Hymn from the Heavens

by Yannai

English version by T. Carmi
Original Language Hebrew

From Heaven to the Heaven of Heavens;
from the Heaven of Heavens to the Dark Clouds;
from the Dark Clouds to the Abode;
from the Abode to the Dwelling-place;
from the Dwelling-place to the Skies;
from the Skies to the Plains;
from the Plains to the height of the Throne;
and from the height of the Throne to the Chariot --

who can be compared to You,
     who is your equal?
who has seen You,
     who has reached You?
who can hold his head high,
     who can lift up his eyes?
who can question,
     who can defy?
who can fathom,
     who can calculate?
who can be proud,
     who can be haughty?
who is like You?

For You ride on a cherub
     and fly on the wind;
Your road is in the whirlwind,
     Your way is in the storm;
Your path is through waters.
     Fires are Your emissaries --
thousands of thousands
     and myriads of myriads,
who are changed into men,
     changed into women,
changed into winds,
     changed into demons;
who assume all shapes
     and fulfill every mission,
with fear, dread, awe, trembling, terror, trepidation,
     they open...

-- from The Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse, Edited by T. Carmi

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