by Solomon ibn Gabirol

English version by Israel Zangwill
Original Language Hebrew

My thoughts astounded asked me why
Towards the whirling wheels on high
In ecstasy I rush and fly.

The living God is my desire,
It carries me on wings of fire,
Body and soul to Him aspire.

God is at once my joy and fate,
This yearning me He did create,
At thought of Him I palpitate.

Shall song with all its loveliness
Submerge my soul with happiness
Before the God of Gods it bless?

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Something today in honor of Passover by one of the greatest Medieval Jewish poets and philosophers, Solomon ibn Gabirol...

(I'm still looking for a truly excellent translation of his poetry in English. This poem today, for example-- I think with a more elegant translation it could soar in the mind and open the heart. But there is enough left to us in this translation that, with a little attention, we can touch its secret effervescence. So spend a few moments rereading this poem; find the spaces between the words and meanings, and let the magic rush in!)

Recommended Books: Solomon ibn Gabirol

Poetry for the Spirit: Poems of Universal Wisdom and Beauty Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish & Hebrew Poems The Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse The Heart and the Fountain: An Anthology of Jewish Mystical Experiences The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492
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