Repairing the World

Repairing the World

I read a very sad, worrying and salutary post in a private Facebook group yesterday. There an American Jewish woman told how on the fourth night of Hanukkah someone broke into her flat. That, in itself, would be horrifying. But this burglar spray painted swatikas on her back door. However, she ended the post by sharing a Jewish concept, Tikkun Olam, in Hebrew. It roughly translates as ‘repair the world.’ I am reminded of a non-Jewish friend explaining why she gave both her children Old Testiment names. This was because, immediately post-World War II, her parents and elder sister were in perilous circumstances. A Jewish couple saw their dire straits and kept the family afloat. If they had not received that bit of timely assistance, she would not be here. The couple did not have children, so when my friend had her own children, she named them in remembrance and gratitude from her family. That  couple lived the concept of Tikkun Olam, or repairing the world, starting with what they saw in their own street.

Today’s Poetry Daily is partly a meditation on how damage can be managed, as well as actually repaired. Most of all, I want to popularise this concept. Whether you are religious or not, this Tikkun Olam is an ideal that we all could embrace. And what a less hateful and horrifying world we would live in if more of us did the essential maintenance.

Repairing the World

We each have a beast
chained in a cave.
Plato was right.
In a cave what’s known
is Beast and its
Shadow, and all those
flickering on the wall.

Some are kind to Beast.
Many are not.
Some feed their Beast.
Others will berate
and beat Beast
whose friend is Shadow,
his known reality.

Some reckon that light
is key to cure,
taming for sure.
But such exposure,
too much, too soon,
can dazzle or blind.
Stay too much brilliance.

Repairs are often
done in stages,
one step forward,
a little retreat.
Beast will not change
overnight, next day
delivery it’s not.

It will take awhile.
before you will
unleash the Beast,
for all to feel safe.
Expect setbacks.
Diligent attempts
will keep up maintenance.

Good tools and patience
are essential.
in skillful hands
oil the process,
help immeasurably.

We repair the world
just a little
by one chain link
at a time, one day
another fix
of another tear –
mending, tending, caring.

Know your own Beast.
It is your Beast.
Don’t blind that bear.
It may need a chain
outside of its cave.
But kindly persist.
Let it live with some light.

Copyright © 2018 Bee Smith

Today’s featured image is a Photo by NASA on Unsplash

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