rain,
    never less accomplished, never happier.

    Why should I doubt the world has meaning
    when even in myself I see mysterious purposes.

    A crow drops down for a moment,
    black, rabbinical garb, croaking Kaddish."