A Voice is Heard in Ramah

A Mother's Poems

by Shoshana Razel Gordon Guedalia


This item will be released on December 31, 2018.

About this book

Includes poems previously published in Princeton’s Inventory Journal, The Wick, Charles River Review, Harvard Summer Review, Poetica Magazine, and the Worcester Review, which nominated “A Hike” for a Pushcart prize.

Shoshana Razel Gordon Guedalia is mother-of-five, poet, writer, lecturer, scholar, aspiring rabbi, activist. She holds a Masters degree in creative writing and literature from–and is a doctoral student in comparative theology and law at–Harvard University.


'Dust to Dawn'

Alone in his bethisthled desert bed,
Young Jacob writhed in fog of soul-fraught dust,
Till triumph over man or angel shed
A blushing dawn, some clarity of trust;

Yet struggle left him flawed, his leg inclined,
This branded dawn, his humble reckoning,
A sort, which grants no man truth crystalline,
But yields a life of honest grappling.

In solitude, I roil in my own dust.
I weigh excessive pride, humility.
I wonder what conviction I can trust,
And pray my doubts bespeak integrity.

My struggles; may they be like Jacob’s flaw
–his code of ethic writhing dust to dawn.



And his wife looked behind him, and became a pillar of salt.”
Genesis, 19; 26.


Of-Tears-Distilled am I. This is my name.
Not Wife-Of-Lot—behind whose back I gazed.
I’ll be no scapegoat—forced to bear the shame

Of censored retrospect, which struck me dazed.
If I had run sans care or rearward glance—
Ignored my world ablaze—would I be praised?

Were my heart stone, I may have looked askance
But briefly, through reflective mirror gaze.
Yet Abraham left naught to happenstance.

His thoughts of indignation—they were raised.
He tussled with the Lord on our behalf,
And when Sdom was destroyed, sunk in malaise.

But Lot, he scurried forward on his path—
An ox with blinders—deaf to human cries—
My girls—they follow Abba like a staff,

Their Imma, kith, and kin—mere past—demised.
You should have known me, youthful, ’fore the salt
Consumed me—leaving totem crystallized.

My heart was soft—eyes quick to tears—a fault?
I had not Lot’s conviction as we ran.
Can loss of kith and kin and home not halt

One’s hope of future morrows—will to plan?
Can fields we sow in tears be reaped with joy?
Can vibrant gardens come to bloom in sand?

Perhaps, if Lot had grasped my hand to buoy
Our spirits as we fled in tears—as one…
To men of stone, however, feelings cloy.

Thus, I was left in shock, and could not run.
For seeing dry-eyed Lot drained me of hope—
Before I even saw what God had done.

'Noah' by Rivka Miriam

Translated from the Hebrew by Shoshana Razel Gordon Guedalia

Noah fastened wheels to his ark
And dragged it behind him
Lest the flood return in a flash

The grapes, noting the fins on his temples
And the sparkling imbrication of scales peering through his cloak
Became raisins, extinguishing their juice
So as to calm him, in the face of their drowning moisture

Noah fastened wheels to his ark
And when children hung on to its bows for a ride
With love, Noah divvied amongst them
Brittle clods of Ararat

First published in Inventory