A Song of Reward and Punishment

Exploring Babylon Chapter 22

Here is further response to a long-ago comment of Max Ticktin (z”l), based on the words of Jeremiah and in a sort of homage to Leonard Cohen.

“Has this song gone on too long?
A song of reward and punishment
for exiles in Babylon and elsewhere”

The theme repeats again and long
this song of punishment and reward
Is our pain fault or accident?
The heart is indeed most devious!

You say that we’ll be cursed if we
trust in folks whose strength is flesh
that we’ll lose heart,
turn our thoughts away

We’ll feel just like a desert bush,
parched, alone, and unaware
that good might come
that water could be flowing

And then You say that we’ll be blessed
if we trust You
and You alone
We’ll be like trees that will not lack for water

You promise we’ll not think of drought,
our leaves will be forever fresh
we’ll have strong roots and bear more fruit
But is it wise to pretend no heat is coming?

The theme repeats again and long
this song of punishment and reward
What could it harm, I’m bound to ask,
if I were just a wealthy fool?

Saved or doomed? God only knows!
You’re refuge, you’re chastisement
Probe my heart and heal me now
Or has this song gone on too long?

Who gets justice in this world?
I’m a shepherd who has lost the way
The theme repeats again and long
this song of punishment and reward
— V. Spatz, 2018
from Jeremiah 17:5-8 and surrounding verses



NOTE

As noted in previous post, “A Song of Reward and Punishment,” which is what Max called Jeremiah 17:5-8, just seems like something Leonard Cohen would have written. I imagine something that sounds somewhere between “Darkness” (“Old Ideas,” 2012) and “You Want It Darker” (eponymous album, 2016).


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One thought on “A Song of Reward and Punishment

  1. meirabracha

    Virginia,

    “Is our pain fault or accident?” resonates with me as I finish a week-long tour of Israel and Palestine with the American Friends of the Parents Circle- Families Forum. The topic of victimhood has come up in discussions with both Palestinians and Israelis, along with the question of whether/ how much people are attached to their victomhood.

    We’re about to arrive in Sderot, so I have to end now.

    Thanks so much for posting this.

    Michele

    On Mon, May 14, 2018 at 6:45 AM A Song Every Day wrote:

    > vspatz posted: “Exploring Babylon Chapter 22 Here is further response to a > long-ago comment of Max Ticktin (z”l), based on the words of Jeremiah and > in a sort of homage to Leonard Cohen. “Has this song gone on too long? A > song of reward and punishment for exiles in Bab” >

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