Monday, October 17, 2011


I like to sit among trees and cogitate.
Being with them, I become one of them;
For a brief moment, eternal like them.
Humbly, I look up, listen, and wait.
The clouds above give only hope of rain;
The sun, I trust, will shower me with light.
I find myself alive, tranquil, sane,
Even though I’ve one and a hundred blight.
My roots suck moisture from the mother, earth;
My arms, a home for birds of diverse feather.
I consider life from naught to birth,
Study contentment in good or foul weather.
Thank Goodness for trees which don’t ask for much;
They’re great natural tutors, in wisdom rich.

(1995; slightly revised, 2011)


I wake, perturbed, to the chatter of birds
Twittering their silly songs to the sun.
Silly birds, thus wasting their breath in vain,
Serving a servant devoid of sense.
Yet their fervent, impassioned prayers soon
Awaken in me a great urge to pray,
And I sing my Hallelujahs to Him
Who is the Master of the Universe.
I welcome, with open arms, the new day,
Breathe in the morning air without a curse.
Good creatures, birds! Got some pretty good sense
In their teeny-weeny heads. They surely set
An example, even for people with fame;
Could put Leibniz and Spinoza to shame.
As sea waves yearn to embrace dry land,
Now turbulent, now calm, always changing,
So do we yearn for God's protective hand,
Seeking clues to satisfy our questioning.
We toil morning to evening -- for what?
Our life, surely, is a weird experiment
Wherein our base body goes down to rot;
But will the soul rise as finer element?
The eternal question to be or not, --
A futile one, since we're here in the flesh.
Our instinct intimates a divine plan,
But science suspects an empty plot.
Yet a still small voice always yearns for God,
Though some folks dismiss this as rather odd.


Bliss is his who can read God's signs well
And, like a good motorist, track life's path
Without a hitch. He reaches higher peaks,
Gets a glimpse of heaven while still on earth.
As faith guides his hands on the steering wheel,
He will not stray into treacherous roads,
Nor will he fear the rumblings of the clouds;
His peace of mind he reckons as his wealth.
But those who choose these signs not to heed --
Their fancy on worldly assets must feed --
Lose sense of direction and face dead-ends,
Where securities may yield no dividends.
O grant Thy road signs are ever before me,
That I may secure my right way to Thee.

Monday, February 15, 2010


(Taking stock of the events that led to his day in and out of court)

Shylock, I said to myself, three thousand ducats
And Antonio bound … bound … bound to my bond
And my oath. For what are three thousand ducats
For a pound of stinking Christian flesh?
A mere pittance to feed my gaping hatred
Of this pig who has mocked me and my race.
Yes, a pound of flesh to feed the dogs with,
For he called me dog – and dogs have more
Charity than these uncircumcised philistines.
Well, sure I am these hypocrites, who stuff
Their stomachs with pork, shrimp, and crab meat –
Dainties their Jewish saviour, the Nazarite,
Would, at their sight, nauseate – will not, and cannot
Be saved, neither through grace, nor through mercy.
For just as impure thoughts defile the mind,
So does unclean food defile the body.
Work, thrift, and good planning made me rich,
Whereas these spendthrift fools squander their cash
On liquor, and take risks beyond their means.
Insecure in their false, ill-founded faith,
They’ve made us, Hebrews, the butt of their jokes.
Yet we’ve managed to stand the tests of time,
Which steadfastness they brand stubbornness.
But this legal pundit turned out to be
A legal impostor – a Doctor of Lies --
No, not a Daniel. A fox in sheep’s skin –
Portia, by name. First, she expounded on
The quality of mercy, then pounded me
With merciless abuse, stripping me naked.
First, a Christian sermon, then a lynching.
Love, not Law, they claim; but what love is this?
I would rather have justice than this love.
They have neither faith, nor works, to speak of.
This Antonio spits on my Jewish gabardine,
And I, a resident alien in Venice,
Subject to their biased and cruel laws.
Yet, Moses, our blessed Lawgiver, shielded
All aliens against envy and malice.
So I am now a Christian – ha! ha! ha!
Behold, the conversion of the Jews is at hand!
Stocks and stones will be in demand – and so will pork.
Oh, how these pigs have profaned our Scripture
With their grand, immaculate deception,
And a new testament of lawful licence!
They violate the very First Commandment
With the graven image of their false god --
To which they bend their knees in idol worship --
And, with that, all the other commandments.
Even our Sabbath is made a wash-day.
Ah, what a fool I was to seek revenge!
My deeds upon my foolish head, indeed!
And now, my daughter’s gone, my home, my wealth,
And I am forced into their sham religion.
Yet I’ll bear the burden of apostasy --
For show only. So be it. I’m content.
I have surrendered my wealth, not my faith –
I remain a Hebrew, true to my tribe.
To synagogue, then, to seek prompt relief.
My sins I’ll repent and, like Job, to pray:
The Lord hath given, the Lord hath taken away.

Victor Sasson

(May-June 2005)

Copyright © 2005 by Victor Sasson
All Rights Reserved