Temenos

By Tikva Frymer-Kensky, z"l

Into the circle I invite You,
power of creation,
power of form.
Into the circle I invoke You,
power of life.

As you come into the circle of the sea,
drawn in the sand.
power over chaos, power over life,
power of distinction, power to do —
into my circle I invite You.

Moses drew a little circle around him:
"I will not move from here.
In the circle that now surrounds me I stand unmovable -
In this circle, I stay."

Habakkuk drew a circle and stood inside it,
"I shall not stir from here.
Tell me what I want to know —
In this circle, I stay."

Honi the circle drawer also drew a circle:
"I will not move from here.
Listen to me and do my bidding —
In this circle, I stay."

Once a general drew a circle around a king:
"Do not leave," he said.
"Until you are ready to decide,
in this circle, stay!"

God too drew a circle:
on the waters, a place for sea.
To the waves, God said, "Do not leave here:
In this circle, stay!"

And now we draw a circle on my body,
a little circle to surround you.
And now I say —
and may God also say —
"Til the time has come when you are ready,
in this circle, stay!"

Poem

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