Saving It

By Ostriker, Alicia | Shofar, Summer 2018 | Go to article overview

Saving It


Ostriker, Alicia, Shofar


—For Chana Bloch, with gratitude for her love

and her intelligence

Some think the world can be saved by love

some think it can be saved by intelligence

It is the old quarrel of the heart and the head

each of which would be dead

without its rival and although

I am of those who believe it cannot be saved

too many people greedy too many in the kind of pain

that perpetuates itself for generations

who cannot save themselves from the depths

of pain or from chasing oblivion

long enough to do the world any good

some say that is what bodhisattvas are for

but the Jewish sages say

regarding tikkun olam, healing the world,

It is not incumbent on you to finish the task

neither are you free to give it up

Alicia Ostriker

Alicia Ostriker has published sixteen volumes of poetry, most recently The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014) and Waiting for the Light (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017), which received the 2017 National Jewish Book Award for Poetry. …

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