Earth Etude for Elul 18: Pine Needles

by Asher Hillel Burstein

Of love’s immortal way they said,

Cheat the grave her wonted siege.

Garlands round your plot of earth,

Home the wand’ring lights of I.

Who now as all on edge of time,

Toll the eager moonlit tide.

No nuptial love has such a kind,

That hopes for songs he cannot write.

Nor knows a heart like his so dimmed,

By sweet rejected notes; he aches.

To share with one for whom he dies,

By day, by night; so long the years.

Of tears; his right to humble space,

Immortal face, which none can see,

For neither son nor song gives birth.

To teeming trails of evergreen,

But this, his woe, a roaming void.

Beyond the hour closing fast,

Yonder youth a memory.

Shedding drops of Heaven’s dew,

A claim to immortality.


Asher Hillel Burstein is a poet and tunesmith from Long Island. A one-time rabbi and part-time cantor, he teaches in a yeshiva high school in Manhattan. Asher holds an M.A. in Jewish Studies from the Academy for Jewish Religion and an M.F.A. in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. He is a doctoral candidate at Drew University where he also serves as an adjunct professor of Hebrew.

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