Circles 4 (from Life of the Future World)

by Rabbi Abraham Abulafia

English version by Jerome Rothenberg and Harris Lenowitz
Original Language Hebrew

& the secret

ITS MEASURE IS RIGHT     & LEFT
MEASURE OF ITS RIGHT     ITS LEFT
MEASURE OF ITS LEFT     ITS RIGHT
IT HAS NO IMAGE     SKIES
IMAGE OF ITS RIGHT     LEFT
IMAGE OF ITS LEFT     RIGHT
& ITS BIRTHPLACE     BEING FROM NON-BEING
FATHERING FROM NOTHING     NAMES

MY NAME IS OTHER THAN
     WHAT HAS NO     IMAGE
MY IMAGE IS OTHER THAN
     WHAT HAS NO     NAME
& I HAVE NO NAME     OTHER THAN IMAGE
& I HAVE NO IMAGE     OTHER THAN NAME
EN-EY-EM-EE     WRITTEN OUT FULLY
MY NAME AN IMAGINING     FOR MY TRUTH

-- from A Big Jewish Book: Poems and Other Visions of the Jews from Tribal Times to the Present, Edited by Jerome Rothenberg

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

These lines are the culmination after several pages of circles of words, literally words written in circles that declare the nature of God and reality.

Notice the powerful sort of divine... collapse this Kabbalistic meditation evokes. Right and left reflect each other until they are the same. Image and name, tangible form and conceptual form, merge until we recognize the truth of the initial statement that "it has no image -- skies".

"& its birthplace -- being from non-being / fathering from nothing --" sounds almost like a Zen statement.

This work has that quality of certain intense Kabbalistic meditation practices of overloading the intellect by organizing and reorganizing the names of the Divine, concepts of reality, mathematical variations. Doing this over and over again until they fold in on themselves to reveal a central unity. The intellect, in exhaustion, comes to rest and finally sees this collapsed reality as a single point of Truth.

...It's been a hectic week for me. We just brought a new puppy into our family, and boy does he have energy! He spins around in circles, and I'm ready to collapse in a single point of exhaustion... At which point he promptly comes over and licks my face.



Recommended Books: Rabbi Abraham Abulafia

A Big Jewish Book: Poems and Other Visions of the Jews from Tribal Times to the Present The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492 Meditation and Kabbalah





Circles 4 (from