I'm ashamed, my God
Solomon Ibn Gabirol

I'm ashamed, my God,
and abashed to be standing before you,
for I know that as great as your might has been,
    such is my utter weakness and failing;

as exalted as your power has been and will be,
    such is the depth of my poverty;
as perfect as your wholeness is,
    so is my knowledge flawed.

For you are one and alive;
almighty, abiding, strong and wise;

You are the Lord my God-
    and I am a clod of dirt and a worm;
dust of the ground and a vessel of shame;

    a speechless stone;

a passing shadow;

a wind blown-by that won't return;

a spider's poison;

a lying heart uncut for his Lord;

a man of rages;

a craftsman of scheming, and haughty,
    corrupt and impatient in speech,
perverse in his ways and impetuous.

What am I or my life?
What is my might and my righteousness?
Throughout the days of my being I'm nothing
    and what then after I die?

I came from nothing and nothing pursue;

against instruction I come here before you
with insolence and impure notion-

and impulse that strays to its idols

and greed as it calls-

and a soul that hasn't been cleansed-
and a heart that's lost and alone-

and a body afflicted with swarms of desire
    ceaseless within their resistance.

Quoted after: Cole, Peter (Trans.) (2001). Selected Poems of Solomon Ibn Gabirol. Princeton, Oxford: Princeton University Press. P.177-8.

Last updated: 2003/10/23