A dedicated haiku:
To everyone who
Encouraged me to follow
My passions and dreams
Stones, Seas,
and Memories
Yoni Schwartzman
(every photograph in this book
was taken by the author)
Copyright © 2018 by Yoni Art Company
Hope Against Hope
Energy erupting
Flowing, emerging
From a secret store to
yell your roar for war
Courage inspiring
Guiding, exploding
A coup d'état lava
Carving the way
In a fiery blaze
Magma eruptions leave
Innocents departed
Yet fear is lifted
Through a war
It started
Dangerous to quell
Destructive forces,
Make no mistake:
Still they swell
Dim it, then watch it
Return brighter
Kill it, then watch it
Return stronger
Let history be
a guide to see
That humanity
always defied
Rulers, kings
Monarchies fallen
Romanoffs and
turned to
Beware suppressing
Liberty’s canon
For the caged
Bird fights,
Beak and
“For the caged bird
sings of freedom,”
When caged bird
Cries she sings
My anthem
When caged bird sings
She sings of freedom
To Defeat Deviations
Naught but help dealt
Can stop our evocations
Naught but love felt
Can reform our foundations
My lips are tightly curled
They yearn to utter creations,
My lips are deftly heard
They speak nothing but variations
For their words are coarse
Their tone runs thin
Like words of importance
Yelled over the din
And through it all
The games, the imitations
Forgetfulness and deviations,
I may still be able
To defeat my provocations
So many questions labor me:
Where should I go? Who should I be?
So many swirling all around
edict-ed by society
Why cant I just be who I am?
Why is the world so cruel?
How can I find the path to take
without wisdom as my tool?
Scarring, terrible memories burn
deeply into my mind,
theyve warped it into something else
that what was once divine
Who would I be if society
had not infected me?
How great Id stand above my flaws
stronger than fears devilry
If only I could separate
my true self from my conscious mind.
When, at last, I find myself
who knows what I will find?
Stand up and
raise your eyes to
cities and lies
To shinning seas
across the expanse
curling in the distance
Why cant we friends
ride tandem bikes?
Bring two-man tents
on future hikes?
But we do
drive in carpools
schmooze in cafes
and share in our troubles
They may not seem
like miraculous occurrences
but we do get along
despite our differences
It might not be
with every human being
but there are 7 billion of us
so many you havent seen
And every moment
When you feel
You blame yourself
While your loves are
Stand up!
Look around you today
Your people, your team
Was never far away
Look out
On the cities
That you thought
Were lies
But despite strife
Under these shared skies
We share our life
For the rest of our lives
Its never
But together
Its worth it
A Better Tomorrow
Why can’t we
stop the rain of hatred
that lands as rockets
on the face of Israel?
Why can’t the world
be free of all the differences
that we say are true
but are really illusions?
Every nation on Earth
is a part of one race
started from one birth
Racism is insanity
mankind’s greatest vanity
inflating all our egos
destroying all of humanity
Making us think
that we’re better
when in reality
we’re all the same
Let’s finally knock down
the Berlin Wall
for real this time,
So the Western Wall won’t fall
into ruin
Together be free
of the faults you see
and love everyone
for the person they can be
not for the person they’ve become
Live with every life
beat with every heart,
sing with every voice
so that world peace can start
Find a connection, show true affection
even if that person isn’t a reflection
of your beliefs
Understand every view
Put yourself in every shoe,
love every face
Bring peace to the human race
Bring peace on Earth.
Love Lost
In grey Valley of Death
Walked his brothers with their last breath
Mocked by the grace of violins
Played by their brothers in shallow skins
The horror of the Germans sin
Demeaned the meaning of violin
Now reminding Opah of what had been
Destroying his passion from within
In Frankfurt he reached high for the bow
In the States his hand fell low
Never Again did it play a melody
His violin died with his family
Blinded to Death
A clear tear drops off a high cliff
poured forth from a man at his lowest point.
It fell past all the man accomplished;
Every plateau he reached,
every obstacle he overcame.
Past the sunset, whose last rays set the tear ablaze
with a flash of orange flame,
until it finally hit the ocean’s traitorous waters.
The man collapsed onto his knees despite all he achieved,
crushed by the mountain that loomed before him.
In desperation he screamed
“Why did I ever start climbing
when all along this Everest was here to stop me?”
If only he looked down and saw all that he conquered
which was impossible before he willed himself to try,
such easy hills to him now
that were once frightful mountains.
If only the man looked backed to see how strong he truly was
instead of being ensnared by the menace ahead,
defeated by fear.
Alas, the fear
sent him following his tear
and so he fell into the ocean
into the greedy hands of Death.
So many keys
To unknown doors
Keeping secrets
Hiding yours
Those that you store
In unfound places
Where secrets fester
In many cases
So many keys
‘round my keyring
Each so different
As one, they swing
All keys on a keyring, remained
Kept my secrets closed, contained
But can our deepest
Darkest truths
Lay hidden long
From the world’s sleuths?
How come by thee
These secrets of mine?
How come you nigh
To hidden shrine?
I stored my secrets
Under mountains
Beneath rocks
Guised as fountains
But you knew all along
Read between lines
Of my life’s song
I thought I stopped
My secret’s reigns
‘Twas I all along
That suffered their chains
Each key shackles my limbs
Every secret thwarts my whims
Every weight holds a knife to my heart
Wood Lives On
Sunlight dims and colors darken
Trees shake limbs and proud elk hearken
Meandrous creek whispers on
Oblivious to diving swan
Fireflies flash faint flashes
Huntsman’s fires turn to ashes
Rabbits huddle in dug dens
Nests are warmed by mother wrens
Silver studs speckle black skies
wolf choirs meet them with long cries
Flowers close when owls soar
Moles’ noses sniff when foxes snore
Would sun go down if it knew that
When moon rises so does shy bat
Wood lives on when it is gone
To next day’s light the wood lives on
Gold At The Equinox
Springing, rustling Saplings sprout
Their leaves and buds at seasons out
Birds roost in ancestral nests
When winter rests
In Jerusalem
Swerving, chirping Swallows wheel
Crowning a city where many kneel
Blossoms open sleepy eyes
When Springtime arrives
In Jerusalem
Growing, brightening Flowers grow
From clay pots in every window
Droves of faces pass them by
When Swallows fly
In Jerusalem
A Laughing, dancing People sings
With tambourines and fervent strings
And at sunset all turns to gold
When petals unfold
In Jerusalem
Creaking, turning, high Cranes raise
A city taller than in all her days
A blue star shines on every dome
When we come home
To Jerusalem
Long Night
Orange fluorescents
fade into the distance
Sucking my essence
diffusing, like my resistance
My tears, they flow sideways
this sadness isn’t truly sorrow
My head falls, limp
at thought of tomorrow
It’s when I feel that winter
has me entrapped
That I want
to sleep at last
In dreamland where
I can fight the monsters
In sleeping where
I have the answers
But I always wake up
and I always forget
the wisdom
I knew
Har Nevo
You just don’t see
the land as I do,
You lost sight of the truth
your hate blinded you
Rain falls year-round
in your country,
Rockets fall year-round
in my home
You look to diplomacy
in your country,
They trade it for terror
in my home
If only If only
you could see
from Mount Nevo,
See the land
for what it is
instead of what
you think you know
How dare you
demean yourself
by believing
what ‘they’ say
instead of seeing
the truth
for yourself
But no
You won’t
You don’t
want to
Why would you
How could you
sacrifice your
Is it that
are wrong
And you see the unseen?
Must it be
Black or white
Not a shade in between?
Rise above
the misguided, the rumors,
See beyond
your emotional tumors
It takes time to climb
Mount Nevo,
To unravel lies
You think you know
But tell me what you see
when you reach the plateau
Once you see the full picture
will you still call me foe?
Walk in the Park
Passing me by
is a black man
with half moon
yellowed teeth gripping
a wooden pipe
smoking while he jogs
to keep up his health.
To my left sits a boy and girl
turned away from each other
facing their screens;
together sharing in their loneliness,
for despite the friends their phones say they have
they are
A religious man
wearing a disheveled shirt
and open tie
pushes a stroller
at mid-day,
because he never got too busy making
a living
that he forgot to make
a life.
Nothing revitalizes quite like it
With strength as a cold winter stream
To invigorate the human spirit
Ferocity that swells inside
For sake of good it rises
Tears dry that you cried
Unburdening swollen eyelids
Call it genetics, I call it love:
We love who we live for
And we know what we’ll die for
For you I love endlessly
Your strengthening ferocity
Inspires me to stand and be
My greatest self, my highest me
Of course, my faith lies
With humanity
And by extension
In divinity
But to you,
To Hope I say this
That without your flame
Mine would be extinguished
Voices Rising
Voices rising higher
Violin’s notes strumming faster
Drum beats echo deeply across valleys
From Times Square players to bygone alleys
Come all from near and far
Dawn your tuba, strum a guitar
Raise that baton to marching band
Wheel in your pianos, from baby to grand
Gold horns blowing
Soft silver flutes whistling
Send bongo drums tropically booming
With all our voices rising to worlds uniting
Spring Showers
Listening to rain fall in my bed
holding me hostage in my room
‘Til patters stop above my head
noon sun frees me from my tomb
Gigantic ball of bright
where gray clouds split
Stunning my eyesight
while showers flit
Suddenly a
sparkling drop flashes
rainbow flames
glittering splashes
Causing every leaf and grass to glow;
every glass bead’s light to grow
to twinkle as a brilliant
Galaxy of stars
I see hundreds of birds in unity
Fly in the distance gracefully
Swooping and dancing
Looping, entrancing
But always going
In circles
Three birds break away
From an endless, mindless ballet
Wise enough to know their delusions
Strong enough to see past their confusions
I want to be the bird
Who leaves the fray
To explore paths
That may lead
Me astray
Not bird that flies
as society commands
Who is willful and wise
One who understands
Our maze to freedom
Our ways to fly free
Fog deepens
from gray to black
You can’t go forward
You can’t go back
Trapped! You’re trapped!
in the webs of temptation
In the prisons of anger
Condemned to damnation
“A strong spirit?”
He mocks,
“Could a strong spirit
fall so easily?”
A whisper
an invader
In the sinews
of death
A knight
a spark
A light
in the dark
To choose
Is to tall
To choose
Is to fall
The choice
is the power
The will
is the weapon
Like all weapons
It can be used
For good
But beware
The snare
The cage
Of rage
To break free
From the iron chains
You must learn
To love
Run Down Memory Lane
Galloping down Bennet Avenue
Runs Amitai and Akiva too
In the footsteps of history
Where once walked our family
Greeted by Statue of Liberty
Peter Swersky arrives with his family
On crowded ship came Levys too
To freely live life as a Jew
Sabba with his parents on escapades
On hot summer days to the Palisades
While old radio plays waltz melody
Danced to by Opah and Esti
A young man from Manitoba
Is sent here to learn in Yeshiva,
A Madrich falls in love at Bnei-Akiva
For a chanicha* from Fulda
A girl looks up at a great bridge
That spans two states from ridge to ridge
Believes her dad designed it all
For its blueprint hangs on the wall
Ommas grandsons carry her finally
On her very last journey
Down Bennet on Saturday night
Carrying her by street lamps light
And now Akiva waddles down that street
With Amitai galloping at his feet
Away from the Heights, like their family;
No one ever stays in New York City
*chanicha=feminine Hebrew word for camper
Season’s Arrival
Sweet scented air
passed along
through bare tree limbs
Soft breeze
dances shriveled leaves
that unhinged and fell
in stormy winds
They fell from heights
down in great flights,
Spinning to the ground
landing without sound.
Darkened skies hasten the arrival
of a longer pitch-black night
and shorter daylight
Fall brings out nature’s beauty
mingled with great fright,
The sweet autumn fails
at early coming of night.
Fall Song
Wind dancing
boughs of trees
of waves
made by red leaves
Maples keys spin
down from great height
acorns stored away
for winters long night
Fresh-clear scent
wafts through the grass
azure streaks over
as Blue Jays pass
Yet underneath
the plants roots freeze
and silent now
are the dormant bees
Few flowers still
have yet to fail
to reopen
their petals, pail
Lightning bugs
no longer lit
crunchy brown leaves
on the floor sit
Falls beauty
lies amidst two realms
Between summers grace
and winters snow whelms
Lifetimes Work
The student who seeks perfection
Has only to grapple with himself,
If he’s without impatience and aggression
He shall discover tranquilities’ wealth.
Seek perfection without blame
Falsely given to friends,
See the flaws in yourself
And view life from a new lens.
Impatience is a trick
Of the mind
Making us sick
So we can’t find
The tranquility
Of a calmed heart
Slowed and rhythmic
In tune with the world.
is the key to
When your goals and your actions collide
every day will have meaning, regardless
of the chaos spinning all around us.
Strongest Will
A strong will
penetrates every thought,
has the strength to control
everything it was taught.
A strong will
can be faced with
overwhelming hatred
not to let it
override its humanity.
A strong will
anger as a poison,
if we understand those we hate
for the people they are,
we can remedy the wounds of anger
that festers with fear.
In hearts, in minds
In arrows long
Aimed to the East
Let fly your song
Raise your freedom
Your cries abate
From inner peace
A world create
Rustling leaves
In gentle breeze,
Roots expand
In barren wasteland
Soldiers of Judah
Swords unsheathed
Shields under dunes
Beneath sands deeped
Veins of gold
Hidden in peoples
Disguised as Jews
In polish shteebles
Become mastery
Of destiny
Fulfil the dreams
Of so many
Wave the flag
With all as one
Build your home
Under the sun
Beneath the trees
the fields, the moors
Lay undying truths
Disguised as lores
Of kings of men
Who showed the world
What we can be
In unity
Unlocked, unmasked
O’ king don’t hide
Healed, revealed
King I see inside
Walking through the desert haze
journeying for forty days
He passed the remnants of their camps
sand dunes infinitely in his gaze
‘Til last he came to the mountain
ringed with ash from what happened
The bare ground, cracked from the heat
scarred by three million people’s feet
He climbed the way that Moses climbed
up Har Chorev that none can find
And reached a cave where a bush grows
he removes his sandals from his toes
And looking out to barren lands
he raised his care-worn dirtied hands
To Hashem from the depths he cried
‘Til he fell to his knees on that mountainside
Flames spit from fissures in the ground
the earth trembles all around
Thunder cracks and lightning clashes
the wind howls the mountain crashes
Then a still voice
breathes hushed words
upon a breeze
"Why are you here?"
everyone has a different answer
Mindful Maxims
The subconscious mind lies beneath memories;
Experiences that control how we act.
Our actions define our futures,
We can only look forwards not back.
Virtuous love all that they have,
Satisfied without desire to further find.
The soul is man’s immortality,
Enduring without death or time.
Memories don’t define what’s inside:
The divinity within all mankind.
See the connection in all,
Realize our hearts beat as one.
Acceptance drives in inner peace,
Transcendence delivers wisdom.
Reach the height of potential
And leave this world complete.
A Song of Your Reflection
Revival of the Lion’s Heart
An old man guides a small boy
into a white courtyard
as an army files in through the gates
to stand guard
Outside they hear a women scream
as her army rushes to the scene
to snuff out the last burning flame
to stop the king being ordained
The guards lower their spears, facing away
from prince and priest amidst the fray
An ousted queen leads soldiers clad in green
Atalyah, enraged, comes with her regime
The circle of spears can’t be broken
like the line of David, the king is chosen
anointed here for all to see
by Yehoyadya and his assembly
Where once a small boy knelt before
King Yoash rises to his army’s roar
as green clad soldiers bend the knee
and the king’s grandmother attempts to flee
But when the Kings finally rise
they shall bring their enemy’s demise
none can withstand true rulers of Jerusalem
for the hearts of Israel belong to them
Clear State Of Consciousness
A powerful mind
can revert to its infant state
undisturbed by character-molding memories
void of society’s teachings
filled with purity, clarity, and understanding.
Only when the mind is clear
of all the joy, sadness, and fear
after every memory, like a shroud, is lifted
unveiling the deepest level of consciousness.
Where only G-d Himself exists, in the depths
of the psyche, where the soul is kept
kindled solely by love, the fire of G-d.
In tune with every exhale
the trees send to the sky,
finally understanding
why healthy newborns cry;
Why it’s an illusion
to think we die.
We cry tears of sorrow
when sight of G-d is lost,
We regress to fear death when
we forget to accept it’s a deception.
Jerusalem Reborn
You stand on Rechov Misgav Ladach
facing golden lions that solemnly guard
the way down to the Western Wall
that our nation fought for long and hard
The weathered cobblestones paved on the street
were not tread by our ancestor’s feet
the King’s Road lies in tunnels deep
their stones, unused, sit there and sleep
Until the Princes rise again
to retake their city, Jerusalem,
when memories and souls tumble in
the deep tunnels crisscrossing under you
Lost spirits will return at last
to high notes that silver trumpets blast
and all the roads will fall below
as buildings rise, white stones aglow
Mount Moriah as three cities in one
when all damage of history is made undone
the buildings that withstood the death of time
will stand, like new, as in their prime
With golden domes and pale white stones
great marketplaces and vaulted homes
levels of cities built on one another
to form a city like no other
Like a Lion
Lions tail waves as
her ag in the breeze
Hind legs like her tanks
beneath the trees
Lion teeth sharp as
her armys wits
Like her people
he never quits
You are a beacon
of morality
Like a lions eyes,
in the dark you see
Paws rmly planted
in solidarity,
Hearts yearning
for divinity.
Power to turn dreams
into reality.
Like the king of beasts,
who dare challenge them?
Who now can topple the walls
of Jerusalem?
Fire Returned
From deepest night a fire shall be woken
a light from the shadows shall spring,
Renewed shall be blade that was broken
the crownless again shall be king.
Strong will be hands of redeemer
in whom the line of David endured,
He shall rise above all as a healer
fighting til all evils are cured.
He shall gather the pure-hearteds might
behind his blue shield they shall stand,
Forth from his hand shall shine light
piercing the darkness of the land.
Though in night light may seem frail
by kings hand will Death find defeat,
When stabbed, evil will fall
in Zion shall be the kings seat.
He shall repave the roads in gold
and reopen the citys arched gate,
Jerusalem will shine as of old
when at last falls the servant of hate.
When all evils shall be righted
joy will rain down from above,
When king and throne are reunited
mankind will know endless love.
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