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by Riv Ranney Shapiro

Poem recording:


Embroidery of Hebrew word Dayenu with yellow poppy flower

Embroidery of Hebrew word Dayenu with red orange poppy

Origin: Hebrew
“It would have been enough for us”.
Context: A song sung on the Jewish holiday of Passover, recounting the miracle of liberation from the Narrow Place and celebrating each small miracle within.
Passover fell in the fourth week of shelter-in-place in the year 5780/2020.

Dear one,
I could tell you of my suffering, and keep telling you.
I could tell you of my wholeness, and keep telling you.
I want, I yearn, I long
and every day there’s something that gives me
reason to say: it’s enough, for today.
A new growth of poppies emerges after the rain.
The house finch sings on the telephone wire.
The neighbor plays the saxophone in the nearby park.
I list these moments of wholeness, of sufficiency,
recite them like a prayer.
Nearly five months have passed, and looking back
through lists of solace I’m faced
again with what I’ve lost, what I once held
close to my chest, cradling my “enough.”
And beneath that, a constancy,
a stream of contentment in
small moments,
shifting in form but insistent in
their message of belonging.
A friend holds my gaze from ten
feet away, and I am not alone.
The summer heat brings freckles
to my skin and stone fruit
drips its juice down my chin.
The toddler next door blows
bubbles from the front porch,
blows me a kiss.
If I can find today’s “dayenu” –
if I can be open to it
in spite of all that’s gone –
I have a raft on the river of my grief.

I think of you, and all you’ve lost.
All that you keep losing.
What remains?
Who remains?
Can that be enough,
for today?

With you,

Riv Ranney Shapiro (28) (they/them/theirs) is a queer Ashkenazi multi-modal artist, educator and ordained Kohenet (feminist Jewish ritualist) living on Chochenyo Ohlone land. Their creative work is process-oriented and often participatory, reveling in the intersections of ancestors, interspecies relationship, justice, queerness and spirituality. Blending the roles of Educator, Priestess and Artist, Riv is dedicated to sharing the wisdom and the medicine of their Jewish ancestors through adaptive, accessible, and liberatory means. “Slow Down”, their feminist adaptation of the Avinu Malkeinu melody, has traveled across religious and continental boundaries to be sung in communities across the world. In 2020 Riv was selected as a Rising Song Fellow with the Hadar Institute and Joey Weisenberg, and they look forward to deepening their songwriting and leadership in that container. For music, film and Kohenet services, visit rivshapiro.com.

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