Excerpt from Forty Years by Yehoshua November


This poem appears in our Summer 2022 issue. Click here to read the entire issue for free. Our gift to you.

Forty years on the Jewish and secular calendar.
Forty years largely devoted to the body
but, sometimes, when clarity pierces the shell—
the soul, too,
which is too strict, too narrow minded,
according to Chassidic thought.
It always wants to attend another lecture
on the Higher and Lower Garden,
the Seven Firmaments,
ignoring the world,
the body waiting
to be sanctified.
Forty years bisected evenly:
Twenty with you, twenty before you.
And five souls pulled down into bodies.

Yehoshua November colorYEHOSHUA NOVEMBER is the author of the poetry collections Two Worlds Exist (a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award and Paterson Poetry Prize) and God’s Optimism (a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize).  His work has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, The Sun, VQR, and on NPR and On Being’s Poetry Unbound podcast series.

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