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