Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AKIBA, by ALTER ABELSON



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AKIBA, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: O heart, who art a fable, new and true
Last Line: Aye, kissed by god, your feet on crowns have trod.
Subject(s): Akiva Ben Joseph, Rabbi (50-135 A.d.); Death; Heaven; Israel; Jews; Dead, The; Paradise; Judaism


O HEART, who art a fable, new and true;
O soul, a legend strange and sweet as joy;
Lover, whose love has built, not razed a Troy;
Akiba, whom heaven and angels taught to woo.

Lover, and lawyer, all Israel's sceptred mind,
Who luminous mists hast orbed into a sun
Of Oral Law, and logic's praises won;
A shepherd's crook you left, a wand to find,

Our blameless Lancelot of lists of lore,
Who made Romance a theme for cherubim;
And love, God's Song of Songs, His heavenly hymn;
And law, a mine where mercy digs for ore.

God's patriot, who heaven with life hast sought,
And Holylands in Holyland hast known;
Thou art a part of heaven, thou hast shown,
Thou art a part of "Torah" thou hast taught.

What wonder you have traversed Paradise,
It was your gentle spirit's element;
What wealth to heaven, what penury hell, you sent;
Courage and wisdom hailed you brave and wise.

And virtue named you saint, and greatness, great;
Patriotism, patriot; and knowledge, sage.
And love, a lover; your heart, its golden page.
And holiness rejoiced to own you, mate.

What, though the foe your frame with fires shod?
What, though he drained the wine-vats of your veins?
He only precious made like gems, your pains;
Aye, kissed by God, your feet on crowns have trod.





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