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Ps. 8: Opening to You, A Zen-Inspired Translation

Norman Fischer is a poet, author, and Zen Buddhist priest. His most recent poetry titles are On a Train at Night (PURH, France, 2018) and Untitled Series: Life As It Is (Talisman House, 2018). His latest Buddhist titles are What Is Zen (Shambhala, 2016) and The World Could be Otherwise: Imagination and the Bodhisattva Path (Shambhala, 2019).


Opening to You: Zen-Inspired Translations of the Psalms (Penguin, 2002)

Your Unsayable Name: it covers all the earth

And your presence extends ever outward

From the furthest conceivable point


Out of the mouths of babes

Who speak only wordless wandering words

You fashion your incomprehensible power

That gathers into silence all opposition

All that pressure to get in and destroy


When I behold the night sky, the work of your fingers

The bright moon and the many-layered stars which you

            have established

I think:


A woman is so frail and you remember her

A man so small and you think of him


And yet

In you woman and man become as angels

Crowned with a luminous presence

And you have given them care for the works of your hands

Placed the solid growing earth under their feet


Flocks of birds and herds of deer

Oxen and sheep and goats and cows

Soaring birds and darting fishes

All that swims the paths of the sea


O you whom I am ever addressing

Your unsayable named covers heaven and earth


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The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.