Poetry Friday–Peace and Rosh Hashanah

I’m offering  up some heartfelt poetry and art (WIP, detail) for Poetry Friday–and this  full week, filled with spirtualism,  religious holidays, and social activism.

Wednesday night began the Jewish Holiday Rosh Hashanah, one of the Jewish high holidays, where Jews celebrate the New Year and begin to reflect on their sins over the past year. It culminates 10 days later on the Holiest of Jewish holidays Yom Kippur–this is the “Day of Repentance” where Jews take responsibility for their sins, through prayer. A favorite food to share for the New Year is apples dipped in honey, for hopes of a sweet New Year.

Thursday is the International Day of Peace, and the theme this year is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” This year the United Nations is focusing on respect, dignity, and safety for all those having to leave their homes in efforts of finding a “better life.” Here’s a link to read more about the 2017 International Day of Peace 

I’ve been writing peace poems this week. In my first peace poem I was thinking about the fall, a time of harvest, and the Jewish New Year. I also wanted to connect these thoughts positively with our current times.


Peace opens her door each year, when we welcome falls harvest,
Envy has no place at Peace’s table, nor does greed, hunger, or destruction.
Allow peace to fill your palate with altruistic acts of kindness, generosity, and humility.
Carry a piece of Peace with you at this seasonal changing time of year–and
Examine her virtues within your heart–share them vast and wide with your multi-diverse neighbors throughout our small world.

© 2017 Michelle Kogan


 I continued to ponder on more about peace and what it means to me, I thought of water and crossing waters. This brought me to Jimmy Cliff and his song Rivers of Babylonwhich one of my peace poems branched from. 


“By the rivers of Babylon,”
By the shores of “gitchi-gami,”
By the oceans of the Bering Strait,
By the body of water
that connects one
human being to another,
Let peace pass between,
and wrap around our 
far and wide,
washing us in 
waves of 
wisdom, and 
hope for all

And as Jimmy Cliff sang:
“So, let the words of our mouth
And the meditation of our heart
Be acceptable in Thy sight
Oh Fari.”

© 2017 Michelle Kogan

Peaceful wishes to all!
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Amy! She just   celebrated her book birthday for her new book, READ! READ! READ! Be sure to stop by her blog, The Poem Farm, for the roundup and more!


About Michelle Kogan Art, Illustration, & Writing

Michelle Kogan is an artist, illustrator, instructor, and writer, creating colorful allegorical figure, flora and fauna paintings and children's illustrations, which have a sensitivity to endangered species, and the environment. She is an art instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Evanston Art Center and offers Plein Air Painting Workshops at nature venues in the Chicago area including the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park. Visit her online Etsy Shop at: http://www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com and her website: http://www.michellekogan.com
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33 Responses to Poetry Friday–Peace and Rosh Hashanah

  1. margaretsmn says:

    Poetry offers us pieces of peace to carry around in our pockets.

  2. cvarsalona says:

    I am immersed in peace after reading your post, Michelle. Of course, I love your drawing and this line stands out in your first poem: “Carry a piece of Peace with you at this seasonal changing time of year.” How about you blending the drawing with the line as an inspirational poster for my fall gallery? I am working on Sunkissed Summer and wanted it completed by the last day of summer. That did not happen so it will be on my to do weekend list.

  3. Tabatha says:

    I like those sweet apples in your WIP, Michelle, and that Peace “opens her door.” Oh, that we could all walk in!

  4. “Hope for all/ humanity” is the thought I plan to carry around with me today. A lovely, deep-thinking post, Michelle. You are good all the way through.

  5. Irene Latham says:

    And peaceful wishes to you, Michelle! I like thinking about who/what might sit at Peace’s table. And thank you for sharing your wip, which, I of course love! And it reminds me that I need to contact you about something. I will send an email. xo

  6. These poems do invite us to carry a piece of peace with us. So many ways we can connect–sharing our bounty, sitting at table together, being aware of the waters that connect us and sustain us.

  7. jama says:

    Love your thought-provoking, inspiring and deeply felt poems, Michelle. Wonderful how you wove several themes together in your acrostic. Much of the disruption, or upending of peace, has to do with intolerance. I’ve never understood why diversity and inclusion are rejected by so many.

  8. Laura Shovan says:

    Wishing you a happy, healthy new year, Michelle. Peace personified in the opening line welcomed me into your poem. And those apples — they look good enough to eat!

  9. Love your personification of peace. And now I’m humming By the waters of Babylon (in English and Hebrew–very different tunes.) L’shana tovah again.

  10. Oh, if everyone would “Carry a piece of Peace” in their pocket! Thanks for these heartening images in words and pictures, Michelle.

  11. katswhiskers says:

    Peace and kindness are so interwoven, aren’t they? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    I’m not an artist in any way, but I really love that parts of your apple tree are unfinished – it seems to make the apples even sweeter/juicier.

  12. Especially love your call to ALL of us: “Examine her virtues within your heart–share them vast and wide with your multi-diverse neighbors throughout our small world.” Beautiful, Michelle.

  13. I am always lifted by coming to your blog, Michelle, with the words and the art. Beautiful, noble thoughts here. Thank you!

  14. mbhmaine says:

    Your art is beautiful and the perfect accompaniment to your poem. The “in progress” part with its outlined leaves is a subtle reminder that peace is always a work in progress as well–something we can’t take for granted and must work toward, support, recognize, etc. Thank you for your peace-promoting poems.

  15. You and Buffy both went acrostic! But peace is so big that it’s hard to fit into just 5 lines, right? Your apple artwork arches so beautifully, so subtly, over the river of the year. Shana Tova, Michelle!

  16. amyludwigvanderwater says:

    “washing us in
    waves of

    So peaceful, these words. Thank you. Your words and your art are the essence of peace today. I wish it for you and for yours. Peace. x

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