A Poem for the Small Face

by Isaac Luria

English version by Jerome Rothenberg
Original Language Aramaic

sons of his palace
were shy
who witness rays from
the small face

these to be here
at this table
the king cuts
grooves from his ring in

be pleased with
this meeting
this center of powers
all winged

to bring joy to it
is his hour of peace
without anger

draw near me
thou see my companions
be night without

those dogs
wild with chutzpah
keep out
may not enter

but send for
Ancient of Days
the jewel in his forehead

his peace
as he sees it
releases the light from
the shells

& will flow with it
into each orifice
these will conceal
under domes

will be here
in praise of the evening
a poem for
the small face

-- from A Big Jewish Book: Poems and Other Visions of the Jews from Tribal Times to the Present, Edited by Jerome Rothenberg

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Today's poem is a prayer to be said at a Sabbath gathering. It is a prayer of centering and wholeness, within the individual, within the Sabbath gathering, within creation itself. It is also a prayer of protection, to keep destructive and disturbing forces outside the boundaries of the holy circle. It is a prayer to release the scattered and trapped light of God, that it may reintegrate the world and the individual within it... within the present moment.

is his hour of peace

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