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Write Me As One That Loves His Fellow Men

November 21, 2018 by

a stylized star created by an artist
Star by Gill Barth

I’m always vaguely aware when I owe my editor a blog post; it’s the kind of thought that nibbles around the edges of my thinking when the workday is over. Recently it has been kind of dense in my head, trying to make sense – has anyone? – of the spate of violence that has beset our country. My parents were immigrant Jews, dead now for fourteen years, and I can’t begin to sort through the emotions of the last weeks. Everyone else has found words to respond with, I don’t need to add to it.

Instead I want to submit a poem by Leigh Hunt, which I dug out and read several times this week. For me it has been enough – reminding me that what matters is not what we call the God we serve, but who we see as our neighbor.

ABOU BEN ADHEM
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold: –
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?” – The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”
“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerily still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.
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Carmen Hinkey

Carmen Hinkey

Carmen Hinkey and her husband Stephen live at the Mount Community in New York State.

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