Saturday, October 29, 2022

It's 10 Years Since Superstorm Sandy...

 Ten years ago today, October 29, 2012, while  Superstorm Sandy was wallopping the Jersey shore, I boarded a cruise ship and headed to Bermuda. It's probably the craziest thing I've ever done...

A cruise ship in a storm
Photo credit:


Our pleasure cruise to Bermuda with Aunt Carol Harris,

Cousin Marie Gioia, and our friends Bob & Patti Ley,

on board Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas,

during Super Storm Sandy, October, 2012.         


As Sandy travels northward along the east coast

intent on ripping up the Jersey Shore

we board the Explorer of the Seas

in Bayonne—


Surely, we think

Royal Caribbean won’t set out to sea

with 3000 passengers on board if it isn’t safe


If they haven’t canceled

surely there’s a plan…surely


The plan, we discover, is to sail through

the very heart of the storm—

Thus begins our pleasure cruise

to beautiful Bermuda


The clerk at the Accommodations Desk says

This ship is built to withstand storms

fifty times worse!

as we heave high, plunge low

hour after hour

day, night, day, night

aware of the locations of our life vests

aware of the locations of the lifeboats


I peer over the balcony

at twenty-five-foot waves and imagine

if we have to man lifeboats

we’ll be swallowed up in an instant


Meanwhile, the three-masted replica

of an 18th-century square-rigger

featured in Mutiny on the Bounty

sinks off the coast of North Carolina

(right where we are heading!)

The captain and a crew member perish

and fourteen crew members are rescued

by a daring Coast Guard helicopter crew

as Sandy’s ferocious winds blow

and their little life raft thrashes about

in the angry Atlantic


Meanwhile, my Dramamine isn’t working

and I become ill

and passengers are becoming ill

all over the ship

They close public restrooms

because housekeepers don’t know

where to take their slop buckets next

A putrid stench permeates the corridors

Here, there, stacks of little white bags

wait for pending emergencies


The old ship plunges and lunges and groans

as deckhands perform duties with calm normalcy

and water bottles fly off countertops

glasses smash onto the floor

food trays slide off tables and crash

We learn that there’s damage on deck

and plenty of broken glass


Some shows are canceled

but most go on

even as the theater curtain quivers

and the stage rocks back and forth

and comedians make light of our plight

Somehow I can’t help thinking

about the musicians who just kept playing

as the unsinkable Titanic sank, 101 years ago


I appear to be somewhat inebriated

as I grip the handrails

and stumble along swaying hallways

stateroom to dining to shows and back again

as the ship heaves and lunges

ad infinitum


Finally, on day three, we drop anchor

at the harbor in Bermuda

where the island sun is shining

island music is playing

and pink sand welcomes us

to spread our blankets and just say…




Maude Carolan Pych

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Sunday, October 23, 2022

It's Time to Take a Walk...

 It's time to take a slow autumn walk

through dense woods

to praise God for the amazing beauty

of His creation?

Photo credit:


I meander through woods

along a beaten pathway in North Jersey

and the music begins immediately


There’s chittering of crickets

and the cacophony of other insects

that are hanging on to life

until the frost, which will come soon

Leaves rustle in the trees

some whoosh past me

as they fall to the ground

and there’s a crunch

of dry ones beneath my feet


I hear an occasional snap of a twig

and the scamper of squirrels

or chipmunks, a raccoon

or field mice scurrying unseen

up and down tree trunks

or frolicking in the dense brush


There may be hidden deer or a bear

Some sounds I cannot identify


Birdsong completely fills the air

all kinds of birdsong—

chirps and coos

and warbles and squawks

I even hear the flutter

of wing flaps


Tying everything together

is the faintest whistling in the breeze

that feels something like tinnitus

ringing in my ears

but it’s not unpleasant


All the sounds blend together

into Nature’s symphony—

a serenade to my spirit

as I stroll


Maude Carolan Pych

Maude Carolan Pych's book of poems

about the Birth, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus,

"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"

is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Has Your Tender Heart Been Circumcised?



Deut 30:6; Rom 2:29


There was no mohel

no Bris Milah on my eighth day

and no visible drop of blood

from my cloven heart

during the years that followed

so, when and how it happened

cannot be pinpointed

Perhaps it occurred

when I read Moses’ face shone

after he was in the presence

of the Lord, on the mountain

or that David danced

uninhibitedly before the Ark

out of impassioned love for God

or perhaps when I heard Boaz

put his covering

over the gentile Ruth

and became her kinsman redeemer

Oh, it might have been

when I made aliyah[1] in ’86 or ‘87

or again in 2006

each time praying

at the Wall and the Tomb

or it may have happened

upon becoming utterly awestruck

at the Little Cupula of the Tablets

while considering Messiah’s return

or possibly it was the night we sang

every carol we knew

in the shepherd field of Bethlehem

It could even have been

when I drank water from

the ancient Jacob's Well

or the morning I experienced sunrise

over the Dead Sea

dreaming of the Great Day

when fish will thrive

and vegetation bloom, miraculously

in its healed waters

It may well have been

the sight and smell of the land

as I walked in the footsteps

of my Jewish Savior

or when my heart

caught fire while reading

the melodious Psalms

or Solomon's Song of Songs

or as I poured over the account

of Peter's prison praise

Actually it probably was when

I was born anew

and received blessed assurance

that I am eternally saved

by the precious Blood of the Lamb…


All I know is

some way, somehow

something happened

to spiritually circumcise

this gentile heart

making it echad[2]

with the Heart of the God

of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

and I haven’t for a single moment

been the same



Maude Carolan Pych

[1] Aliyah means ascent in Hebrew.

[2] Echad means one in Hebrew.

Would you like to read more poems?

Here I am with a copy of my book,
"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"

It's available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

A Visit to the Holocaust Memorial


Janusz Korczak and the orphan children,
Holocaust Memorial, Yad Vashem, Israel


Israel Pilgrimage--2006


We are given an hour, only an hour

to walk through on our own—


It’s quiet

Barely any talking

No smiling


People move slowly

observing, listening

some brush away tears

some shake their heads


We walk along the Path

of Righteous Gentiles

hesitate at trees

planted in honor

of Oscar Schindler

of Corrie TenBoom


We see shoes of the dead, eyeglasses

photographs, paintings



The eternal flame shudders

as we swallow hard at the words:

Never Again


Outside, we pause at the bronze

of Yanus Korchek embracing

the orphan children—

the ones he accompanied

into a crematorium


At the Children’s Memorial

the darkness is assuaged

by so many mirrored reflections

of flickering candles

We read—

1,500,000 children


An hour, only an hour

is even too much

for us to bear


Maude Carolan Pych

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go to

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Yom Kippur is Almost Here


Image credit:



I reach for my sweater against the chill

The crickets are chittering

Sunflowers have shed their golden petals

and a few green tomatoes remain

abandoned on the vines

It’s September—

the High Holy Days are approaching


Soon I will gather with mishpoceh[1]

in the parking lot outside Beth Israel

We will observe Rosh Hoshanna

Rabbi Jonathan[2] will sound

his kudu shofar beneath the full moon—

Tekiah—Shevarim—Teruah—Tekiah Gedolah[3]


Sages tell us the first day of the month of Tishri

is the day God created the world

the world He so loved

the world He gave His only Son to save

The trumpeting reminds me

to reflect upon my relationship

with this God of my salvation

reminds me, humbly, to prepare for Yom Kippur


So I ponder the Day of Atonement

ponder the High Priest entering the Holy of Holies

sprinkling the blood of the sacrifice upon the Mercy Seat

ponder the sacrificed goat and the scapegoat

ponder forgiveness

ponder my sins, atoned for by Yeshua[4]

ponder my High Priest, the Perfect Sacrifice

Who offered His Very Own Blood

on my behalf


Next will be Sukkot

the Feast of Tabernacles—

From inside a leafy sukkah

I’ll be reminded of the sojourn of God’s people

to the Promised Land

reminded of my very own sojourn

toward God’s promise—

eternal life with Him

in Heaven


Maude Carolan Pych

[1] Mishpoceh is Hebrew for family.

[2] Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, worship leader of Beth Israel Worship Center, Wayne, NJ.

[3] These are the various sounds of the shofar (ram’s horn) on Rosh Hoshanna.

[4] Yeshua is Hebrew for Jesus.