Poem | At One

The English word atonement sounds abstract
And kind of Latin, but really it’s just “at one.”
At-one-ment…. Religion bewilders me again.

At one with the blessëd Lord who blesses you.
Circle of blessing on the siddur’s left-hand page:
Blessëd is He who blesses us to bless

His blessing that we may bless the earth and the wine
In his blessëd name that made the blessëd All
That makes a blessëd circle, because it’s all One.

Imagine if somebody stood up in the shul
And started yelling like a Protestant,
“I’m guilty, I’m a sinner!” “Sit down,” we’d say,

“Nobody cares about your personal life—
We’re praying here! We’re trying to thank the Lord
By blessing Him blessing us. Don’t interrupt!”

Robert Pinsky, three-term Poet Laureate of the United States (1997-2000), is the founder of the Favorite Poem Project.

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