Feb 27
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Trees, Tu Bishvat, and Tikkun Olam

I was a seedling myself at my first Tu Bishvat Seder
Anticipating my 6th birthday as the trees celebrated theirs. 

I took itty bitty sips of four cups of grape juice I didn't like
Spooned foreign fruits onto my paper plate
And joined the high pitched prayer chorus
Of my Hebrew school classmates, all while wondering
Why is there a birthday for the trees?

11 years later, 
I teach in the same Hebrew school classroom
Of mitzvot- good deeds- and the letter Mem.
And my climate-activist self wonders,
What does it mean to be Jewish in the age of climate change?

I think of trees, Tu Bishvat, and Tikkun Olam. 

In the words of the five-year-old I was,
Tikkun Olam means repairing the world. 
Prevalent in American Reform Judaism, 
It is the religious concept behind Jewish social action and education.

It is the link between loving the earth and saving it. 
Jan 28
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King of the Sky

A bird plays hopscotch on the horizon
and traces the sea with her wings.

Just close enough to flick up
holy droplets and alluring spray
but far enough that she wonders
what lies beneath the turbulent surface.

She sees her delicate feathers
mirrored on sun-tipped waves
and extends her beak down 
in search of companionship.

The bird meets the mirage
of outward beauty.

Beak full of water not feathers
With desperation lighting her eyes
She befriends the sea.

The bird squeezes through the iron bars
of Sky's Cage.

Plunges into screaming waves
and surfaces with her own dinner
handsome ruffled feathers
and a soul feeding off the tides.

She emerges
King of the sky
and Queen of the sea. 
Jan 12
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For Summer

My skin yearns for the sideways kiss
Of morning sun for
Lake droplets lifted
Off my skin by balmy,
Dandelion air.

And my laughter
Waits for dock picnics
Green mountain tops
And crowded swimming pools. 

Nose searching for
Watermelon slices
Garden herbs
Almost tasting
Backyard barbeque.
I await summer's joyous greeting.

But when it comes,
I will reminisce over  
Red-tipped noses  
Too rich hot chocolate
Cross country skis
And silver flurries. 

Wait for crisp air
Warm socks and sweaters
For soup and fireplaces. 
So is the seasons' curse.

Don't wait for summer
For snow
For red leaves 
Or flowers sprouting.

Venture out and discover
The unique season
That is today. 
Jan 05
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Green New Deal

Green New Deal!
They shout from the corner of Pelosi's office
Wearing sneakers, high heels
Making appeals
With light skin, dark skin
Only akin
By the youth that fills
Their eyes with fire
And magnifies their voice. 

We are Sunrise! 
The children scream.
The future now dreams
Of a land where the grass stays green
Where equality streams
Down the mountainsides
And rejuvenates our land. 
Green New Deal now!
They shout on campaign stages
In town hall forums
And on the Senate floor. 

For the first time in history
Our environmental worries,
Our unwavering passion, 
Our calls for action
Have poured into Washington.
It is the day
Of climate reckoning. 

And so we shout
Green New Deal!
And so we shout
The future is here.
And so we shout
For justice. 
Jan 02
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Hanging Freedom

I was walking in a grocery store
one day when I spotted 
two young girls with 
rambunctious brown buns
wedging their feet between
Breyers ice cream.

On the tippy top shelf lay
the last beaten box of raspberry popsicles
dripping with color and corn syrup
and ensnaring their eyes.

I walked over,
wary that the little one,
being insistently boosted from the bottom,
would topple down from the seven foot
shelves and crash into the nearby cantaloupes.

I said, 
"Hi. Want some help?
I can grab the popsicles if you'd like."

The big one gracefully dismounted,
polka dot skirt blossoming,
and pucked the younger one
clean off the shelf.

With a child's honesty, the little girl proclaimed,
"No. I don't like popsicles."

"Then what are you doing?"
I posed as the bigger one nudged the smaller-
the epitome of bossy big sister.
Dec 14
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A Dwindling River

I was perched on the edge of a worming river
With brown leaves crunched under kids 11 boots
My eyes scrambling in pursuit
Of a flimsy birch boat
Set gently upon the water
A mere wind gust ago. 

My inquisitive blue eyes
Couldn't trace the path of my boat
Supposedly meandering along the river
And voyaging out to sea. 

I took its absence as a chip of wonder
Upon my bush-level shoulder
And took it that my majestic river
Had already swept it out to mermaid coves
To sea groves and I let the boat slip
From an imagination riddled mind
Into the depths of childhood memory. 

I straddled a trickling excuse for a stream
With big musty sticks squashed under Mom's snow boots
And gazed up and down the stream,
Neck stretched with the purpose of greater persepctive.
My wisened blue eyes landed upon a flag of birch bark
Tucked under a red-tinted rock
Dec 01
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Quote chain

Nov 19
sophie.d's picture

How To Make Hot Chocolate

How much love can you
Spoon into 
A tiny-lettered
Ceramic mug
(a mothers day gift)
With a curly
Bottomed spoon
And Lake Champlain Chocolate's
Original hot chocolate mix?

It depends. 
If you just want to put
More powder in
You can just add more milk.
It doesn't really
Make it any more chocolatey
But there's more for drinking
And sharing
And it lasts quite a bit longer.
It's meant
To be quietly sipped
Over the course of a peaceful novel.
This is the plentiful
And cozy love
Of shouting out
"Love you"
As one walks out the door
And is nice for enjoyment
But lacks real
Depth of flavor. 
Plus, there's only 
So much the mug 
Can be filled before
The hot chocolate cascades 
Onto the floor and 
Makes a royal mess
That Mom has to clean up. 
Who wants all that
Stickiness between
Their toes anyway?
Oct 19
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We The People

I'm furious
And that's saying a lot for me
And I'm tired
Of this fight of climate and corporations
Oil and overheating
Melting and methane
Of people who care
Scrapping at the outskirts 
Of climate power. 

I'm 16
And like to cross country ski
In the woods behind my house
But when I'm 36
When I want to hike in the woods
With my kids
I'm afraid
There won't be any trees
When I want to teach them to ski
I'm afraid
There won't be any snow
And when I want to teach them
To protect this earth
I'm afraid
There will be nothing left to save.  

I can't hurtle through time
And guarantee those
Human rights will exist
20 years from now
I can't grab the world
With an outstretched arm
And paint it green again.

I'm 16
With ample years ahead of me
With ample passion and ideas
Burning in my chest
Oct 11
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On A Deserted Road

In a muddy gray car
On a thirsty dirt road
She drives with no destination in mind. 

The last drops of
Balmy air whip her hair
Into a thorny halo
And guitar-rich music
Trails behind the car.

Sweetness diffuses into
Her nose
Along with hints
Of ripening leaves
Distant cow manure
And a future pumpkin patch
(She smells her mom in the kitchen).

The sun is hovering
Somewhere over a golden lake
But she can't keep her eyes
Off the pink-streaked sky
Set over the orange speckled hills-
A crown atop a queen.

She's afraid she won't
stay on the road
As beauty hijacks her senses
But she doesn't care
Because she has nowhere to go but
Where the sky leads her.

The leaves skip from their branches
The sun melts into the lake
The last popsicle of the season.

She turns off the engine