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|
/ Image by striatic /
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 early 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.
This reminds me of a note I posted several years back, when we had just adopted a new puppy:
...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.