I am the man
who obscures God’s designs
with my empty-headed words,
learned from hearsay
and the gossip of children

I am the man
broken by God,
crushed for my sins,
pierced for my faults.

On me lies a punishment
that brings no peace,
wounds that bring no healing.

I am a man
of sorrows,
familiar with suffering.

I am the ravager never ravaged,
plunderer never plundered
whose ravaging is over
whose plundering is done.

I am the Aleph and the Tav,
the Alpha and Omega,
the word at the Beginning:

I am the man
of the maiden with child,
the first and the last,
the whore and the holy one,
the bride and the bridegroom
and my husband begot me.

I am black but lovely,
O daughters of Jerusalem,
take no notice of my blackness,
for it is the sun that has burned me.

And I am sick with love.


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