Mourner’s Kaddish

By Heather McHugh

Let’s make it
bigger and more awesome,
god’s big name in the world,
the world he made as only
lonely gods would do. (And may he make
a better one, by god, before he’s through.)

May his big name go out beyond
all space and time, the way a heart goes out.
Be “hallowed and honored, extolled and exalted,
adored and acclaimed”to use the big old words

(though human hymns can’t fathom him, nor get
an inkling of his eye). May he make peace

despite our spite, and may our heavy spirits fly.
May he who writes the music soon arrange
to make the meaning clearif not today

then (let us pray)

before the last musicians die.


Heather McHugh, “Mourner’s Kaddish” from Upgraded to SeriousCopyright © 2009 by Heather McHugh. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press. See coppercanyonpress.org.