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Three Poems from Wave Offering

Laynie Brown

Wave Offering is based on the Jewish practice of counting the days of the Omer (or Sefirat Ha'Omer). These are the days between the festivals of Pesach and Shavuot. These days represent the passage from liberation to revelation and are considered a time particularly auspicious for personal reflection and purification. Each of the seven weeks can be characterized by one of seven sephirotic qualities. The Hebrew word "sefirah" has many meanings, among them: number, story, and sapphire. The Sefirot represent emotional aspects and are associated with areas of the physical body. Each of the forty-nine days is characterized by a blending of two of the seven qualities. One tool for spiritual preparation is to meditate upon the unique combination of two qualities represented by each day. The seven qualities are: Chesed (lovingkindness), Gevurah (judgement), Tiferet, (beauty), Netzach (endurance) , Hod (humility), Yesod (foundation), and Malchut (nobility). The movement from slavery to freedom is a central metaphor in Torah, as is the belief that revelation is a communal, inclusive, necessary process.

Question of Lovingkindness


Today is day five of the Omer

The young writer with nothing to say stares and smiles

You are both the listener and the speaker

In this diagram of an invisible transmission

Depending upon which direction we travel in time

What I didn’t know on the other side

of this equation is the vastness within speechlessness

Simple presence demonstrates the wordless principle of conversation

there is always closer to lean in

As one imagining a world to which he was not admitted

forgotten or ill advised

Still smitten or smote upon, spotted a reversible principle

So you wished upon a particle and vanished

This is yesterday I am writing upon and yet there is more to be compromised, composed,

Of meditation I can say, please, help yourself

So who is to say; and who will not bother to become?


When he entered the room he thought of a device

to focus your attention on a secret

to compose meter from the proximity of persons standing

their positions in the room

And how he waved between them, drifting as any bird

and so to draw each of them into —

Grazing a shoulder lightly as —

Or was it a gaze?

This is no attempt to be someone other than

a dance of focal points

You call it reverence or reference

Escorting minds to future scaffolds of peril

Where we have all been arranged so as to devise a sampling, a light

All of it reflected

in a countenance


Can you trust this complexion turned

toward you so full of nectar

Would you be drawn across the room

by any other clause or participant

in this matter of cleaving?

The question is an unnamed territory

through which you waltz not at all tentatively

Magnificence of magnanimous stepping aside of one’s self

Demurring from dripping upon the mental furniture

stepping upon one’s too bright garment of thought

brightness which comes from essential being

Not to spurn adornment but to bring into relief

One who does not insist upon annihilation

of the “I” but acknowledges

a beginning

Sentence of the Sentence

Today is nine days of the Omer

When I read her poem I am transported to relational time, in which inner occurrences are given weight and action is secondary as it must emerge from inner impetus.

This doesn’t mean nothing occurs, but that the poem itself is the happening and what the poet has chosen is a reflection of action which occurs from premise. Or action considered below the canopy of endless mental acrobatics.

Here, in the understory I can speak to you.

I am awake to the possibility that I may not receive the full consequence of your utterance for many years.

This is akin to listening to an anatomical instruction of how to align the body. The mind comprehends within the mind, but translation to the body occurs in a separate stream of time.

Through copious note taking I hope to remember that stream of time— it is not composed or stumbled upon, but remembered, meaning you never did not exist within it. This process requires an insistence on the nature of ourselves as unfixed. A relational leap, or a shift in perception which now seems impossible.

So it isn’t wise to abandon this thinking, (which is not at all thinking) thinking you cannot attain it. What do you think is impossible? During infancy, the head is eighty percent of the weight of the body. Therefore, difficult lifting the head.

What must outgrow as a species?

There are no schools for this other growth which begins, hopefully, by adulthood. No charts or measurements. Therefore we must not forget that in some sense we have become adult infants. Recognizing where our heads are is something. And what weight composes them. Where are our heads?

Beginning of the Sentence

Today is thirteen days, which are one week and six days, of the Omer
Sadness is a despicable trait, speaks Nachman of Bratzlov
I hear daffy duck saying “despicable.”

If I have nearly lost all charms for laughter, sadness hasn’t a chance today.

I am on my way to hear Ko Un read.

Beginning in the sentence, as in to write from prison. The sentence is not there undone, but severely altered. By Genet by Ko Un, countless others. When papers were confiscated, books begun again.

What does it mean to remember? One’s text cannot be taken because it exists in a reservoir wider than any confines of physical space or circumstance.

To teach children is to remember, to teach so another cannot understand is just as if to spit upon a sacred text.

I vision the beginning —to begin the beginning of my days unended, and so a form of weeping is permission to unseasonably become an errant scoundrel.

If this means to call unlikely animals from animation into mystic teachings, no worry.

In this counting we become the breath, the number and the pace at which we walk.

Do you remember when we walked with no days and no numbers, yet equal purpose?

If you put this book down you are breathing on your own as you always accompany yourself, whether or not there is water to read.

There is a blossom keeping time, only a thin sheathe between ourselves and our numerical understudies.

Nothing in counting is the same as entering numerical space, where there is something your arms have been asked to carry.

The breath merely whispers the measure, whereas your intent has been blazed with confirming gestures.