Swept by Vision

This is a poem that I wrote in honor of my daughter Lexi’s Bat Mitsvah. Many who heard me recite it at the Bat Mitsvah wanted me to make it available. Here it is. 


August 31, 2011


Wrapped in blankets,

And swept by vision,

Her eyes on fire with dramas unseen,

She told a tale,

Like ancient bards and mystics.

She breathed in her words,

And her eyes spoke of places

Far away and never conjured before,

Her massive shock of little curls

Dramatizing the contours of her serious face.

She was four.

She was in the middle of telling a story

To me in her bunk bed,

At darkened bed-time.

Without warning she jumped to the end of the bed,

Curled up in a ball.

There was a rainbow,

And it was in the room.


Years later I saw a thick rainbow,

In Arlington,

Stretching audaciously across the entire Virginia skyline,

After a brutal thunderstorm.

I walked in the rain staring,

It filled me with wonder and hope

That this rainbow would somehow change

The degenerative politics of the nation,

Embedded in the Washington skyline.

And I blessed it with the blessing of our tradition,

And hoped that the Flood of water,

globally warmed water,

would never again

Overtake the earth.

My heart raced at the sight.


But for Lexi her rainbow was far more real and true,

For she had created it,

Down to its every color,

And that was so new and terrifying

At four.


The power of vision.


A few years later

A windstorm

Beckoned her spirit,

She ran outside,

Beneath our trees,

The clouds churning madly,

the wind whistling,

The loosened leaves swinging like dervishes.

And there she was,

Her face directly to the wind,

her eyes squinting and gleaming all at once,

Her curls wafting wildly in the breeze,

Her hands slightly outstretched to either side,

Palms open, of course.

Her back was as erect as it could be,

As if she were about to graduate at a college ceremony,

As if she were about to receive an award,

The moment just before the Dean of students shakes her hand.

But it was the wind that shook her hand,

It was God that shook her hand,

And she was glad.


And I, spying on her private moment

From the kitchen window,

Heart raced,

Eyes water-filled,

As proud as I have ever been,

Because I knew

That she and the earth

Were one,

And the rest of life would be,



When a human being conjures rainbows in her bedroom

And receives wind as a reward of highest honor,

The gifts to the world then flow,

Arduously and mysteriously,

But they flow,

One year after another,

And the Divine Spirit,

Within and beyond,

is nourished,

and the Spirit survives the cold insensitivities

of human unconsciousness.


Bouncing balloons and balls,

Flying off heads and noses,

Bring on her hysterical laughter,

A belly laugh,

And a smile that lights up

All of God’s worlds.

I watched her hysteria in wonder,


And then I saw it one day.

Electrons dance like silly balloons.

In every atom in our bodies,

In all of this world,

And billions of other worlds,

They Laugh and dance,

So wildly that no scientist

Will ever see the electron,

But only probably,

And with uncertainty,

Will they see it,

Because the electron is too busy dancing and laughing.


The bouncing balloon

is the flower of our universe,

and so how could you not laugh?


Dance and laugh, Lexi,

Defy, defy, defy,

Un-captured and exuberant,

Capture the wind.

Sing its song,

And embrace us,

Flailing humanity,

In your passion for existence.


For we need your rainbows,

And your winds,

And your dancing electrons,

To set us free,

With the love of life,

That fills,

your mysterious

and boundless


© Marc Gopin