Sunday, October 27, 2013

Honeymoon in Israel

Olive Branch, Cana in Galilee

Israel Pilgrimage—2006

I step carefully
onto the muddy path
in this little grove
of olive trees

Twisted trunks
like sinewy flexed biceps
are hardy with endurance
Grey-green fingery leaves
flutter gently
Branches laden
with tiny green orbs
promise succulence
and oil

I break off
an inconspicuous leafy twig
and pick a few
ripe black pearls
from the sodden ground
wipe the mud off
wrap them in tissue
and tuck them
in my pocket

Long, long ago
there was a wedding here
The wine ran out
so Jesus turned water
into choicest wine
and joy
kept flowing

I am with my bridegroom
of two weeks
our vows green
as the fruit
of these trees

I finger the ripe olives
in my pocket

…believe in joy
that keeps flowing

Maude Carolan Pych

The above poem commemorates our amazing honeymoon/pilgrimage. Bob and I were married October 21, 2006 and celebrated seven years of "joy keeps flowing" this week. I praise God for being the most important strand in the three-strand-cord of our union...Marriage takes three! Happy Anniversary, Bob. I love you.

I dedicated this poem to Bob, during the open reading at an event at Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, NJ, last weekend.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

At Yad Vashem

Janus Korchek and the Orphan Children


Israel Pilgrimage--2006


We are given an hour, only an hour

to walk through on our own—


It’s quiet

Barely any talking

No smiling


People move slowly

observing, listening

some brush away tears

some shake their heads


We walk along the Path

of Righteous Gentiles

hesitate at trees

planted in honor

of Oscar Schindler

of Corrie TenBoom


We see shoes of the dead, eyeglasses

photographs, paintings



The eternal flame shudders

as we swallow hard at the words:

Never Again


Outside, we pause at the bronze

of Yanus Korchek embracing

the orphan children—

the ones he accompanied

into a crematorium


At the Children’s Memorial

the darkness is assuaged

by so many mirrored reflections

of flickering candles

We read—

1,500,000 children


An hour, only an hour

is even too much

for us to bear


Maude Carolan Pych
I went to a poetry reading at Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, NJ, this evening, to hear my friends Elizabeth Marchitti and EJ Emerson read their poems. I applaud them for a fine presentation. An open reading followed, so I was pleased to read two poems from "A Poet's Quest" including the selection above.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Museum of the Armory, Latrun, Israel

Memorial, Museum of the Armory, Latrun, Israel

Israel pilgrimage—2006

We visit the Museum of the Armory in Latrun
observe Merkava Tanks, the best in the world
solid and serious—
built to encase Israeli soldiers
in a womb of steel
built to show the enemy who’s boss

and we see names, row after row of names
etched on a long dark wall
exactly 4,498 of them—
names of soldiers, mostly young
killed in Israel’s wars

Our guide points to one, newly engraved
It is his friend, Oz
who died a few months ago
Oz, who fought at his side
in the war against Hezbollah and Lebanon
the war we watched on our American TVs, in June

I speak with three young soldiers holding M15s
Ask if I may photograph them
They politely decline—
It is the Sabbath

One of them
has carefully knotted tzitzit[1]
protruding from his olive drabs

Maude Carolan Pych

[1] Tzitzit are the specially knotted fringes, attached to the four corners of the tallit (prayer shawl), worn by observant Jews.

The above poem was awarded honorable mention in the 2013 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest, sponsored by The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College. It was published in the Paterson Literary Review, Issue #41. I was honored to read this poem, Saturday, at the Hamilton Club, Paterson, NJ.

*Scroll down to the end of this blog for information about ordering chapbooks, including one of poems about my three pilgrimages to Israel.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Come, Join A Pilgrimage in Poetry...


“For the Lord your God is bringing

you into a good land.” Deuteronomy 8:7-9


Israel Pilgrimage—2006


My children, siblings

and friends are quick to say:


What’s so good about it?


Suicide bombers

blow themselves up

in the marketplace

and take as many with them

as possible


Palestinians and Israelis

throw rocks at one another


Bombs fly from Lebanon


Enemies surround

and yearn to shove Israel

into the Mediterranean Sea


Who needs the Middle East?


And yet

this is the land

where the virgin gave birth to Jesus

where Lazarus emerged

alive! from the tomb

where Peter walked on water

and lepers were healed

where my Savior

was crucified, rose

and promises to return


where the roots

of the olive tree

that I’m grafted into

reach down deep

into good soil


It’s a good land—

nourishing me with milk

of the living Word

and sweet honey hope

that thrives

in the center of my being


How can I not love it?


Maude Carolan Pych
I've been posting poems from a series inspired by my three amazing and blessed pilgrimages to Israel...I invite you to come along on a virtual tour...
The above selection is from my third trip to Israel. The year was 2006 and the pilgrimage was led by Pastor/Rabbi Jonathan Cahn of Beth Israel Worship Center, Wayne, NJ. 
A Good Land is included in my chapbook, A Pilgrim's Quest. Ordering information appears at the end of this website.