We Have To Begin With Sadness

We Have to Begin With Sadness

We have to begin with sadness
in the maqam
the hijaz
always reserved for sad stories*

*Death of Sara
Abraham
Joseph
Jacob
Nadav and Avihu
the shame of the golden calf
the spies and their failure to understand
the Sabbath before Tisha B’Av (first portion of Deuteronomy)
the saddest day of the Jewish year
all maqam hijaz.

There’s plenty to be unhappy about
But —

I grabbed on to a hook
Dropped mercifully from the sky —

It settled just above my head
High enough that if I hadn’t looked

I could have missed it.

I had the good sense [for once]

To grab hold of it
It was maqam hijaz
sent to lift me up
And out.

I flew over my city
one eye laughing
one eye crying.

Acharei Mot; small alef poetry
Maqam Hijaz

Maqam Hijaz* D E-flat F# G
Maqam musical figure
modal form
cognate of Hebrew Makom,
signifying
Place