The discipline of blessings is to taste
each moment, the bitter, the sour, the sweet
and the salty, and be glad for what does not
hurt. The art is in compressing attention
to each little and big blossom of the tree
of life, to let the tongue sing each fruit,
its savor, its aroma and its use.
“Attention is love, what we must give
children, mothers, fathers, pets,
our friends, the news, the woes of others.
What we want to change we curse and then
pick up a tool. Bless whatever you can
with eyes and hands and tongue. If you
can’t bless it, get ready to make it new.”
— From The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems With a Jewish Theme, by poet and novelist Marge Piercy.
Those 14 lines from Marge Piercy, a prolific poet and novelist whose powerful Jewish sensibilities transcend religious boundaries, speak to me from the start, bringing to mind verse 8 from Psalm 34:
“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
Notice how Piercy raises up the power of the tongue for tasting life to the fullest. The “art” of blessing each and every day requires that we pay attention to all the blessings we neglect.
Even that which we curse can be molded and hammered into something new.
Being the Jewish writer that she is, Piercy recognizes that for all the blessings we have at our disposal, pain and suffering are part of the deal.
“Be glad for what does not hurt,” she reminds us. And she urges us to taste the sour and bitter. The Jews have never flinched from facing up to the sour and the bitter, from pain or suffering.
So count your blessings, relish the taste of it all, and get ready to make something new “with eyes and hands and tongue.”
And go here to learn more about Piercy in a profile from:
And remember to relish the taste of humor every chance you get:
Uh, I just realized that the funny photo there, with a reference to bacon (not kosher), might be in bad taste.