A Literary Magazine in Support of the Jewish Community

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"Comfort O Comfort" by Cathleen Cohen

Comfort O Comfort

       Speak tenderly to Jerusalem (Isaiah 40:1-2)

Daisies lie parched in their beds.

Black-eyed Susans, stiff as straw


clutch yellow petaled hats, as if

this could protect them


from molten sun,

from drought and dust.


I resent jeremiads.

I want to speak


tenderly to my heart

but the heat is relentless.


Leaves wither, figs shrivel on vines.

Some say there were two Isaiahs:


one steeped in calamity,

one holding out hope.


We harvest tomatoes, whatever survives

but stop our watering.


Maybe the heavens

won’t roll up like a scroll.


I cut armfuls of flowers,

will try to paint them, to harvest


some memory.

Maybe my children


will find comfort,

will reap wet seasons.


Maybe this desert

will be like a garden.

Cathleen Cohen

Cathleen Cohen was the 2019 Poet Laureate of Montgomery County, PA. A poet, painter and teacher, she created the We the Poets program for children. Her poems appear in journals such as Apiary, Baltimore Review, East Coast Ink, North of Oxford, One Art Journal, Minyan Magazine, Passager, Philadelphia Stories, Poetica, River Heron Review, and Rogue Agent. She authored Camera Obscura (Moonstone Press, 2017), Etching the Ghost (Atmosphere Press, 2021) and Sparks and Disperses (Cornerstone Press, 2021). Her artwork is on view at Cerulean Arts Gallery and www.cathleencohenart.com.



Cathleen Cohen