Keith Jarrett/Deena Metzger



Death Black As A Crow

Chant of the Soil


You could not bring me to believe in death.
Feathers so radiant with light 
could only be the night sky, 
could only be eternity. 

A stream of blood from your yellow beak
drying on the pavement.  
The roots of the tree
were not the right burial ground.
A neighbor’s cat was wandering 
up and down the entrance 
to the shul among the olive trees, 
and though ravens had fed Elijah,


Still, I could not bring you,
who had received 
the gift of dark from Apollo,
to Kol Neidre,
the Hebrew prayer for the dead.   

We spoke, you, Crow, and I, 
as I drove us home,  
We spoke
of what concerns all sentient beings,
of all the killing we do.   

This morning, I laid you on the hill 
at the feet of Avalokitesvara,

Infinite Compassion.  
gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā,

I stroked your feathers.  
I wanted
Your dark light on my hands. 
I did not take your wing 
I did not take a single feather 
I know the animals
will dismember you,
despite your shroud 
of pine needles
and tobacco.   

Mitkaye Oyasin

Here is my prayer:

Do not forgive us 
our transgressions.

Let the black light 
that surrounds you
meet the ancient fire 
in the core of the earth,
for the wedding
of prophecy and possibility.  

inherent in your beak
speak to us.  

Do not 
Do not
Do not forgive us 
our transgressions.

Inherent in your beak
Speak to us.

Speak to us. 


Blessed be!


Blessed be!



How Do The Dead Vanish?

Silence (with Charlie Haden)


How do the dead vanish entirely?

How does the hand,

that gripped the cup, disappear,

while the cup remains,

disconnected from the source?


My father left nothing,

but two watches,

one, for each grandchild. 

My mother gave his lost son

a wrinkled handkerchief


I gave my brother,

an old tallit

without knowing

to whom it had belonged.

It was his legacy,

father to son,

with love and mourning


I am left with a paperweight,

and the small desk

where he wrote stories.


With one breath,

the intensity of my life

will dissolve.

Nothing will prevent this.


Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Bagdad, Palmyra,[1]


The quick and the slow

shattered the eternity of beauty,

without mercy. 


We reconstruct the past

From the DNA

of a point of memory.

It comes to life,

lives now,

as we remember it,

in our longing and our fear.


What was real was the cup.

The hand is no more,

soon the clay will follow.



And what if the dying

take a piece of the living

to sustain them?


Matter, transforms into energy,

travels the universe

for billions of years,

seeking its history of form. 


[1] Dresden comes in at 1:30 minutes of the piece.




Truth Telling

Spiral Dance




can be destroyed

by the human hand.


even a garden

is an act against nature.


I bought an orchard

and let it go feral, 

but the wolf

is on a leash.

You will shoot her in the street

And sell her pelt

to some one like me.                                   


There was a poem about not telling the truth,

This is a poem about not telling the truth

The truth I refuse is that I will die

sooner than expected

and I will not be ready. 

I will not have done

What must be done.


You will die

Sooner than you expect

without having done

what must be done. 


When we look out at the mountains,

we think we are immortal,

then we shear their peaks

cut down their life line.


I will not

You will not

We will not


What must be done.

What must be done


What if in this

life, I could save one creature

and its life force would multiply? 


What if every bullet bounded back to its source? 


Sometimes, I believe

if we find the right prayer,

the river of blood will clear. 


How many land mines and drones

must we destroy

to walk

on the land again?


We tried to save one Bull elephant

who was seeding generations,

so the hunter shot the Matriarch.


Why does killing pleasure you so? 


Remember when invaders

came down from the North

with their weapons and horses? 


Now, we are rounding up the horses. 


You would like another ending to this poem,

I would like it if the world wasn’t ending.


What else is there to say?


We are either killing the horses

and not eating them,

or we are eating the horses.

We are definitely killing each other.


Speak to me of your appetite. 


You would like another ending to this poem,

I would like it if the world wasn’t ending.




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