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"Why art thou here too, Rebbe?"

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A Preview of Zac's Lilies
A Poetry Anthology by Alan D. Busch


To my son, Ben, whom I love with all my heart, all my soul and all my might. Help me to live my life without becoming a slave to anger and bitterness. Search for us Son as we for you in the brightness of the starlit skies. But unlike the night of November 22, 2000, let's find each other this time.

Preface (under construction)

Wednesday, December 22, 2000, the day of our son's death ended quietly in my apartment where I fell asleep after a drink or two. As for the next day and those thereafter, does it make any sense to say I knew what was going to happen without knowing what to expect?

I have been writing about Ben since the publication of my first poem "Mourning Reflections" in Passing (2005), an anthology of bereavement poetry-a bittersweet achievement; here my first published poem but without a soul with whom to share it.

Author's Note: Readers may access the three poems mentioned in the following section by "googling the title: As poetry evolves ... that I posted on this site several days ago or go to my time line and read it there.

As writers, we change. Whether our “change” is coincident with “growth” is a question answerable on a case by case basis only. For example,
I shortened the original poem "Mourning Reflections" to four lines, renamed it "Graveside"-stripping it to its barest essentials. The language I removed from "Mourning Reflections" evolved into another poem“Mourning Raindrops” (title submitted by Renee Regensberg-Gale).

The reader will find within this slender volume all of the articles I have written and published about Ben beginning with “In Memory of Ben: The Last Time” which appeared in the September, 2007 edition of the JUF News.


Chaim Nachman Bialik created an enduring and endearing image of the "Rebbe" (Yiddish, rabbi, my teacher) in "The Fountain", a poem about the love Jews have had historically for their "Batei Midrashim", their "Houses of Learning".

Within its space, unadorned by the golden glitter of materialism, sits the rebbe who learns; his great compassion and love make him a venerable teacher and counselor to whom I would choose to go if ever I were deeply troubled by an "insoluble" problem.Within this framework of my imagination, I place: Yahrzeit, In A Jewish Holy Place

I kindle a soul light for thee this eve,
to quicken the arrival of morning to see,
a shadow of thy face ere mine eyes
as you were then and shall always be.

Each dawn I gather me to this place,
wherein some say G-d resides.
I have searched and searched but have not Him seen,
His face from me as from Moses hides.

A gray beard bent over an ancient folio weeps,
in whom there yet burns the holy flame.
“Why art thou here too, Rebbe?” I ask.
“The reason, my son is, like yours, the same.”

“A lifetime ago, I have forsaken him not,
as you, I won’t let his memory to fade.
I am here too to assuage a young father’s grief,
so that aloneness shall no more make him afraid."

When A Mother Loses Her Daughter

In Memory of Noelle for whom, her mother Micki, forever grieves ...

A daughter’s sudden death leaves her mother benumb.
Yet summons her strength to pray a parent's grief.
She awakens as tho a gently fallen leaf
How flows the divine arithmetic I cannot sum.

He restoreth balance to this, His world.
Hold them fast ‘til you’ve strength no more,
lest their souls depart toward eternity soar.
Blanket them with tenderness gently unfurled.

She sits as if for a portrait and weeps.
oh, how bitter the memory, of her fading laughter, is.
Nary an echo of her schoolgirl’s flute,
that she plays for her, in her memory keeps.

At Heaven's Gate
“Sweet dreams my son,”how barely I whisper,
to thee ‘shah shah’ my lullaby sing.
Every day is yesterday to forever remember,
A tomorrow’s morn did none smiles bring.

Ben, Ben are you hiding?
I called out for you last night as long as I could,
Awaken Son if you can from this nightmare.
May The One Above crown our next lives with abundant good.

Patiently have I awaited thee o’er these ten years,
but only understand now what others have long seen ...
that it is not I who awaits you so much,
as you who awaits me.

Just as G-d does not advise Man of his final awakening
when the dawn of next day will not him renew.
I'll be there Son though I may tarry …
when we’ll tiptoe through poppies without sock or shoe.



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