How, beloved, can I watch you
stand alone
in sorrow’s storms,
and my heart not tremble?

Already a profound night,
blacker than the black of your eyes,
falls silently upon the universe. 

Already it has touched your curls-- 

Rise up.
My hand will hold your dreaming
hand
and lead you slowly in between the nights.

Through the pale mists of childhood
my father thus guided me
to the house of worship.

1923

—Translated from the Hebrew by Leon Wieseltier.

This poem appeared in the June 7, 2012 issue of the magazine.