Plagues and Pleasures

(Poems should stand on their own, but I want to share the prompt for this one. Rebecca reminded us that last evening began the Jewish Seder: “As part of the Seder ritual, we commemorate the ten plagues of the Egyptians by reciting them: blood, frogs, gnats, flies, death of the livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, slaying of the firstborn. With each plague named, you dip your pinky finger into your glass of wine, and remove a drop of wine, dabbing it onto our plate.” The Biblical reverence for the plagues is Exodus, chapters 7-12.)

Drop by blood red drop
We empty the cups of our lives
Of plagues and pleasures

Drop by blood red drop
We decorate our portion of time
With patterns of plagues and pleasures

Harden not my heart, O God: blood

+++++ The deafening chatter of the family
+++++ The comforting murmur of the home

Harden not my heart, O God: frogs

+++++ The unexpected jerk of yet another demand
+++++ The exciting jump to something new

Harden not my heart, O God: gnats

+++++ The buzzing itching irritation of the mundane
+++++ The beautiful enveloping constancy of the necessary

Harden not my heart, O God: flies

+++++ The petty distractions that can’t be ignored
+++++ The small diversions that relieve boredom

Harden not my heart, O God: death of livestock

+++++ The dreaded death of those we love
+++++ The welcome end of suffering for those we love

Harden not my heart, O God: boils

+++++ The daily frustration of failing bodies
+++++ The always wonder of physical life

Harden not my heart, O God: hail

+++++ The depleting demands of friendships
+++++ The refreshing allurement of friends

Harden not my heart, O God: locusts

+++++ The trivial eaters of our time and energy
+++++ The valuable enrichment of blank hours

Harden not my heart, O God: darkness

+++++ The shattering terror of the unknown
+++++ The gathering comfort of rest and renewal

Harden not my heart, O God: slaying of the firstborn

+++++ The bitter mourning for love lost
+++++ The sweet grief of love remembered

Let not thy plagues embitter me, O God
Let not thy pleasures weaken me

+++++ For I am pharaoh and prophet
+++++ Egypt and Israel
+++++ Wanderer and resider
+++++ Infidel and believer

Soften my heart, O God
Strengthen my will
Sustain my soul
That I might accept my cup and my portion
My plagues and my pleasures

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