The term Golem, in Jewish folklore refers to an image that has been animated, an effigy which has been lent the power to interact with its surroundings. The Talmudic or Biblical concept of a Golem is more akin to some sort of proto human, a roughly hewn semblance of an oversized person, as if a sculptor had walked away after outlining a piece.

Early tales in which Golems play a part, portray Golems as creatures made of clay, or mud, who are brought to life by a learned man, through the use of occult knowledge and the name or word of God. In these early stories the Golem is a slow-witted creature, whose literal interpretation of commands keeps them from being useful for anything but the most basic of tasks.


Around the 16th century these simple servants began to take on the responsibility of protector of the Jewish people. Not too surprising an evolutionary leap perhaps, given the level of persecution the Jewish people faced during the middle ages. The incidence of Jewish people being rounded up and slaughtered in an effort to purge a village or town of plague, drought, pestilence or just plain bad luck between the 5th and 15th centuries are sadly, innumerable.


It is no wonder at all that tales of protective Golems, who become too powerful and must be destroyed by their maker began to surface. It is my sincere hope that the poem below honors not only the legend of the Golem, but the history of the people who created him.




Words, words, words,

Etched, engraved, inscribed

Prayers, incantations, spells,

Of power, protection, defense

On torso, legs, arms and chest.


Instructions, orders, mandate

Clear, precise, incontrovertible

To guards my charges’ fate

For their lives I am responsible


No use of force is too great

No choice of violence too low

No pain should be spared

No tactic is too despicable


For when the enemy comes,

Separating men, from women and children

There is no mercy shown

There is no quarter given


The pestilence creeping across the lands

Rhetoric precedes it, more virulent by half

Than the plague that supersedes it.




Of your sins you will be shriven.

You will be acting as God’s hand,

If from Christendom you help to purge, the tribes of Abraham.


The maker toils day and night; secular and holy

The gluey cough that permeates the square

The sidelong glances becoming open glares,

The writing upon the wall, is laid bare


People whom yesterday were neighbors,

Today became crusaders.

From morning bells to evensong

Their conversion took just that long.


My makers pace is fevered;

There is no time to waste.

The mob that surges through the town,

Will never be out paced.


His hands, they quiver in their haste

One last incantation to be traced

An arcane term of the occult

Only perfect completion yields result


The only commandment of my creation

Mandate, blessing and animation

The keystone of every other incantation

The word that embodies victory and strife

The word is;