Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Shechinah and the Sefirot

Sefirotic diagram from von Rosenroth's
"Kabbala Denudata." Public domain.


The Shechinah and the Sefirot

(with a nod of acknowledgement to Bob Dylan)
With your cherry mouth in these harvesting fields,
And your fiery eyes locked on the ultimate prize,
And your golden Star of David, your pre-Raphaelite hair flowing down,
Oh, who could conquer you? Who dares even to touch you?
With your womb the source of kings,
And your sidewalk carpets littered with golden rings,
And your kiddush cup filled with the blood of gods,
Who could spread fire through your marble halls?
Radiant angel of eventide,
When the phantom prophet drinks the wine,
With my tentative touch through gloves of the slaughtered kid,
Should I grip history’s bolting reins?
Or, angel bride of evening, should I pray?
With wisdom kisses and words of fire,
And your scrolls unfurled like fate,
The time you spend sunning on the beach,
With your locket and Uzi within easy reach,
What holy wars can overtake you?
What sunny flash will bake you?
Their oven smokestacks split and drip with oily lies.
Caesar would lock your body in a cell of steel
And rip from your eyes an iris kiss,
So, blind, you cannot see the path to land below.
Here in the wheat fields blows a sea of clawing arms,
But which of them will hold you?
They would seem to grasp and tear
But these demons that think they damage you
Are ripping off the chains and setting you free.
Radiant angel of eventide,
When the phantom prophet drinks the wine,
With my tentative touch through gloves of the slaughtered kid,
Should I grip history’s bolting reins?
Or, angel bride of evening, should I pray?
The world whispers and accuses you
Of walking dead and hiding more than you can take.
Gentle shudders precede the worst earthquake,
And tenderly your bombers smile from the cover of Time.
Editors and bureaus compile justifications,
Several subtle shades of truth surround you,
And I will walk the way that you go.
Who can spin the story that you know?
The black fire on the white fire
Describes the shapes among the trees
When the forest is cut clear; this air has always been here
And cannot be escaped, breathed again and again.
You are not in your body, but in your breath.
How could they think to suffocate you?
In what enormous room can they assemble you?
In what grandstand will they assassinate you?
With your sandalwood breath and symphonic touch,
They surround and grapple only with your shadow.
You are above their grasp and they do not know
That the starlight on your hair was sent eons ago,
And your fluttering wings wave the apocalyptic curtain,
And your cherry smile defies their statutory passions.
How could they think to imprison vapor?
How could they write on peace scrolls they cannot even defile?
Radiant angel of eventide,
When the phantom prophet drinks the wine,
With my tentative touch through gloves of the slaughtered kid,
Should I grip history’s bolting reins?
Or, angel bride of evening, should I pray?


"The Shekinah Glory Enters the Tabernacle"; illustration from The Bible and
Its Story Taught by One Thousand Picture Lessons;
Charles F. Horne and Julius A. Bewer (Ed.), 1908. Public domain.