Saturday, 16 March 2013

‘On the Impossibility of Passover’

'On Passover we celebrate as if we ourselves have been set free'

On my journey
To the Promised Land
My feet have become entangled
In the roots of upturned trees

Across the Jordan
I see homes turned to rubble
By the strong hand and the outstretched arm
Blocking the path to righteousness

Deliverance is held up at the checkpoint
Freedom chooses hunger
To make its case

And what is there left to celebrate
With timbrels and dancing?

I ask my questions
Eat bitter herbs
And count the plagues that we have sent

Sewaged over
Passed over

We have melted our inheritance
To cast a new desert idol
And the words from Sinai
Are crushed beneath its hooves

There is no Moses to climb the mountain a third time
Elijah is detained indefinitely
The mission is lost
Freedom is drowned
And the angels gather to weep

It is the first night of the Feast of Freedom
I open the Haggadah
Place olives on the Seder plate
And confront the impossibility of Passover

This year in Mitzrayim
This year in the narrow place

Robert Cohen for Micah's Paradigm Shift March 2013

You may also like to read 'Occupy the Haggadah' from 2012


  1. Thanks Robert - I am going to read this at our Seder. We'll see how it goes down.


  2. Thank you Robert for the compassion so palpable in your poem "On the impossibility of the Passover".
    I'm not Jewish, nor any religion, although I was raised Christian. I'm passionate about Palestinian freedom and rights in the face of injustice from Israel and read a lot of Jewish and Palestinian literature while attempting to understand both sides. To celebrate Passover and Easter in the true spirit of hope and kindness rather than endless projected victim-hood is poignant for all of us.
    Andrea Breen