Seek the Lord and his thresholds, my soul,
and offer your songs like incense before Him:
for if you’re pursuing the vapor of Time
and calling its spells and sorcery Truth,
and roaming in hope of it night and day,
and sleeping sweetly after its feasts——
know that your hand holds nothing at all
but a tree whose branches soon will wither.
Be before your God and King,
beneath whose wings you’ve come for shelter.
Let His name be hallowed and praised
by all through whom His breath still moves.
– Yehudah HaLevi (c. 1075-1141)
Note: HaLevi is a medieval Spanish Hebrew poet, who incorporates both Hebrew and Sufi influences in his work. I love the above poem for its Sufi flavor that reads almost like a Psalm. With thanks to Arafat’s Anthology blog and to the Words Without Borders translation by Peter Cole, whom you can read about here.