Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Where authors and readers come together!

I left a comment on a friend's blog last night ... Micki Peluso (author) on AuthorsDen

“isn't it strange and wonderful that birds play a role in your book as well as mine? i've always been drawn to avian metaphor. there is in the Torah the mitzvah of "shooing away the mother bird" the exact meaning of which has been the subject of endless speculation throughout the ages ... i don't know but for me there is nothing quite so wonderful as either the mother duck or goose leading her sturdy band of ducklings and/or goslings in an "unwaddlingly" straight line across the road.

i recall a particularly memorable exhibit at the chicago museum of science and industry and quite the favorite for many generations of kids-both the child-kid and the adult-kid ... that of the eggs under the heating lamp left to their own devices and with plenty of advisory notice that the egg shells not be touched or their battle weary occupants given any assistance whatsoever ... that before long the indefatigably worn-out but victorious chick emerges from the shell, obviously worn out, more than a tad shaken up but as cute as can be.

this i've always known was one of His (look up ...!) ways to cause folk to cry over something quite wondrous, profoundly complex yet simple enough to mesmerize the most callous ...”

And it occurred to me, while typing, that I really do have a penchant, a fascination for birds but with one very important proviso … that they be depicted peaceably and beautifully, for which reason I’ve realized for the first time why I have never liked hitchcock’s The Birds, but I’ve always loved The Birdman of Alcatraz-not that it is solely about birds, but that they are depicted so well and lovingly. Unlike “The Birds” … "Birdman" depicts them as servants and friends of mankind rather than as his tormenters.

What is it about the Torah injunction that commands us to “shoo away the mother bird” before we take her eggs-lest we forget-that she had been dutifully attending them? Why have I embraced this image, found it appealing? Or that of the mother duck waddling at the head of her flock as it files along ever attentive to keep up with its leader?

We borrow the metaphor of the nest from our avian friends to warm the image of our homes and the nestegg to symbolize our saved up monies that we’ll enjoy only when our future becomes our present.

We are quite taken with the bird, aren’t we? She is a nurturer of her young, both in and out of the egg, but considering all that attaches us to the bird none is more important than “flight” to which mankind has always aspired
Because he does not and cannot fly, man has made all sorts of wondrous machines-but no matter how scientifically and technologically advanced-they are all based on the engineering and aerodynamic qualities that He created with which to distinguish the bird, be it a thrush or an eagle, from all other creatures.

Need I remind you ... so many of our "superheros" flew: Superman, Mighty Mouse, Batman, Underdog.

And from the ridiculous to the sublime ... do we not await the chirpings of the birds as a wakeup call that Spring has sprung?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

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She and You

I’ve explained so much it seems,
enough for us both.
I regret, apologize, admit, confess …
a myriad of failings.
Why haven’t you?

You know what they are ….
I won’t repeat them here.
The burden of guilt I have assumed …
Why won’t you share?

I wonder if each morning …
do you see the person looking at you
who hurt me … do you?
Or do you deny any recognition and …
just go on with your life?

What hurts most of all …
is that you were never here
even after you returned.
The illusion of someone I had known,
but it was not you, as it happened,
though the outer resemblance was striking.

She didn’t love me as you had …
Her distance was farther away
than ever you had been near ….
when I could touch you.

She never smiled …
as you had so often, sheepishly.
When I opened the door Friday night,
I saw you there awaiting me on that couch
That you so disliked.
The table set, candles aglow
Your long braid and flowing skirts …
How much I do miss them … and

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

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"Looking at You ..."

I look at you quietly thinking,
words so many dare I speak.
Return my stare, hear you wondering
hints of solitude do I seek?

None I say but truth be told,
through too few years of feelings forlorn.
Fears are mine I’ve become too old,
soon I fear see your stareful scorn.

Beseeching you in words unspoken
through moments of closeness when none more
leave me lonely yet desirous
whether we'll be again as time before …

It’s not my fault when life changes,
hard to say and for you to hear.
My body shakes as does my speech,
what hope is there for us this year?

I think back in hours abandon,
gaity, laughter together we spent
Our posture now is so different,
my new life has become as I resent.

How we were is no longer
passionate kisses, our bodies aflutter,
holding you then as mine alone,
leaves many questions slow to utter.

Alan D. Busch

March 2008

Sunday, March 16, 2008

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A bereaved father discusses several life questions with his late son ...

Letter to Ben (with an addition to the original "Letter to Ben" written Thursday night and early Friday morning just a few days before Erev Rosh Ha Shana 5766) ... from the day of this posting about two and a half years ago.

We say so many different things to each other just before and during the Yomin Noraim, the Jewish high holidays: A Gut Yontif, A Gut Yor, Chag Sameach, Shana Tova, and for those of us inclined to use our native tongue rather than the mama loschen, Yiddish, or the lashon kodesh, Hebrew, we say: May the New Year Be Sweet or as I so often say: "May you have a happy and healthy New Year!" And you know what? Regardless of whichever greeting or bracha (blessing) we choose, the common feature that links them all together is they all can be effectively answered by responding "Amen!"

Such a wonderful word this "amen"! It's short, clean and efficient and, in effect, says: "Yes! I subscribe to everything you have said!"Beyond this, we pray that each of us will be inscribed in the "Sefer Ha Chaim"-the Book of Life-for the coming year-that we may be worthy enough to enjoy the mazel, brocho and chatzlacha, luck, blessing and success that the New Year affords!

As a boy, I remember often hearing that without good health, all the riches in the world ... well, you know the rest! So I have begun to wonder: well, what about those who will fall ill in the coming year or who, in earlier years, fell ill, and furthermore what about those- about whose fate we learn, mourn and grieve later-whose names were not inscribed ... no less sealed in the Sefer Ha Chaim? What about them?

We are all "basar v' dam"-flesh and blood-mortal beings for whom death-however untimely and premature as it does so often seem-is as integral to life as is birth itself; dialectical opposites each requiring the other lest what we euphemistically call "nature" gives way to chaos.

None of this however soothes the bereaved parent! That much I know very well. As a matter of fact, I have often found myself examining my own deeds-both present and past-in an attempt to uncover what may be a possible linkage between the absolute calamity of losing Ben and my own considerable failings and flaws. Then I "awaken" because I know in my heart that He does not rule over the universe in such a fashion that a child is sacrificed for the misdeeds of a parent! What a relief having realized that! For as immeasureably much as I miss Ben, I can quite honestly place the blame on no one and most assuredly not on God Himself or ... for that matter the driver of the truck whose failure to signal a right turn led to ...

I even know his name and where he lives ...

but for the sake of Ben whose life I love(d), may I merit the strength to live life free from bitterness, anger and cynicism, and may you Ben dwell on high enough to look down upon the clouds ... on the almost eve of the New Year, 5766 I send you the following few reflections:

Dear Ben,

It's now approaching five years ago that you left us son. That one Wednesday morning, the day before Thanksgiving, November 22, 2000, our last morning together, those few minutes that we spent chatting while I drove you to the train ... how grateful I am that the experience of that brief moment is mine, that its memory remains as vivid today as if it were that day all over again.

Life without you has been and continues to be difficult; there isn't a day when I don't think of you while pondering the many "what might have beens" though there are many moments when I smile recalling how close you and I were! Sure we had our many differences and struggles, but what father and son don't? Though it may be true for a very few that time heals all wounds, I don't think the healing is ever complete and certainly not without scarring.

We've all had to get on with our lives while what happened that day has left you behind; we grow older while you remain forever as young as the day you were taken from us.Over these several years, I have spoken to many parents who have lost a child, and I've learned that each copes in his own way; I don't know how your mom has managed, but I imagine that she too has in her own way-not unlike your sister and brother and all who love you.

Finding the right words to say to you Ben expresses my hope that they'll not only have particular meaning for you but a more universal message for others who might read your story. First off ... know that I loved you and will always love you unconditionally-despite all that of which I so adamantly disapproved ... all of that takes its place within the context of our lives at that time.

As the older of my two sons and the eldest of my three children-while watching your sister and brother take their places in the world-the anguish I feel becomes even greater as I see the grownup sons of other men. We were all deprived of you Ben; it is just somehow so unfair! Soon ... not so many years from now, your younger brother will be older than you; your sister already is though you will forever remain their big brother!

I recall one night when you, your sister, brother and I were together; it might even have been a Shabbat or yom tov-maybe one of our Passover seders together-when the three of you were about to leave on your way back to mom's house, I kissed you on your cheek and felt the stubble of your whiskers on my lips.

Funny what each of us remembers.

*Shabbat ... the Sabbath**yom tov ... holiday; literally, a good day***seder ... meal served on first two nights of Passover; literally: order

Friday, March 14, 2008

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Torah Thoughts In Flight

But for Thee we devotedly wait,
our work unfinished remain.
Put aside all, let worriment be,
No more left this week to gain.

Hasten thy effort lest sunset precede,
our labors have now to cease.
Welcome the Shekinah, Her presence arrive …
Immerse thyself in Sabbath peace.

A day of respite, tending the soul,
set upon tablecloth both bread and wine.
Sanctify this moment He creation made …
closer to Thee my soul doth pine.

Soar high o’er clouds ever above
as if on wings of eagle’s flight.
His people beloved, a nation of priests
Illumines the world with its light.

We are bidden to be as if a dove
to the ark it did return.
For mankind a rainbow He painted
a promise made He would not spurn.

Alan D. Busch

March 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Where authors and readers come together!

Dear Readers,

Click on the above link that will take you to my authors den homepage. If you are really ambitious, join the site as a "reader" if you like which will enable you to post reviews of the writer's work.

Please click on the Doing icon that'll take you to my other blog called Poetry, Dialogue, Composition. If you like leave a comment.

The second printing of Snapshots In Memory of Ben is now underway. I added an epilogue that I feel brings the story to a better closure. Closure is necessary, like a correctly sized wedding ring ... it just fits better.

Alan D. Busch

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Where authors and readers come together!

Dear Readers , click on to read a smattering of the writings of Alan D. Busch: poetry, prose, articles, stories, announcements.

Forthcoming in about two weeks is the second printing with minor revisions and a new epilogue of Snapshots In Memory of Ben. A rough draft of the epilogue is posted at under the category of "My Stories." Go ahead! Take a peak!

Please visit to reserve your copy of the second printing or surf any of the on-line book stores ...

I dedicate all my work to Ben, Z'L.

Alan D. Busch

Thursday, March 06, 2008

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Free Form Thoughts ...

When reflection looks back upon memory,
I see you quietly thinking.
Gone now you have been for ...
well, I've lost count.

You know how it is ... important thoughts occur to us
when we least expect them,
such as happened last night ...

"I'm learning to live without you ..."

and I realize I've been here before.
It shouldn't be so difficult, right?
And on some days, it's not, but
there are moments when it is and
I regret my many mistakes.

I don't know why I stopped singing Eliyahu Ha Navi to you ...
I only know I wish I hadn't.
Words of regret ... there are just so many of them.
Dare I say any more?

In the way of things, complacency precedes regret,
and it is precisely when that has occurred
that one realizes how irreversible is the irreparable.

Alan D. Busch
March 6, 2008

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Where authors and readers come together! Dear Readers, please read the following in conjunction with the large photo of Ben and me above that shows the Atlantic Ocean behind us.

I have been thinking about this for quite a while now because there is so much more I wish to say about Ben, that I know I've yet to recall. All parents do, I suppose, have their enduring "moments in mind", those remarkably preserved "snapshots" of earlier, different and less troubled times-during which when much younger-we used to-as Ben's mom liked to say-make memories together.

I chose this photograph of Ben and me-one of my favorites-which shows us some twenty-one years ago when my younger brother Michael, Ben-then six years old, Kimmy, their mom and I journeyed on our first family vacation together to Florida. What a wonderful family time it was! A fragment of that memory baffles me though to this very day; something that I did with and especially for Ben-just he and I, but before I relate any more of the story-I should really point out that this happened at a time in my life when I was almost entirely Jewishly unobservant; in other words, I was just pretty much the sort of Jew that I had been raised to be; a sparse sunday school Jewish education, Shabbat? Oh, you mean Saturday morning cartoons! Just one Passover seder-not two and always at the home of my Aunt Iris, Olav ha Shalom, presents at Hanukkah, Rosh Hashanah and the big meal together at the end of Yom Kippur though I do not recall anyone ever fasting in my family. Then again I was just a little kid so they may have without my knowing it.

We spent-I think it was-one or two days in Jacksonville, Florida which was very special for me because I had never before seen the ocean about which I was very excited. Even more special would be that I planned to behold it for the first time with Ben in my arms. We all had arisen early that morning and hurried out to the beach. Just ahead lay our special moment together! Though not entirely certain of this, I think Ben and I raced ahead of the group down to the water's edge ... whereupon he leapt into my arms, and the following words that I had previously learned and committed to memory (though I think I did have a cheat sheet!) I recited to Ben as we gazed upon the Atlantic Ocean:

"Baruch ata HaShem, Elokeinu Melech ha Olam, sheasa et ha yam ha gadol"- Blessed are you, our God, King of the universe, who made the great sea."

Alan Busch

Where authors and readers come together! Dear Readers, please visit me at the above website. Below I present one of my favorite poems. Wouldst I had penned it ...

I do not know who first penned this wonderfully poignant, prayerful poem which I have typed in italics, followed by a short personal commentary; its verses are few but powerful in their wisdom. This is one of those good things you've heard about; you know ... the ones that come in small packages or, if you like, a virtual blueprint of parenting-especially for younger parents just starting out.

I've always loved it and have carried it in my head and heart for nearly thirty years though I often wonder how well or badly I measured up during my own early parenting years ...

"Oh give me patience when tiny hands

Take a really close look at your young children's hands ...are they not amazingly tiny and beautiful? Everyone I hope has either experienced or seen a baby grasp with its whole hand but one grownup finger! My favorite fingers belong to my daughter Kimmy; they are beautifully long and slender, and I've loved them ever since I first beheld them upon her caming into this world! I kid you not ... that her fingers were what first caught my eye.

tug at me with their small demands,

I recall Ben trying to redirect that forkful of dinner away from mine and into his own mouth, seated as he was upon my knee and apparently under the erroneous impression that I was to feed him only!

and give me gentle and smiling eyes,

May your eyes mirror the heartfelt joy of your child's achievement; in other words, let your eyes always see and be seen as they were when you witnessed that first baby step! May they always "remember" that moment!

keep my lips from sharp replies.

Teach by example of speech ... moderation, patience of tone and content. Guard thy tongue for once having spoken ... well, the efficacy of "retraction" is entirely fictitious.

and let not confusion, fatigue or noise

Child rearing can be and is often raucous, enervating and frustrating at times ... step back!

obscure my vision of life's fleeting joys ...

Don't ever pass up an opportunity to smell a flower with a child or watch a butterfly flutter about!

so when years later my house is still,

You know they'll fly from the nest one day! While there, keep it cozy, warm and welcoming!

no bitter memories its room may fill.

May our parenting mistakes be few and minor in nature so that our children will return to the
nest with their fledglings in tow! If you make it this far, commence

*Kvelling ... when your heart pounds with pride and joy upon witnessing your child's accomplishments.

Alan Busch

Monday, March 03, 2008

Dear Readers,

I am pleased to announce that my original piece of poetry "Shacharis Musings" will be published in coming weeks by Poetica Magazine, Poetica Magazine, Reflections of Jewish Thought "A fierce light beats upon the Jew." C. G. Montefiore

“Shacharis Musings"

As morning light little shines
in still wee hours before dawn’s rise
speak to Him before day begins
through visions of angels’ eyes.

Praises of kindness and words proclaim
majestically soar o’er ocean sand
the majesty of Creator’s fame
know whom before dost thou stand.

Close thine eyes to worrisome day...
With shroud enwrapped o'er thee
bound both arm and head adorned
closer to Him a moloch be.

Ancient hopes on pages worn
in prayers long seen through tears,
awaken molochim early morn
to pray for length of years.

Examine each day ere too late,
In prayerful haste lest thou proceed
Secure a place at Heaven’s gate
Prey not upon man dost heed.

Alan D. Busch