Looking for spiritually alternative ways to count the Omer? Click above to watch/listen to the great John Zorn Ensemble perform “Gevruah,” then below for Zorn’s “Yesod,” as performed by the Crakow Klezmer Band.
As you listen, read this rendering of Psalm 24 by Stephen Mitchell:
The earth belongs to the Lord
and everything on it is his.
For he founded it in empty space
and breathed his own life-breath into it,
filling it with manifold creatures,
each one precious in his sight.
Who is fit to hold power
and worthy to act in God’s place?
Those with a passion for the truth,
who are horrified by injustice,
who act with mercy to the poor
and take up the cause of the helpless,
who have let go of selfish concerns
and see whole earth as sacred,
refusing to exploit her creatures
or to foul her waters and her lands.
Their strength is in their compassion;
God’s light shines through their hearts.
Their children’s children will bless them,
and the work of their hands will endure.
And/or this excerpt from James Dickey’s poem, “The Strength of the Fields:”
Dear Lord of all the fields
what am I going to do?
Street-lights, blue-force and frail
As the homes of men, tell me how to do it
To withdraw how to penetrate and find the source
Of the power you always had
light as a moth, and rising
With the level and moonlit expansion
Of the fields around, and the sleep of hoping men.
You? I? What difference is there? We can all be saved
By a secret blooming. Now as I walk
The night and you walk with me we know simplicity
Is close to the source that sleeping men
Search for in their home-deep beds.
We know that the sun is away we know that the sun can be conquered
By moths, in blue home-town air.
The stars splinter, pointed and wild. The dead lie under
The pastures. They look on and help. Tell me, freight-train,
When there is no one else
To hear. Tell me in a voice the sea
Would have, if it had not a better one: as it lifts,
Hundreds of miles away, its fumbling, deep-structured roar
Like the profound, unstoppable craving
Of nations for their wish.
Hunger, time and the moon:
The moon lying on the brain
as on the excited sea as on
The strength of fields. Lord, let me shake
With purpose. Wild hope can always spring
From tended strength. Everything is in that.
That and nothing but kindness. More kindness, dear Lord
Of the renewing green. That is where it all has to start:
With the simplest things. More kindness will do nothing less
Than save every sleeping one
And night-walking one
My life belongs to the world. I will do what I can.