I remember when, so many years ago,
Friday nights were special
Just because my Mother lit the candles
Waved her hands and mumbled
The prayer to welcome shabbas.
Those were the days when religion
Was no stranger to me,
And I could join with others of my faith
To spend a morning in the shul,
Though I never learnt to doven.
My post-Barmitzvah years
Were largely spent in teenage revolt
Against the dogma of the faith,
And the hours spent sitting in the synagogue
Bring memories I’d rather soon forget.
The blue stained copy of the siddur,
Eagerly passed from hand to hand,
Each supplicant licked a grimy finger
And scanned through pages at a pace,
Until he found the place and could begin to pray.
I always kept my copy open
The page was always happenstance
Unless a kindly worshipper, by chance,
Should lean across and show me where we were,
Embarrassed I would flick my tallit and pretend to pray.
‘Please God (do you exist?) forgive me these transgressions,
I do not understand why this is so important. Ormain.’