Where Will I Find You

By Yehudah Halevi Yehudah Halevi

Translated By Peter Cole Read the translator's notes

Where, Lord, will I find you:
your place is high and obscured.
         And where
               won’t I find you:
         your glory fills the world.

You dwell deep within—
         you’ve fixed the ends of creation.
You stand, a tower for the near,
         refuge to those far off.
You’ve lain above the Ark, here,
         yet live in the highest heavens.
         Exalted among your hosts,
         although beyond their hymns—
               no heavenly sphere
                     could ever contain you,
         let alone a chamber within.

In being borne above them
         on an exalted throne,
you are closer to them
         than their breath and skin.
Their mouths bear witness for them,
         that you alone gave them form.
         Your kingdom’s burden is theirs;
         who wouldn’t fear you?
               And who could fail
                     to search for you—
         who sends down food when it is due?

I sought your nearness.
         With all my heart I called you.
And in my going out to meet you,
         I found you coming toward me,
as in the wonders of your might
         and holy works I saw you.
         Who would say he hasn’t seen
         your glory as the heavens’
               hordes declare
                     their awe of you
         without a sound being heard?

But could the Lord, in truth,
         dwell in men on earth?
How would men you made
         from the dust and clay
fathom your presence there,
         enthroned upon their praise?
         The creatures hovering over
         the world praise your wonders—
               your throne borne high
                     above their heads,
         as you bear all forever.

Source: Poetry (March 2012).

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This poem originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2012

Biography

Yehudah Halevi (c.1075–1141) is considered to be one of the greatest Hebrew poets. He lived in both Muslim and Christian Spain before rejecting its culture of Jewish-Arab hybridization and leaving for Israel in 1140. His most famous work is the philosophical text called the Kuzari.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, God & the Divine, Judaism

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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