Stephen Horenstein
Music, Arts and Society

Poems during wartime

Poetry in Motion, photo by Stephen Horenstein

The following are poems written since October 7 reflecting my personal experiences and feelings during wartime. Though I was living far from combat I felt the need to write them.  As a Coda I have included music written at the same time. It is meant to help heal.

My Journey

Yesterday I left and returned,
but soon I will leave forever.
That thought deafened me on buses
churning gas, poisoning streets,
sooty-ing all that’s not sleeping.
On that bus I looked at faces around me
except for two children across
who didn’t know of such things.
Of late I have disappeared then have looked
at the blank light in mirrors.
I have cherished solitude, vertical fields
where plants grow and drizzle their lives away.
I have tried understanding my sadness
of mauve, knowing nothing but where
I went and will go,
but have already left and returned.

Morning’s Dance

Poplars so tall, slow dancing and flowing
calling to sleep’s gentle aura
with motions like seas, wafting and waving,
pinnacles’ perfection, parting from norms,
their footsteps of ballet’s majesty
crowned in morning, pendulums throbbing,
bells swaying, calming the color red, oozing
far far from here, where crushed tomatoes
and hearts, all unveiled, tell a different story.

Flick Show

Flicking folly’s dance, arrhythmic rains fall
all morning, drilling cracks in night’s sky
during the day. I’m inside, hunched over,
wide-eyed, with trailblazing neurones
pulsing, synapsed, in gorge-like trespassing
through multi-phonic dimensions
stuck to the throat and mind until spring
drains, muddying the thoughts soon swept away
soon gone by day.

Black and Blue

Have you shopped in winter
when skies breathe madness
and doors don’t close?
Steps of care snuggle you
though heat from fans
dry your eyes so their tears
crust inside, your lids
burning the corners of your mind.

Passing the Baton

Please accept my last request
to lift the burden off my chest.


Coda, Some Music by Stephen Horenstein, for healing

Circus 2



About the Author
Stephen Horenstein is a composer, researcher and educator. His repertoire of musical works has been performed and recorded worldwide. He has been a recipient of the Israel Prime Minister's Prize for Composers and the National Endowment of the Arts (USA) and recently a Mifhal HaPais prize to produce a new album “Sounds of Siday: Side B” (orchestra).. Horenstein's teaching has included Bennington College, Brandeis University, Tel Aviv University, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance; residencies at Stanford University, York University, California Institute of the Arts, and others. He is Founder and Director of the Jerusalem Institute of Contemporary Music, established in 1988 to bring the music of our time to a wider audience.
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