POEM: The Blessed Alphabet

Blessed landlords of the language
Blessed era of the language
Blessed villages of the language
Bless the child on a winter’s-eve
In the town, who learns the language in all her chapters
her genealogies, her nuances, her grammar
Blessed people of the language who fought
For her, as a minority, bless he who totters with his language
From here & from here
Bless his letters
Bless his taste for the holy books
Bless every Hebrew book
If it fills his days
& if not. Bless the vowel
& half the vowel, bless every khirik
and patakhhei” — line to line blessed
& sign to sign, blessed era of the subscribed
universe, & between every star & star
that burns like a kind of eternal
flame, on the merit of its letters
from aleph-beyt ha-kodesh.

From “Shirei Malon Tsion” (“Songs from Hotel Zion). Translated from the Hebrew by Ariel Resnikoff and Rivka Weinstock.

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POEM: The Blessed Alphabet

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