Home Self-Guided Exploration From Generation to Generation

From Generation to Generation

High Holy Days 2023

Poem written by Ann Bookman, used with permission from Points of Attachment (Finishing Line Press, 2012)

In my mother’s house,
Friday evenings are different.
The table is set with her wedding silver,
linen place mats with royal blue piping,
folded napkins to match.
At the center of each china plate,
golden sheaves of wheat
spread in a welcoming fan.
Familiar food smells fill the house
hours before dinner is served.
We know no hunger for the day of rest
whose origins have long grown dim.

My mother places candlesticks
in the center of the table,
the crystal pair with tear drops
frozen inside each orb-like base.
When everyone is seated,
she lights the candles: no words,
the power of her gaze,
the movement of her hands.
She is purposeful,
but the purpose unknown.

The secret of a silent blessing,
the tradition that could not be named:
passed into my hands.