It's just poetry, it won't bite

Day of Atonement


01.31.11 Posted in words to linger on by

Adrienne Drobnies is a poet and scientist/project manager at the Genome Sciences Center in Vancouver Canada. Her poetry has appeared at Canadian literary magazines including ScrivenerNeWest ReviewWavesPoetry Canada Review, and Poetry Toronto and in the anthologies New Voices (Mosaic Press) and From Sinai to the Shtetl and Beyond: Where is Home for the Jewish Writer? (Hamilton Jewish Literacy Festival, 2009). Adrienne has written a suite of poems, Randonneés, that was short-listed for the Canadian Broadcasting Company literary award for poetry. 

Day of Atonement

By Adrienne Drobnies

I search for Kol Nidre

among the few words I know

in this language


Baruch atah adonai


What do I know

about you

grandfather


married once

one child

again

two children

made hats

went broke

threw bombs in theaters


Your image

is passed down to me

along with 

the punched cards

shuttled through the looms

of your last years


None of this tells me

how you walked out of Poland

eighty years ago


or why your son wakes

thirty years

after your death

still seeking acceptance

in dreams of explanation

and a life of atonement


Author’s note: Baruch atah adonai means Blessed art thou, O Lord and opens most Hebrew prayers. The Kol Nidre is the special recitation for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and opens with the Aramaic words Kol Nidre, which means all vows.



3 Responses to “Day of Atonement”

  1. John McCallum says:

    Insightful work…there are so many meanings to the word “atonement” in a christian sense it means ” At ONE ment” faith leading us back to the source (ONE)

  2. bobbie troy says:

    Yes, great poem indeed.