January 30, 2009


The scribe’s quill
moves across the page
letter by letter
entering deep into the curve
of the letter’s arm, the arcing
middle, the foot that opens
word to word.
Each letter beckons
to the next—the space between
is holy.

Cleansed first in ritual bath,
prepared to write the name of G-d,
the scribe controls the ink
from right to left; sings out loud
for every letter. Movement is headlong,
contained in pure intention—
the essence of each letter, black.

Deep in ink, thorn, quill,
the word can make safe passage.
Meaning will come later,
when reader comes to study
or to pray.

The sofer’s arm moves across the page
from source to word.

—Carmi Soifer
previously published in "Between the Sounds Anthology", Volume 2, 2000.

Posted by dwaber at January 30, 2009 01:56 PM