Death’s Garden; A Sonnet

by Judi Bachrach 10/22/18

Sitting alone at the top of my head,

The mind grasps at everything to mean something.

Tell me how to live now that he is dead!

My heart cries, keens, remembers how to sing.


The soil of pain breeds rich fertility.

The mind cannot comprehend the reason,

Wonders at its own inability,

To reap Love’s harvest from this dark season.


Death’s bounty brings me spaciousness at last,

Lets my mind rest inside the mystery.

The heart frees my thoughts from future and past.

A seed planted now creates history.


Life is the digging, love is the growing,

My soul flourishes in peace, Not Knowing.









by Judi Bachrach 20014

In my dream, the last wave delivered me to a shore

my eyes not yet open.

I groped to fill my usual basket


by tangled seaweed

Weighed down

by barnacled stones


over half a sand dollar


over everyone’s garbage.


Fully re-collected

I arose with the sun

and trudged along the shore

towards the breakwater.

Midday I sit to rest unconcerned

as I watch my basket

dragged away by the gathering tide.



I close my lids against the sun.

Bright lights dance inside.

I taste

the tangy salt air


the gritty warm breeze on my cheeks


the mingle of birds and waves and buoys


the death of countless briny creatures



my endless dissolution in the sea.


River Stones

by Judi Bachrach 10/3/18

I stepped into this unknown river.

He is not here to hold my hand.


I had not even been to Ohio before.

How deep did these waters flow?


How swift was the current?

Is there another side?


Hesitant and dripping wet

from ceaseless inner storms,

I searched along the bank while I stood shaking.


Here the riverbed widened out and I saw the stones.

Choosing which way was best for me,

a path was revealed, stone by stone.


New hands reached out for mine

Steadying, supporting, also wading through the unknown.


Nobody knows how long

but we do not travel alone.




Dayenu for David

Judi Bachrach 7/28/18

Richard, one day

when it is his time

David will join you

I know you will be there

to let him know

astonished as you were

how loved he is

how he is Love Itself

how many individual lights

gather him into their One embrace

and hold him forever

always have

always will

the long dream of forgetting

lost in Always

our dear human selves

at rest in Awareness

the brief separation of

God knowing God

Elijah comes through the door

raises his own glass on high

(he thanks you for the years you and Richard did it for him)

drinks down with a laugh

and softly sings:

If David knew how much he’s loved

If David knew how much he’s loved

If David knew how much he’s loved

That would be enough

Day, Day-enu,

Day, Day-enu,

Day, Day-enu,

Dayenu, Dayenu!



Our Sky

by Judi Bachrach


Last night was the height

of the Pleides meteor shower.

How did it get to be almost fall?

By nine o’clock

Darkness covers the courtyard



we used to camp out

on the southeast side of the mountain

waking each other up to see

Handfuls of arcing lights

a breath

one, then more and more

on good years,

more than our spent wishes could follow.

We are so small

Our planet so large

Our planet so small

the cosmos so large

The vast unlimited Mind of God



Morning geese are

tracking their way

back through our sky


I’ve Grown Used to Miracles

by Adi Da

I’ve grown used to miracles.

The wonder is not whether

we be together

me with those I’m loving

on some other side.

The wonder is that we’ve met and been together

loving here, in this world,

where love is yet to take its hold.

Of course this is no consolation to you,

You who are seeking for me everywhere.

But this is not the place for consolations.

And only those who understand are fit for loving here.

I was used to miracles the day I lived.

And now I begin my days myself.

Even if I make a logic of your sentiment

If we found each other here

how should we lose the touch

in a world more light?

(from Crazy Da Must Sing,(Inclined to His Weaker Side)



For Richard

Kendal Birthdays

This is his first not birthday

A day I never imagined

Has arrived

Not a dearth of imagination

But a surfeit of love that blinds

The inevitable as impossible

The day that mortality

Counts coup in passing through

Time and space

He no longer inhabits

I do


The bed I wake up in

Could be anywhere

But it is from here

I will continue lose him

To gain the unimaginable

Not a dearth of imagination

But a surfeit of Love

Opens my eyes

Beyond time and space

Death has no birthdays

The red wing blackbirds

Shrill by the pond

My new home


For Richard

Harvesting Father’s Day

You aren’t here to celebrate

but your fathering love is

The delight of your daughters

bestowing you with sticky cards

spilled coffee and burned toast

Ferocious Kerpolean transformed

into wimpy little Sneezy

with a touch of the button

at the end of your nose


From schools to camps to colleges

and beyond

helplessly loving them

from the moment of birth

the paradox of letting heart investments

out into an impersonal world

confounding challenges triumphs and tragedies

beyond your control


You can rest assured.


They are well poised safe and secure

Their gorgeous strong arms carry all you gave

personalizing the world they live in

They know

the day of the father

is not a day but

a lifetime of fathering fruits

Today you give us the gift of remembering Love.



This Desert

mid 90’s, rewritten 6/9/18 Judi Bachrach

I used to think that love looked like this:

A mother holds her child tightly to her breast.

She only lets go as the child needs her to

her arms remain there always.

This never happened with me.

Does it mean I was never loved ?

There are many answers

but only one is true.

I didn’t know

the painful holes in my childhood

would create the strongest possible jar

to hold my longing for Love

I say,”YES !”

and Love breaks the jar

again and again

until there is no me

no you

no jar

no way

to die of thirst in this desert anymore.




Screen Savior

Lying with my head on my mother’s lap

across the bench seat in our ’52 Chevy

tree tops and telephone wires

rush by

sweet smells of summer tucking me in


Today I left my hometown

semi reclining in the back seat of a Subaru

this long drive from Woodstock

upstate NY mountain greens and RVs rush by


Sitting up I see

Memorial Day golfers, hikers, kayakers,

trucks, motorcycles, American flags

morning beers and tents in the Oxbow campsite

orange life vests swimming in the Allegheny


Clouds pull away like taffy

into mashed potatoes and cotton balls

milky mares tails

of a hot summer day


My old home leaves me in miles and hours

the screen I am using hasn’t changed

only the projections on it from

childhood to widowhood


Always north and west

the same eyes see

Damascus, Bath, Cuba go by

the Seneca-Iroquois Nation museum and casino

Jamestown, into Eerie, PA


Rolling on to the flat lands of OH

through a haze of barbecue smoke

the Great Lake glimmers at Cleveland’s edge

we drive on through to Oberlin

my new home town


In the hotel at night I close my eyes

the world still rushing by

the screen never alters

it must be untouched Love itself

the only home that remains still



For a New Beginning

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness grow inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the grey promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

John O’Donohue



The News (1990’s) Judi Bachrach

This computer screen separates us.

You never placed the gun in my hand

But I have killed a thousand nameless faces.

I never saw you on the battlefield

but I am at war.

Silently, I grind the faces of my enemies

beneath my boot heels every day.

I have drunk the victim’s bitter gall with you.

One day we shall be justified

in a terrible revenge.


This morning I sit at my warm kitchen table.

reading about you.

If news itself connected us to one another


we could begin to hold forgiveness in our hearts

instead of these guns in our hands.


NRA Membership 2/7/00  Judi Bachrach

Unbridled enthusiasm runs amok in the fields.

Your thoughts are clay pigeons

And I want to shoot them down

Before they sprout wings and fly away.

Pessimism takes so much energy, you said.

But I believe I spend less on disappointment, I replied.


I’d rather resign my membership in the NRA

And stand there

With my hands in my pockets


Not invested in the outcome.


Fount of the Unknown Waters


Spewing out my known losses

makes room

for unknown aquifers

artesian wells spring forth

with every step

saints and god/desses do that

leave footprints of faith

well marked oases on desert sands

Thirsty I try to follow

while clutching the world I knew

puddles shrink into sand

until there is nothing to grasp

Unlooked for

unknown waters arise

gushing forth

fountains everywhere nowhere

sprayed exuberantly from earth to air

dissipating mists of time and memory

unpredictable eruptions of pure faith

drench the weary traveler through and through


Absolutely Clear

My aid, Claire, sent me this poem today. Others have also brought it to my attention lately.

“I wanted to share this with you: Absolutely Clear by Shams al-Din Hafiz”