Letter from Poetry Magazine

Letter to the Editor

by Sarah Antine

Dear Editor,

As I read Todd Boss’s poem, “It Is Enough to Enter,” I couldn’t help connecting it to an idea that is part of the Passover Seder, when we say dayenu, which translates as “it would have been enough.” Boss writes:

          You don’t have to

understand
the liturgy or know history

to feel holy
in a gallery or presbytery.

It is enough
to have come just so far.

The Dayenu section of the Seder begins with the idea that “had He brought us out of Egypt and, not executed judgments against the Egyptians, dayenu, it would have been enough.” Each dayenu builds on the one before it and leads to another, as we express our gratitude for each gift that brought us out of slavery. However, would it really have been enough to watch the sea divide and not cross through on dry land? I was amazed to read the poet’s comment that the “I” in the poem might be “God reassuring me that I’m not a bad person just because I don’t care much what the Bible says,” partly because my reading of his poem connects it to the dayenu found in the Haggadah. This was not Boss’s intent, but nevertheless it’s there in the poem.

Originally Published: June 1, 2010

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This prose originally appeared in the June 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2010

Biography

Sarah Antine earned her MFA from Hunter College in 2004. She has published in various literary journals and magazines, and two of her poems appear in the anthology Torah: A Women's Commentary. She is the poet in residence at the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy of Greater Washington.

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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