Shlomo ibn Gabirol

(1021-1055 / Spain)

Benediction - Poem by Shlomo ibn Gabirol

Let earth and sea and the Temple's throng
And every highway become exalted,
The world and all who therein do dwell,
And every creature of fen and fell,
In a melody nevermore halted,
With forest and meadow and all their yield,
Fruit of the woodland and fruit of the field,
Unite in an ecstasy deep and strong
In a rapturous endeavour,
With a single mouth in a single song,
Their spheral symphony to prolong,
And bless the Lord who is blessed forever.

The pundits vainly enquire His source,
His secret, the wonder of His foundation.
Where is His throne, or His light, or His force,
And who in His council dares take a station?
Sublime and hidden beyond our quest,
His essence unfathomed and unexpressed,
Even in sacred song and story,
This to declare is our sole resource,
That all the earth in its daily course
Overflows with its Maker's glory.
This is the reach of our poor endeavour,
Then who beside shall by man be blest?
For He is One on His throne above,
And His lonely sway shall be shaken never.
Then let all creatures in awe and love,
Man or insect, or serpent or dove,
Now bless the Lord who is blessed forever.

His bands of ministers gleam and flash
Like living coals or with flames for features,
Squadrons of four-winged cherubim dash,
By the steps of His throne are the mystic creatures
With their chariot-wheels, and at His behest,
They run in His service with holy zest,
All united together run,
One in song and in service one,
Every being of all the blest
In a loyalty naught can sever.
Wherefore sing to Him every breast,
Tranced in His adoration rest,
And bless the Lord who is blessed forever.

His domain is established, His Peace secure,
On the beams of the earth and the clouds He rides,
The homesick exile he vows to cure,
Who now amid thistle and thorn resides,
And the day of redemption in trust abides.
Yea, the remnant shall yet as a people endure,
Regathered, forgiven, when He decides,
And live as a nation unique and pure,
For when it was chosen and glorified,
Its mission it knew and its task descried,
That the love of God be its high endeavour,
And its purpose His reverence to assure,
The world to His worship by faith allure,
And bless the Lord who is blessed forever.

Translated by Israel Zangwill

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, September 16, 2010

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