Venery: a Prayer

              Tree of Life Synagogue, Squirrel Hill–10/27/18

Image of bird bending down its neck in tapestry

Image of bird in 16th century tapestry courtesy of Ωméga/Flickr


A convocation of eagles
A business of flies
A clattering of jackdaws
A parliament of owls
A congregation of plovers


A scurry of squirrels
A destruction of cats
A leash of foxes
An ambush of tigers
A murder of Jews


An army of ants
A nest of vipers
A bellowing of bullfinches
A scold of jays
A deceit of lapwings
A pitying of turtledoves


Joyce Jew
Richard Jew
Rose Jew
Jerry Jew
Cecil Jew
David Jew
Bernice Jew
Sylvan Jew
Daniel Jew
Melvin Jew
Irving Jew


A shepherd of gays
An inflammation of immigrants
A molestation of Catholics
A bullet of black boys
An anguish of mothers
A coward of congressmen
A plague of Martyrs
A martyr of angels


Richard Michelson received the 2017 National Jewish Book Award for Children’s Literature, and the 2018 Sydney Taylor Gold Medal from the Association of Jewish Librarians. He received a 2016 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship for the poems in his most recent poetry collection More Money Than God (University of Pittsburg Press), which was also a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize. Michelson served two terms as Poet Laureate of Northampton, MA where he hosts Northampton Poetry Radio.

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