February 8 2021

Once the phone clock signaled the end of this morning’s meditation, as always, I concluded with the Jewish prayer: “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”  After 30 minutes of effort to calm my troubled thinking, I often find a moment of relaxation in shifting register to this plea before throwing off the blanket, turning on the light and taking up the day’s work.

Today that prayer to the void was accompanied by more self-observation and a silent word: “broken.” An association swam up from below: George Herbert’s “The Broken Altar” and behind it Leonard Cohen’s “cold and broken hallelujah.” Next came the toothy jaws of a literary critic which gulped up both and smiled.


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