sandalphon

SANDALPHON

                   Blessed Sophia

             Have you read in the Talmud of old,

                       In the Legends the Rabbins have told

                      Of the limitless realms of the air,—

                   

                   Have you read it.—the marvellous story

                    Of Sandalphon, the Angel of Glory,

                      Sandalphon, the Angel of Prayer?

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                   How, erect, at the outermost gates

                    Of the City Celestial he waits,

                      With his feet on the ladder of light,

                    That, crowded with angels unnumbered,

                    By Jacob was seen as he slumbered

                      Alone in the desert at night?

 

The Four Winds

                   

The Angels of Wind and of Fire,

                    Chant only one hymn, and expire

                      With the song’s irresistible stress;

                    Expire in their rapture and wonder,

                    As harp-strings are broken asunder

                      By music they throb to express.

 

                    But serene in the rapturous throng,

                    Unmoved by the rush of the song,

Blessed Sophia

 

                      With eyes unimpassioned and slow,

                    Among the dead angels, the deathless

                    Sandalphon stands listening breathless

                      To sounds that ascend from below;—

 

Musing the Muse

                   

From the spirits on earth that adore,

                    From the souls that entreat and implore

                      In the fervor and passion of prayer;

                    From the hearts that are broken with losses,

                    And weary with dragging the crosses

                      Too heavy for mortals to bear.

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And he gathers the prayers as he stands,

                    And they change into flowers in his hands,

                      Into garlands of purple and red;

                    And beneath the great arch of the portal,

                    Through the streets of the City Immortal

                      Is wafted the fragrance they shed.

 

The Four Winds

                   

It is but a legend, I know,—

                    A fable, a phantom, a show,

                      Of the ancient Rabbinical lore;

                    Yet the old mediaeval tradition,

                    The beautiful, strange superstition

                      But haunts me and holds me the more.

the_angel_with_the_flaming_sword-large

When I look from my window at night,

                    And the welkin above is all white,

                      All throbbing and panting with stars,

                    Among them majestic is standing

                    Sandalphon the angel, expanding

                      His pinions in nebulous bars.

                      And the legend, I feel, is a part

                    Of the hunger and thirst of the heart,

                      The frenzy and fire of the brain,

                    That grasps at the fruitage forbidden,

                    The golden pomegranates of Eden –

                                                                             To quiet its fever and pain.

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[poem by walter von der vogelweide] 

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~ by meanderingsofthemuse on October 15, 2013.

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