- Saving It
—For Chana Bloch, with gratitude for her love and her intelligence
Some think the world can be saved by lovesome think it can be saved by intelligenceIt is the old quarrel of the heart and the head
each of which would be deadwithout its rival and althoughI am of those who believe it cannot be saved
too many people greedy too many in the kind of painthat perpetuates itself for generationswho cannot save themselves from the depths
of pain or from chasing oblivionlong enough to do the world any goodsome say that is what bodhisattvas are for
but the Jewish sages sayregarding tikkun olam, healing the world,It is not incumbent on you to finish the taskneither are you free to give it up [End Page 69]
Alicia Ostriker has published sixteen volumes of poetry, most recently The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014) and Waiting for the Light (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017), which received the 2017 National Jewish Book Award for Poetry. As a critic, Ostriker is the author of several books on poetry and on the Bible, including The Nakedness of the Fathers: Biblical Visions and Revisions (Rutgers University Press, 1994), a combination of midrash and autobiography, and For the Love of God: The Bible as an Open Book (Rutgers University Press, 2007), a set of essays. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and lives in New York City.