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Beautiful View, World’s Joy

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Beautiful view, world’s joy, great monarch’s city,
From the edges of the West my spirit yearns for you.

Deep compassion stirs within me when I remember the East,
Your exiled honor, your plundered abode.

If only I could fly on an eagle’s wings until,
Your ashes are quenched with my tears and sweetened.

I seek you although your kingdom no longer presides with you,
Instead of the balm of Gilead there are snakes, serpents and scorpions.

No matter, I will console and kiss your stones,
and your earth in my mouth will taste like sweet honey.

Translated from the original Hebrew, adapted from: The Selected Poems of Yehuda Halevi, translated and annotated by Hillel Halkin, published by Nextbook Press (2011)