for / the good of all /& for / the goodness in all

4thegood meme

(& check out the Categories & Tags I’ve listed below)

What this came from: while (in bed before sleep) remembering two of a set of four lines I learned from an erstwhile mentor, E.J. Gold (via his books) & during an early period in this bed in this room in the hills outside Mullum (we moved here in 2002) & used to repeat before sleep: “For the sake of all beings everywhere”, & “To relieve the suffering of the Absolute”, these lines came.

& what do I know? well, while I can’t say I believe that silently sending one’s good-willing energy “out there” can make a difference, as some people say prayers can, I also can’t say I believe that it can’t — & it certainly can’t do any harm. & it makes me feel good… & that’s good too…


Naomi Klein points a way: We need integrated solutions


The lecture:
The LRB essay:

A Gay Response to More Terror News

You could call me an atheist, or call me agnostic —
I certainly don’t “believe in” or “follow”
any so-called “religion”
that has sacred texts, holy days, rites & laws,
ordained priests, preceptors or  interpreters
who tell “believers” what’s right & what’s wrong
& how to treat themselves & others
& what they should teach their children

Yet I can respect all who do so in the spirit of
the goodness or lovingkindness
that I believe we’re all born with & into
(tho regrettably it’s so soon suppressed in so many)
& I can see this spirit too written, sometimes
so poetically & wisely, pithily or memorably
or symbolized lovingly in the sanctified scriptures
& prescribed practices of all these text-based religions.

I’m a translator, by profession, by practice, by love
of language as such & of a few particular languages,
Hebrew among them, the language in which the first
of the sacred texts sanctified by all the three great
monotheistic religions in our divided world was written,
& I know for a fact that there can be no true or trustworthy
accurate translation into any language ancient or modern
of the original “meaning” of any word or phrasing in any text.

& this is my response to a news item I read this morning
that now Austria is calling for “standardised German-language
translations” of the Koran, a sacred book I believe many
radical “Islamists” misinterpret in the original Arabic,
just as many “religious” “ultra” or not Jews misinterpret
the Hebrew of their Tanach, the so-called “Old Testament”
& as many Christians, “fundamentalist” or not, misread
their various translations of their “Holy Bible”.

I see this as yet another double triumph,  both
for the fearmongers who gain more power & profit
from laws that restrict freedoms & civil rights
& legitimize intolerance, to justify the growth of
policing & armament industries, & for the radical
Islamists too,  for such a law will surely radicalize
many more Muslims, & not only in Austria
if the rest of the world accepts this & stays silent.

There can be no true “war on terror” or on “terrorism”,
(as Gore Vidal once wrote) : the only true & just “war”
(or jihad) we humans can “wage” is on our own terror
of the terror that the “anti-terror” lawmakers,
powerbrokers & mediashakers, even more than
all the “terrorists” in the world, are spreading among us.
“All things fall and are built again,” wrote Yeats,”
“And those that build them again are gay.”

Kei Miller: for me a new discovery, a new voice, & his Rastaman mapping of a way to Zion

the mapmaker’s work is to make visible
all them things that shoulda never exist in the first place
like the conquest of pirates, like borders,
like the viral spread of government.

In this morning’s The Guardian I found this news item, which got me reading more & then I shared it & the following YouTube video of his reading the poem mentioned in it on Facebook, & feel I should also immediately share both of them with those of my readers who don’t see my Facebook posts. If you click on the titles in these posts they will open their content, so you can read the whole article & see & hear Kei Miller reading this major poem.

& he’s been around for a while. you can google his name & find lots more.

& see also:


For a good year, spaces, scabs, forgiveness & healing

It’s the “Jewish” (actually the Judaic) “holiday season” (as expressed in a fair translation of the Israeli-Hebrew vernacular), that time of year when (as most Christians wish each other a “Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year”), most Jews wish each other “A good year, & (though many don’t add this) Well over the fast”, referring to the solemn 24-hour fast practiced by observant Judaists on the Day of Atonement that comes 10 days later. Secular as well as religious Jews exchange these good wishes, it’s like a custom, a tradition, & it’s my strong impression (I don’t know the statistics & don’t know if anyone’s done or could do any on this) that there are many more secular than religious Jews in the world today, & I imagine it’s the same among Christians, & perhaps less, though you can never be sure, among Muslims. & I, another non-religious Jew, do it too.
In this post I include several items, all, somewhat poetic in one way or another, that all also somehow express what I feel is the more universalistic aspect of the Jewish tradition & culture: a piece of my own, &  translations of several Hebrew wellwishings or “blessings” I found this week on Facebook & felt moved to translate & to post there as well. I begin with a piece I posted on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the New Year 5775:

a good year 3

Next, my translation of a poem by Pinhas Sadeh I found in a post on Facebook by Dr Dror Green, who wrote that he’d sent his subscribers this short poem about poetry & perhaps about life or the way we perceive our life. This poem, he says, is a marvelous way to open a new year and to give our attention to the intervals between things, to breath & to rest.
Several decades ago I translated into English Sadeh’s important novel Life as a Parable (London: Anthony Blond, 1966), a truly groundbreaking & controversial work in the literary world in Israel at its time. I was close to him on certain occasions in his life, & also once published a long interview with him in which he was very open with me, I am happy to share this brief new translation of his poem “A Saying” & to add my good wishes to all in the same spirit expressed by Dr Dror Green.


Pinhas Sadeh

A Saying

  • I say:

    A poem is not words

  • A poem is the space

  • That’s between the words


Now, my translation of a post in Hebrew by Asma Aghbaria-Zahalka, leader of the Jewish-Arab Da’am Workers’ Party:

Asma good year crop

And lastly a translation I posted, introducing  it with a quote from it: “When we forgive we liberate a great energetic charge (&/or burden?) & allow it to move on from us…”, & adding:  Thanks, Michal Shaul for sharing this indeed beautiful message/blessing.   I had to translate it, it so moves me & also connects with the healing process I’m going thru right now. & although I can see & feel how it also draws upon one of the Judaic practices related to Yom Kippur, & perhaps on some of the spirit behind it, I feel it also connects with & stems from other & more universal sources, & more importantly, that it is relevant & applicable to every single moment of our lives. So thanks, too, to its original poster and author, Ori Cohen.
(& I’d like too to add that I feel that such an approach could & perhaps should be brought also to the so-called “political” sphere, & to express the wish that forgiveness, esteem, compassion & love can be brought to healing the pains & the hardships resulting from conflicts all over the world, & particularly from all that the continuing occupation & wars have brought to so many inhabitants of & exiles from the so-sorely wounded country of Palestine/Israeland).

Stories out of the box… “We all seek to live in physical, emotional & spiritual wellbeing.
Many of us in our childhood didn’t receive love, a protected place, a warm & healthy home.
Now that we’ve survived, we can look into the hearts of our mothers & fathers & feel the pain that they bore & that some of them still bear in their hearts. Much pain & much hardship.
Generations upon generations raised children while commanding them, scolding them & ranting at them, & some of them also abused them physically & verbally.
Now that we’ve survived, we can feel compassion & inclusion.
Each mother brought us into life with deep devotion.
Some mothers did so in loneliness & confusion, in need of companionship & warmth that were not present.
They experienced pregnancy & childbirth that entailed much pain.
They wanted to give us all that they could.
In the nights, alone, they had feelings of guilt & worry & they were unable to create a different reality.
Now we are the ones who can bring healing to their pain & their worries.
Now we are the ones who can bring healing with forgiveness.
To see our parents as people who toiled for our sakes, who did things for us, & to see their pains & the hardships they’re subject to.
Forgiveness & expression of esteem are great healings. When we’re on a path of healing we do it for others too. We share our personal healing with those close & dear to us & with whoever we meet on our way.
Healing begins in us & in our home.
Healing begins in us & in our family.
Healing of this kind heals a lineage of pain that has passed down from generation to generation.
When we forgive we liberate a great energetic charge (&/or burden?) and allow it to move on from us.
A moment before Yom Kippur is the most blessed time to,look into the eyes of those close to us & to ask their forgiveness & to thank them, to feel in our hearts the power of forgiveness and to start up a new relationship circuit that contains forgiveness & esteem; the forgiveness will turn into compassion, & the compassion into love. The esteem will turn into thanks & thanksgiving.
You, each of you & of us, bears the great healers within her/himself.
Personal healing wants to share itself with whoever brought us into the world.
I ask forgiveness from whoever has been injured by me at any time.
With blessings of love.
May this be a year of healing for all, for Mother Earth, for our relations with all creatures.
For our relations with ourselves.
With a blessing of self-love & a connection to the healer who is in each one of you.

I thank goodness

I thank goodness
for goodness
being here in this world

I thank goodness
for the goodness
I perceive in so many
people & creatures
& inventions & poems
& art works & sights seen
& experiences & givings
I thank goodness
for all the goodnesses
I’ve received in my living

I thank goodness
that in the midst of the horrors,
the cruelties, the injuries, the damage
that humans moved by their own
&/or their manipulative leaders’ greeds
or primal fears, imagined needs or exclusivist creeds
still inflict on other people & creatures
& on our planet of (still potential) plenty,
goodness still persists in the hearts & deeds
of so many, still alive & still evident
in protests & petitions & actions
of kindness & gestures of solidarity

I thank goodness I feel I’m part
of an evolution of a more humane humanity
I thank goodness I feel I’m part
of a revolution of conscience

I thank goodness for the goodness
in my family’s love, my love for my life-
partner, our sons & our grandchildren
& their love for me, for the goodness
I see in families around me, in people
who gladly help people & share many
blessings. I thank goodness for teachers,
for doctors, for nurses, for sanitary workers,
providers of goods & services
& all kinds of toilers & helpers
who make life easier for others;
for science, technology, & of course
always for nature, even if it too
brings us disasters (for no life is for ever
& this too I accept)

I thank goodness, not a God
I cannot believe in, for far too many evils
have been & still are being perpetrated
in the names of all gods & goddesses
or the name of the One God of whichever
religion has sprung from the invention
of the Judaic Jehovah, though I can find
both beauty & horror in the tales & laws
of the Scriptures, & wisdom as well
in some of the psalms & the prophets

I thank goodness I still have the word goodness
to  express what I feel when I want to thank goodness
for a good thing that’s happened to me
or a good thing I’ve seen happen

& although I don’t know why it is so but feel sure that it is
I thank goodness for goodness being innate in us all
even tho in so many it’s so often repressed
by circumstances beyond the young experiencer’s control

I thank goodness
for goodness
being here in this world

“I Wish You Enough”

i wish you enough

I found these inspiring lines at the end of a post by Nicole Daedone (whom I don’t know), that had been shared on Facebook by my fb friend, the artist Dali Bahat, & felt they should also be highlighted and published for their intrinsic wisdom, love & value even before the moving story that they conclude in that post. & I have no hesitation about also calling them poetry. Here is the link to my sharing of the post: