Song of Songs, King Solomon (excerpts)
Three Things There Are, Shlomo Ibn Gabriol
Lady of Grace, Yosef Ibn Tzaddiq
Cordoba, Asher Mendelssohn
The Radiant Letters
Throbs The Night, Hayyim Bialik
The Partisans’ Song, Hirsh Glik
The New Collosus, Emma Lazarus
I Want To Write a Jewish Poem, Gary Pacernick
Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, Jules Styne
Poems of Jerusalem, Yehuda Amichai
Psalm 23, King David

*          *           *

1905, David Ignatow
How To Make Challah, Deborah Leipziger
Tell Them I’m Struggling To Sing With Angels, David Meltzer


 
 
 

Song of Songs (excerpts)
by King Solomon
(translated)

[The feminine voice:]

The voice of my love: listen!
Bounding over the mountains
toward me, across the hills.

And he calls me:

[Now the masculine voice:]

Hurry, my love, my friend,
and come away!

Look, winter is over,
the rains are done,
wildflowers spring up in the fields.

Hurry, my love, my friend
come away.

My dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the shadow of the cliff;
Let me see you; all of you!
Let me hear your voice,
your delicious song.
I love to look at you.

[Now the feminine voice:]

My beloved is mine and I am his.
The shepherd among the lilies.

 
 
 

Three Things There Are
by Shlomo Ibn Gabriol (circa 1050)
(translated)

THREE THINGS there are together in my eye
that keep the thought of Thee forever nigh.
I think about Thy great and holy name
whenever I look up and see the sky.
My thoughts are roused to know how I was made,
seeing the earth’s expanse where I abide.
The musings of my mind when I look inside –
at all times, O my soul, “Bless Adonai!”

 
 
 

Lady of Grace
by Yosef Ibn Tzaddiq (circa 1125)
(translated by Peter Cole)

You should get this poem from Peter Cole’s book, The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry From Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492 (2007).

 
 
 

Cordoba
by Asher Mendelssohn

In Cordoba the Caliph’s Gardens
know three levels, three arcades
of fountains, and the Jew
who walks there watches
the sun dance
on the water’s arches.

In the Mezquita he sees again
The Mystery; always repeated, always varied.

His mind’s eye turns to the ruined synagogue,
walls that held
Judah ha Levi, Maimonides
and dim Moses, known as Cordovero, the inventor
of many ageless moves
in the magic game; who went
to Palestine.

In the square the sun weaves threads of light
through cobwebs on the orange trees

Purpose is in
the blindness of the spider
who does not see the web’s wholeness,
only acts its sequence,
turns,
always in the same position:
an attempt
to trap the Other in its net.

And the Jew who walks in the Caliph’s Gardens
casting the net of thought around fountains,
stone buildings, orange trees and images
of men long dead,
turns,
with open heart and eyes,
in the linked circles of history.

 
 
 

The Radiant Letters
(author unknown)
(translated)

To the midst of the storm that
penetrates “me,”
To the center of my
consciousness, my hidden
soul whispered,
She murmured to me in silence
the secret of existence of the cells
That are working with faithfulness
The Great Work of the heart.

And like wake/sleep, I reflected in
the endless space,
between the eternal forests,
between the high mountains,
That hug the majesty of the horizon.
in which I dwell now.

And Lo – The letters with a splendor
glow
Dancing before me with mighty light,
Like seducing me to Eat and
be satisfied from their bounty
wisdom.
And all of me transmuted to be one
letter and another letter.
I am the letter,
I am the letters of Light.

My eyes hear, my ears see,
My mouth walks and my hands
talk the light,
And I swim in the smooth, great light,
That unveils and guides me, to the
Way To Be.

 
 
 

Throbs The Night
by Hayyim Bialik
(translated)

THROBS the night with mystic silence,
Hushed the weary world and still;
And the ever-flowing brooklet
Murmurs ’neath the resting mill.

Darker grows the night and darker,
Shadows upon shadows creep;
One bright star and yet another
Falls into the darkness deep.

All the world is wrapped in silence,
But my heart seeks no repose;
And within my heart a fountain
Softly bubbles there and flows.

Speaks my heart: “Son, the fulfillment
Of thy dream at length draws nigh;
Lo, a star falls! Do not tremble –
Thine yet sparkles in the sky.

“Thine is firmly fixed and shining
Yonder in its azure nest;
Lift thine eyes and see it twinkling,
Kindling hope within thy breast.”

All the world is wrapped in silence,
As I sit here pensively;
One world have I – yea, no other
Than the world which lives in me.

 
 
 

The Partisans’ Song
by Hirsh Glik
(translated)

You must not say that you now walk the final way,
because the darkened heavens hide the blue of day.
The time we’ve longed for will at last draw near,
and our steps, as drums, will sound that we are here.

From land all green with palms to lands all white with snow,
we now arrive with all our pain and all our woe.
Where our blood sprayed out and came to touch the land,
there our courage and our faith will rise and stand.

The early morning sun will brighten our day,
and yesterday with our foe will fade away,
But if the sun delays and in the east remains -
This song as motto to generations must remain.

This song was written with our blood and not with lead,
It’s not a little tune that birds sing overhead,
This song a people sang amid collapsing walls,
With pistols in hand they heeded to the call.

Therefore never say the road now ends for you.
Though leaden skies may cover over days of blue.
As the hour that we longed for is so near.
Our steps beat out the message: We are here!

 
 
 

The New Collosus
by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 
 
 

I Want to Write a Jewish Poem
by Gary Pacernick

You should get the text from another source.

 
 
 

Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend
by Jules Styne

You should get the text from another source.

 
 
 

Poems Of Jerusalem
(“I’ve Come Back to this City,” “On Yom Kippur
5728″ and “Jerusalem is a merry-go-round”)
by Yehuda Amichai
(translated)

You should get the text from another source.

 
 
 

Psalm 23
by King David
(Massachusetts Bay Psalm Book translation)

The Lord to me a shepherd is,
want therefore shall not I
He in the folds of tender grass,
doth cause me down to lie

To waters calm me gently leads
restore my soul doth he
He doth in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake lead me.

Yea, though in valley of death’s shade
I walk, none ill I’ll fear:
Because thou art with me, thy rod,
and staff my comfort are.For me a table thou hast spread,
in presence of my foes:
Thou dost anoint my head with oil;
my cup it overflows.

Goodness and mercy surely shall
all my days follow me:
And in the Lord’s house I shall dwell
so long as days shall be.