My God, break not the breakers of the sea,
Nor command to the deep, ‘Become dry’.
Until I thank Your mercies, and I thank
The waves of the sea and the wind of the west;
Let them propel me to the place of the yoke of Your love,
And bear far from me the Arab yoke.
And how shall my desires not find fulfillment,
Seeing as I trust in You, and You are pledged to me?
This is the first verse in a most beautiful poem by the Jewish Spanish poet Yehudah Halevi. All his poems are highly descriptive & evocative, sensual even, though they are speaking of his faith & relationship with God.
One can almost picture him walking through the medieval streets of El Andalus, consuming the rich visual textures, colours, smells & sounds of that place. That place that would soon so cruelly reject his kind.
On the Sea, a full version.
The poems of Yehudah Halevi
Sephardism short excerpt from The Journal of Jewish Identities.
See also ‘The Story of the Jews’, book by Simon Schama, plus