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Herbert B. Siegel

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Where Do Prayers Go?
by Herbert B. Siegel
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Rated "G" by the Author.
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Recent poems by Herbert B. Siegel
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A History of and Prediction of Praying.

If you know how to worry, you know how to pray
you learned how to every day.
You know worry gets you nowhere,
about that there is nothing more to say.
But when you pray, sins and cares
seem to pass away--but do they?

The prayers you use, some old, some new
some are about others, some about you,
some long and loud that can be heard far away,
or doesn’t it work that way?
Silent prayers and thoughts too---are they heard?
No one can say.

But it wasn’t always this way.
There was a time when sinning
was in fashion, and sacrifices were the temple’s
Animal rituals were the only known routes
to judgment day.
Sometimes the sinners were also made to pay,
as when Abraham offered his son to God as prey.

Then the council of Yanneh, a rabbinical synod,
decreed civility trumped sacrifice, and
morality was more than archetypical rituals or religious legality.
That was around the Common Era (70 C.E.),
when benign praying was first adopted to atone for human frailty.
Beggary substituting for sacrifices was like voodoo
to the Hebrews of that day,
but eventually their culture changed for good, by way
of Jesus, a Jew, who made the last known sacrifice for the sins of man.
After Him, praying became the new talisman.

Prayers came with a new price.
They were unstructured, disorganized, rambling,
often failed to deliver, and were misused.
Prayers were written to atone for every known vice,
They were repetitive, petitioning, ritualistic, meditative, intercessory,
collaborative, and colloquial atonements socially
acceptable and perfuse.

Changes from physicality to spirituality was a new
Psychology, enhancing life by illusion and fantasy
all without embarrassment or apology- a cultural conundrum!

The struggle continued, uncovering truths and casting
them away to the ethers was daunting.
It required belief in father/child confessions
to reduce life’s stresses, and ordained
childhood conditioning until it was haunting.

So many prayers are not answered; the failure rate is so high
it seems all that remains is to pray lies
to preserve a culture evolved from brutality to intimacy whereby prayers pursued problems, but are often polluted by problems pursuing prayers:

(A Parable)
A young boy prayed each night for a new bike,
but nothing happened that he liked,
so he stole one and prayed for forgiveness,
while riding a new bike.

Ritual prayers and meditation reside in the same mind;
Only faith is left to reconcile human and spiritual needs of mankind.
Praying is noisy, faith is silent prayer, and each is mutually exclusive yet needed for elusive solutions.
It matters not the length, speed, or intensity of each,
their catharsis goes to the furthest reach
of the ethers with a cacophony of worldly sounds,
any one of which is capable of murdering hope, and
canceling prayers from closed eyes and open mouths.

But what if there is not more to life than living it?
Then the secret is out the mystery is over.
A new liturgical fabric is needed or man will again roam
blindly to atone.
What new process remains for us to condone and atone?
Can a poem, a poem in harmony with the universe best express
our most intimate thoughts, and fulfill us with its every verse?
Poetry remains the only stream of consciousness left to remain with man forevermore here on Earth?

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Reviewed by Natalie Petrova (Reader) 9/17/2008
Loved read Where Do Prayers Go?
I am wondering if only deep disappointments with human being existence there on Earth could give a birth such brilliant philosophical writing... ?

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