Gazing Through the Night by Samuel Hanagid

Gazing through the
night and its stars,

or the grass and its bugs,

I know in my heart these swarms
are the craft of surpassing wisdom.
Think: the skies
resemble a tent,
stretched taut by loops
and hooks;

and the moon with its stars,
a shepherdess,
on a meadow
grazing her flock;

and the crescent hull in the looser clouds

looks like a ship being tossed;

a whiter cloud, a girl
in her garden
tending her shrubs;

and the dew coming down is her sister
shaking water
from her hair onto the path;

as we
settle in our lives,

like beasts in their ample stalls—

fleeing our terror of death,
like a dove
its hawk in flight—

though we’ll lie in the end like a plate,
hammered into dust and shards.

From: http://www.medievalhebrewpoetry.org/poets/samuel-hanagid/

Date: 11th century (original); 1996 (translation)

By: Samuel Hanagid (993-1056)

Translated by: Peter Cole (1957- )

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