I Am a Rare Breed: A Poem of Irish-Jewish Identity

For Laney
 
I am a rare breed,
For my soul bridges two rich ancient traditions,
And I am blessed to be a part of both worlds.
 
To the West, lies muck and the wild heather,
Where the proud Celt stirs up my imagination,
With stories to warm the heart on a winter’s night.
Queen Maeve and Brigid the healer call out to me,
Reminding me that my a chroi beats like a bodhran,
While uilleann pipes call to the deepest part of me
That I am of Mise Eire.
 
To the East, I sojourn in the lush land of the Torah,
Where I dwell among palm trees and desert oases,
With Miriam, tambourine in hand, I feel liberated,
With Esther, I will advocate for those who suffer,
Inspired by women of integrity, poets and prophets,
I draw in my tallit, and let my heart beat with theirs,
And I am of Israel.
 
The Moabite Ruth was indeed a rare breed,
Straddling two worlds, she trusted in the unseen one,
Embraced traditions not hers, and her faith blossomed.     
 
St. Patrick was also a rare breed,
Trusting in his calling, he was welcomed in by strangers,
And understood the gift of believing in the unseen one.
 
I am a fortunate breed,
One foot belongs to our clan and the other to our tribe,
My soul naturally dances to the lilting sounds of Eire,
While my heart nigguns to the soulful songs of Israel.
 
* Mise Eire (mother Ireland), a chroi (heart), bodhran (Irish drum), uilleann (Irish pipes with the bellow under the elbow)

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