Head of the Year

Head of the Year

Every year, I tell myself it’ll be different.

The house will sparkle.

The books will be housed.

Broken things repaired, broken relationships mended.

The trunk of my car tidied, all I didn’t need, given.

The soup simmering, hot and delicious, the brisket dripping from the sharpened knife.

A plump honey cake on my clean counter, prettily dressed in nasturtiums of orange and gold.

Who am I fooling?

Certainly not G-d, who must see the struggles of all of us, just to put food on our tables.

Just to have a table.

Why, every year, no matter early or late, have I not done it?

Enough working, cooking, building, fixing, writing, dreaming, sleeping (especially sleeping)?

Sharing enough loving moments with family, deeply listening,

Openings arms and a (clean) spare room to those who need?


On the water I rush to throw my breadcrumbs (which even the gulls disdain).


I don’t really believe that casting bread makes up for it all but still,

I review, remember, listen for my mind’s shofar.

That’s worth a broken bagel and a crumpled crust, right?


I won’t tell you all my sins.  Except the new one.

It’s the sin of giving up,

Of feeling like it’s all ended, or will soon,

So what’s the point?


The gulls glide high above this harbour, but my reach is so small.

I breathe in the salty tang of this Rosh Hashanah, the world’s birthday,

Crumbs bobbing just beyond my blue sandals,

And pray to find a spark of shooting joy in each of the days of this

New Year.

To toss them into my autumn life like scarlet leaves:

Startling, crinkled round their blackened edges,


But still rising, still blowing, still singing L’chaim.

About the Author
Peggy Walt has worked for 40 years in the arts and culture sector in Nova Scotia, Canada. She's writing a book on the search for what happened to her husband's family during the Holocaust and her conversion to Judaism in the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Nonfiction at King's University in Halifax.
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