His Thresholds

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


6 Responses to His Thresholds

  1. Abdur Rahman says:

    Salaams Irving,

    A beautiful poem indeed. Thank you for posting it. May Allah reward you.

    Abdur Rahman

  2. mshahin says:

    “Let His name be hallowed and praised

    by all through whom His breath still moves.”

    May his name be hallowed by our dhikr of him. So beautiful….thank you for sharing this poet with us brother Irving. I will be checking out more of HaLevi’s poetry in the future. This is my first time hearing about him, but I’m already very impressed.

  3. Irving says:

    Salaam Dear Brother Abdur and Sister M Shahin:

    Thank you for the comments. Indeed, I had not heard of HaLevi either until reading about him in Arafat’s Anthology. It makes me even more certain that I know nothing of all the good and worthy poet, writers, wise men and women, and hidden saints of every time and place that Allah blessed throughout history with His grace and love. For all that we read and learn and think we understand…

    “Know that your hands hold nothing at all.”

    How true that is.

    Ya Haqq!

  4. rama says:

    Hullo! Thanks for sharing this. Best, rama

  5. […] His Thresholds by Yehudah HaLevi featured on Irving’s blog Darvish […]

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