Friday, January 20, 2006

The Shabbos Queen

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A few weeks ago, Mirty posted a picture -- that has sat at the back of my mind ever since. It inspired this poem, which I just wrote in the past hour.

Wishing you all a good Shabbos.

The Shabbos Queen

She shakes out the
crisp, cream linen,
placing it on the cherrywood tabletop.

Unfurling and spreading its edges
and smoothing out
its fine wrinkles,
she steps back to admire
her handiwork.

A set of silver salt-and-pepper shakers
come next --
a wedding gift from
years ago.

Silver, yet tarnished,
it’s difficult to make out
the filigreed S and P.

Perhaps this Shabbos, like an earlier one,
a little pepper will mistakenly do a dance with a little salt –
the Lambada, the “forbidden dance” --
atop our challah slices.

The olivewood challah board
with its jagged-ridged knife
have their place in the right-hand corner
of this table --
two sesame-seed-sprinkled challah buns
warm from the oven
soon to take their place
atop the board.

The bottle of grape juice

holds center court,

surrounded by little silver soldiers all lined up.

And nearby, on a smooth melamine-wooded surface

sits an elongated tray, a modern piece of art that doubles as a wedding gift.

Atop that tray, standing tall and proud,
are Shabbos candlesticks: the parents and the children.
The parents, a wedding gift from the man of the house,
bought in New York’s Brooklyn,
where the silver is grand.

The children, a smaller set,
identical twins to the parents,
bought in Toronto,
where the silver is elegant sterling.
The smaller set, a gift from the man of the house,
upon the birth of a second child.

These four candlesticks and another lone candlestick
warm to the sights and sounds of Shabbos,
each one glowing happily.

Reflected in their flames is the holiness --
the transformation of everyday to special day.

The Shabbos Queen sits back, admires the scene and smiles.

Her blessings are bountiful.