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from the July 2004 issue: Speaking In Tongues: Religious Literature

A Dove in the Distance

A dove in the distance fluttered,
   flitting through the forest—
      unable to recover
she flew up, flustered, hovering,
   circling round her lover. 
      She’d thought the thousand
years to the Time of the End
   about to come and was
      confounded in her designs,
and tormented by her lover, 
   over the years was parted
      from Him—her soul descending
bared to the world below.
   She vowed never again
      to mention His name, but deep 
within her heart it held,
   as though a fire burning.
      Why be like her foes?
Her bill opens wide
   toward the latter rain 
      of your salvation; her soul
within her faith is firm,
   and she does not despair,
      whether she is honored
through His name or whether 
   in disdain brought low.
Let God, our Lord, come
   and not be still: Around Him
      storms of fire rage.

 

© Peter Cole. From The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry in Muslim and Christian Spain: c. 905–1492 (Princeton University Press, 2007). By arrangement with the translator. All rights reserved.

July 2004
Speaking In Tongues: Religious Literature
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