Braving Through – a poem

Braving Through

By Jane Tawel

January 30, 2020



Toddling, really,

Since it all began, at least if not more.

I fall-down daily,

Toppling over,

 in a mess

 amongst the pots and pans,

 or dandelions and weeds.


And I don’t get back up,

But lie crumpled where I fell

until I suck each bloody finger;

Or lick a tissue I find in a linty pocket,

winding-up flimsy paper,

into a pointy little wet periscope,

And dab my skinned knees until the tissue runs red.

I leave a bit of skin in every day’s hard pavement.


Today I wake and don’t want to.

I feel it might all be over,

and I can’t get my head working right and my body won’t unwind to stand.

I tell myself all the things I’ve always told myself

 about God and life and love.

And I can’t seem to believe in any of it, long enough to turn the bathroom light on.


So, I sit in the dark

on porcelain as cold as a tomb,

running out of stored tears and excuses,

until I am dry.

 I unwind fragile paper,

meant only for the garbage pile, after serving me;

rolling it out like a banner on the battlements,

declaring war on this new day.


Then I rise and stumble forth.

Braving through.


“Papers” by Ganamex is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Tear It Down — a Poem

Tear It Down – It Wasn’t Meant to Be This Way

A Song of Protestation

By Jane Tawel

January 25, 2020


You’ve built yourself a corporation.

You’ve fooled yourself there’s a Christian nation.

You think that all your protestation,

Will elevate your social station.


Convinced that you should make the choices,

And not those with small, weaker voices;

You vote for crooks, with Truth they toys-es,

While Wall Street wins, the Rich rejoices.



And every Sunday, you sit still,

And bank on gods who’ve paid your bills.

You never guess one day we will,

End up in earth’s decayed landfill.


Oh, hallelujah to the few,

Who look like me and talk like you,

But know if they do not stay true,

To live and die just like The Jew,

Who came as God, and as man, too.

For only those with His worldview,

Not those who rally from their pews,

Or preach rank lies, they call “good news”.

To those who take a different view,

Than we who feel entitled to,

Coerce the world to think and do,

As only we’re commanded to.

And while we turn the planet blue,

With smog, and trash, and nuclear stew,

The Ones that God’s committed to,

Have bid our cheap grace, “Bye! Adieu!”.


To you, my fellow traveler–

Well, I am meant to give and serve,

Just as the Man from Galilee,

Came down to earth to give to me,

A pattern for a better world

For every boy and every girl.

But it’s by “show”, and not by “tell”,

that Heaven reigns, defeating hell.


I protest not the choice I see,

In that him/her, or that he/she.

And Jesus never gave a treatise,

on what the rights are of a fetus.

I do not feel it is my right,

To use my nation’s warring might,

‘Gainst other folks in other lands,

With different kings on their newsstands.

No, I am to be set apart,

By how I live with mind and heart,

And how I work, and how I love,

To serve only The God Above.


And one day, I shall have My King,

And He will Then…

Change Everything.

A Bit of Time – A Poem

A Bit of Time

By Jane Tawel

January 21, 2020


With a bit of time

Thrown into the mix,

I honestly feel,

That I could nix,

The badness in me.

Would you not agree?

But the harder I work,

The more that I shirk,

And don’t annihilate,

All my lies and my hate.

So, what would more time do,

If I’m just passing through?

But if I were loyal

To what I say I believe,

Then Time is a construct

Of He who deceives.

Should I not be joyful,

In harsh weeding out,

Of all that my lust

Says this life is about?

If Time also dies,

When we go to our rest,

Then Eternity’s promised

To those who are blessed

To have lived in Love’s infinite true Timelessness.

Oh, Wherever, and Whenever, You do exist

Please, free me from Time’s greedy, selfish checklist.

Please help me today to be a strong resistor,

Of all that will harm every brother and sister.

And please, help me not cheapen my own weak, small soul.

For while it is true that I cannot control

Time’s strong pulling tether;

We are promised by Love

In The Way, lies


Do I Dare Care? – a poem of dissent and longing

Do I Dare Care?

A poem of dissent and longing

By Jane Tawel

January 4, 2020


Do I dare care?

When there are so many of us,

So much chaff,

So little substance,

Just charts and graphs,

These endless bullet points,

And births and deaths,

And I grow weary of one more breath…

Do I dare care?



The waves of humanity,

Rolling on,

Rolling over,

Here and yon,

Rising up to fade away,

Words like oceans,

Night and day,

None to care about,

None to care for,

Too many, too few,

Passing ships of you and you and you and you…

Too much care, too much care….

I’ll just stay buried here;

Blinding myself, Oedipus-like,

Screens blare and glare,

And all seems so life-like,

Moldering here,

So why dare care?



I could be agape,

For 24/7,

Searching for signs that shape

Our hells and our heavens.

But my heart will not long for long,

I grow listless and numb,

As the schisms between right and wrong,

Are buried alive,

In the mass overdrive,

Of taking and taking and taking

and making and making and making

and greeding and greeding and greeding

and needing and needing and needing…

Just what?

Just who?

Just why?

So why try?

Eat, drink, tomorrow I die.



Just what do I yearn for,

And why must I keep score,

When our planet burns shore to shore,

And the rich scorn the poor?

Each human being’s urge for

The crowd’s roar,

The prime floor, the front door, the top drawer,

We’re covered in gore,

And we’re all whores

In our endless drive for


And more, more, more, more, more…

To earn more,

And learn more,

And get more returns for–

I can’t find the words for,

The sickness I feel for,

That all I have worked for,

And loved for,

And lived for,

Is nothing in terms for,

The non-ending search for,

The meaning I yearn for,

but now Red Alerts for

the whole world is worse for

the wear–

so why should I care?


The Judge has adjourned for,

Some place more concerned for,

Not starting a world war,

Or making more eyesores,

But beings who still adore,

The Maker of neighbors, next-door,

So, why should I search for,

Those great Gods of old lore?

They all took the exit door,

And now it’s our turn for,

Figuring out what the terms are,

A real live concern for…..




So why should I care?

Soul-survival will be rare.

And that small little prayer,

That we thought would deflect,

Us from evil and death,

Can never protect–

 Judgement Day is a-comin’!

The beat that’s a-drummin’

Is the one I suspect,

Is the cause and effect,

Of the time I have spent,

In true love.


As the masses march on,

Love and life will be gone,

And a new world’s bright dawn,

With a new Kingdom come,

For those acting upon,

Not the rage to be first,

But the soul’s aching thirst,

For a world without end,

Where my foe is my friend,

And my only protection,

Is in new Resurrection.



Oh, there once was a Good Man

With the only stratagem,

For recreating our atoms,

Into new Eves and Adams.

The Good Man set the pace,

for our life in this place;

He began a pure race,

Made of sinners and saints,

Whom the earth will embrace,

In true heaven-like space.

It’s by seeking His face,

That my cares are erased,

And replaced….

With love.



There’s a world that’s not found,

In my burdens, earthbound;

But a kingdom that’s fueled,

By upside-down rules,

Led by Servants and Fools.

Isn’t that what I’m wanting

When I’m striving and flaunting?

But what just keeps on haunting

Me is just how darn dauntingly,

The day gets away from me,

And the night appears sneakily,

And by morning’s light,

I’ve forgotten our plight,

Long enough just to bury,

All the things that are scary,

And I busy me, mine, and I,

With pain-numbing lies,

About how the Divine,

Doesn’t care—

So why should I dare?



So, I search and explore,

  But meanwhile, I’m still lost,

In this endless, vast host,

Of my own words and thoughts,

All borrowed or bought,

And it’s all such a bore,

I can’t take too much more.

Oh, I swear,

I don’t care….



Yet this still, needling Voice,

taunts me to make the choice,

to pick both Truth and Dare,

and just care.


What I yearn for,

Is Somewhere,

And I beg

to be led There,

by the One who beat death,

just a man from Nazareth,

yet, the true image of,

Endless Meanings of Love.

Those who live like The Son,

And those acting upon,

Others’ needs, hurts, and cares,

Even now, as true heirs,

Will partake and drink of

Endless peace, endless love….



Oh, I slump here, world-weary,

Barely able to query…

Do I dare?


“Everywhere” – the third and final Poem in The Birthday Card Poems


Poem #3 in the Birthday Card Poems

By Jane Tawel

Everywhere, the Spirit rages

Through the world, and through the ages.

Blowing like the wind

Breath, like in and out,

Spirit of Imago-Dei,

Spirit of the heavenly way,

A whisper and a shout.


Spirit dressed in rags and riches,

In English halls, and Gaza ditches.

The Spirit loves the childless lady,

The wandering soul, the tiny baby,

the man of color, homeless girl,

and everyone throughout the world.

And everywhere, all humankind,

The Spirit of Love, can seek and find.

With just a spark of love and care,

the warmth of Love spreads everywhere.


Everywhere a soul is needy,

Everywhere a soul is greedy,

For the Spirit, not the prize,

Opening ears and using eyes,

To hear and see

To touch and be–

Why, that is where the Spirit of Love,

Can make a person worthy of,

A Christmas-sort-of-actuality,

Alive and well in you, and me.


The Spirit of true rhyme and reason,

Is not just for one single season.

For Truth and Love,

And Peace and Prayer,

Are ours for making,

Ours for taking,

Ours– always

And everywhere.

Wishing you and yours, and me and mine, a truer understanding of what the Spirit of the Christmas-type of love and joy can be for us each day in some small way, if  only we “make it” and “take it”.  Shalom, Jane


“There” — Poem #2 of the Birthday Card Poems


A Birthday Card Poem #2

By Jane Tawel


“Cold hands equal a warm heart,” Mama used to say.

I wonder if her hands feel as cold as mine do,

Nailed above my hanging head,


I keep thinking about the beginning.

Oh! The stars!

The Star!

And I –almost human,

Barely just alive,

And all the people smiling, cooing, touching, weeping with joy.

Caught up in a contagion of hope and love, they were, back there

On that night.



Now, this day,

Now, only she weeps,

And not with joy.

And the rest of them laugh, or run away,

staying back as far as possible

From my almost corpse.

Afraid to be caught up in the contagion of death

As I hang here, barely still human.



The beginning was glorious.

They say babies can’t remember their birth,

But some of us can.

I do.

The wood of the stall where I began this life,

Felt nothing like this wood.

This wood, so unnaturally shaped (no tree could grow like this),

This wood, my arms and legs are splayed upon,

 is splintered, rotting, rough;

Worth nothing but the fire after I hang here on it today.

Contaminated by death, it will be

No longer of any use to anyone, after this day.

Just as I will be, no longer useful,

After this day.



People think a baby isn’t born to be useful,

But I was.

I was born to be of Good use;

Like a tree planted by streams of water,

Yielding fruit in season.


There, in Bethlehem,

Exhausted as they were from days of rough travel

Anxiety and fear making Joseph sweat and Mary weep

In pain, from journeying by kings’ decrees.

In pain, as Jews have always been.

Will always be.

In pain as I am, here, on this cross.

By the time they arrived there

Was no room.



Oh, I remember.

Though now, I am blinded with agony

and delirious, perhaps from loss of blood,

I can see perfectly, in my mind’s eye,

My birth-day.

My birth had spent my mother—body and soul,

She was weak from loss of blood there,

As I am here,

Our loss of blood like two parentheses enfolding my life.

She was so tired…

So very, very tired we were sometimes….

Until she could barely hold me to her breast.

Joseph, with strong hands, made feeble by my birth,

gently snuggled me down into the hay.

Some babies do remember;

We really do.


Like a baby bird made safe in my new nest,

I looked for the first time upon this world,

A world of trees, and stars, and faces;

And all seemed, back there,

Exactly as it seems to me today at the end:

The world is all so very new and as very, very old

as all Newborns know

The world to be.



The wooden trough where my parents nestled my infant form,

 was as soft as silk

From years of animal tongues, licking, honing, softening

Until not a splinter remained.

There, the wood was as lush and sweet-smelling and soft

As a king’s cradle.

My fledgling family baptized that wood

With my birth pangs.

That trough was anointed by shepherds and sheep

By kings and sages.

Who will anoint the cradle my body dies on today?


We had to flee that place,

Jews always do eventually.

But I like to imagine that wooden manger

 Is still there today,

A cradle where I was first loved,

Where I first loved.

 Wood, if properly cared for

Can be useful forever.

Trees, even in death, have long lives,

Eternal, one might say.

I know that as well

As any Master Carpenter should.

My earthly father, Joseph,

Taught me all about wood.

I think about that manger


feeding the sheep again.



And suddenly, dying here now

 I feel I might join in

The laughter of the crowd below.

They would think me as more insane than they already do,

The crazy “King of the Jews”,

 but I Am

Secretly thinking about the irony,

Of the parentheses of my life;

The parenthesis of two wooden instruments,

One of life,

One of death,

Bracketing my life

Like wooden signposts

Leading forward.



Yes, perhaps I have just enough faith to think that—

Just enough words to tell them all, that–

both the wood of my cradle

And the wood of this cross

Are useful tools,

Are instruments of life,

Are places where human babies are safe,

Are symbols

Of birth.



The strange parentheses of my cradle and cross,

Will have no end.

The wooden brackets that surround my name,

Will lead people forward.

( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( (

When I was There,

I was already Here,

Going like a lamb from

Trough to slaughter.

The final bracket remains unknown

On the other side, Over There.


But I am not laughing, No,

Yes, I am crying instead;

Not so much from the pain,

Though it is almost more than I can bear;

Not so much from looking at my mother’s face,

Ravaged with sorrow,

Or from gazing weakly

At the few unlikely friends weeping there,

Those few who risk their lives to

Watch me die.



I weep

for the wood

   this earthly rood.

This tree I die on here,

Will never be useful again,

This tree too, dies with me today;

And it seems the whole world of creation,

Weeps with sorrow for the tree, once a sapling,

that dies here today; and for the

Son of Man

 who dies

here on

the tree.




“My soul is consumed with sorrow, to the point of death!

Like a sheep before its shearers I am silent,

I cannot open my mouth.

My soul is offered up as guilt offering,

And I will never see my offspring,

I can no longer prolong my life,

It is finished.”

But almost as I end my life here,

the still small voice,

Of My Father,

who awaits me There,


“Oh, My Son, this tree, too

Will feed the sheep.

And You, My Child,

Will be with Me, Here,


Feeding Your offspring

At your own breast

As your mother once fed you.

You My Son,

Will live to have many babies,

Reborn because You

Cradled them here today.”



(So, because of my mother’s willingness to serve My Father

I, her child, was born.

And because of my willingness to serve My Father,

My own children will be re-born.)


I embrace this wooden cross,

In death,

As once that wooden cradle embraced me,

In life.

My first breath, began the struggle.

My final breath is a fight to give it all up.

 I can just make out the words—

So faint—

Like whispers hovering over the void

Of the world–

Is it memory, dream or present reality?

The words I hear now,

 as my mother and My Father coo me to sleep,

As my mother and My Father gently sing,

“There, there. There, there, my Child. There, there.”