Readings for Yom Kippur Adult Discussion – 2PM Wednesday 9/30 – ERUUF

Poems for KH Adult Discussion 2017 (PDF for printing)



Beat! Beat! Drums!



Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!

Through the windows—through doors—burst like a ruthless force,

Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation,

Into the school where the scholar is studying,

Leave not the bridegroom quiet—no happiness must he have now with his bride,

Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, ploughing his field or gathering his grain,

So fierce you whirr and pound you drums—so shrill you bugles blow.


Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!

Over the traffic of cities—over the rumble of wheels in the streets;

Are beds prepared for sleepers at night in the houses? no sleepers must sleep in those beds,

No bargainers’ bargains by day—no brokers or speculators—would they continue?

Would the talkers be talking? would the singer attempt to sing?

Would the lawyer rise in the court to state his case before the judge?

Then rattle quicker, heavier drums—you bugles wilder blow.


Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!

Make no parley—stop for no expostulation,

Mind not the timid—mind not the weeper or prayer,

Mind not the old man beseeching the young man,

Let not the child’s voice be heard, nor the mother’s entreaties,

Make even the trestles to shake the dead where they lie awaiting the hearses,

So strong you thump O terrible drums—so loud you bugles blow.




For the Consideration of Poets



where is the poetry of resistance,

the poetry of honorable defiance

unafraid of lies from career politicians and business men,

not respectful of journalist who write

official speak void of educated thought

without double search or sub surface questions

that war talk demands?

where is the poetry of doubt and suspicion

not in the service of the state, bishops and priests,

not in the service of beautiful people and late night promises,

not in the service of influence, incompetence and academic

clown talk?



I, Too



I, too, sing America.


I am the darker brother.

They send me to eat in the kitchen

When company comes,

But I laugh,

And eat well,

And grow strong.



I’ll be at the table

When company comes.

Nobody’ll dare

Say to me,

“Eat in the kitchen,”




They’ll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed—


I, too, am America.





Gwendolyn Brooks


Say to them,

say to the down-keepers,

the sun-slappers,

the self-soilers,

the harmony-hushers,

“Even if you are not ready for day

it cannot always be night.”

You will be right.

For that is the hard home-run.

Live not for battles won.

Live not for the-end-of-the-song.

Live in the along.



A Rock, A River, A Tree

Maya Angelou


Hosts to species long since departed,


Marked the mastodon.

The dinosaur, who left dry tokens


Of their sojourn here


On our planet floor,


Any broad alarm of their hastening doom


Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,


Come, you may stand upon my


Back and face your distant destiny,


But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than


The angels, have crouched too long in


The bruising darkness,


Have lain too long


Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words


Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,


But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,


A River sings a beautiful song,


Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,


Delicate and strangely made proud,


Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit


Have left collars of waste upon


My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,


If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs


The Creator gave to me when I and the


Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your


Brow and when you yet knew you still


Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to


The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew


The African and Native American, the Sioux,


The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek


The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,


The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,


The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.


They hear. They all hear


The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree


Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed


On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you


Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you


Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then


Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of


Other seekers–desperate for gain,


Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot …


You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought


Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare


Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,


Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree


I am yours–your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need


For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,


Cannot be unlived, and if faced


With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon


The day breaking for you.

Give birth again


To the dream.

Women, children, men,


Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most


Private need. Sculpt it into


The image of your most public self.


Lift up your hearts


Each new hour holds new chances


For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever


To fear, yoked eternally


To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,


Offering you space to place new steps of change.


Here, on the pulse of this fine day


You may have the courage


To look up and out upon me, the


Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day


You may have the grace to look up and out


And into your sister’s eyes, into


Your brother’s face, your country


And say simply


Very simply


With hope


Good morning.