And there is a scene in the Bible where, many centuries later, the Ark is being brought into Jerusalem, and David is dancing as it's being carried into Jerusalem, and he is described with the phrase "and David danced before the Lord with all his might". When I read that phrase as a boy, I loved it, and then only in my middle age I realised that it wasn't a figure of speech, it was believed that God's presence inhabits the ark and so literally he was dancing before the Lord with all His might.

The Shrine Whose Shape I Am

The shrine whose shape I am
Has a fringe of fire
Flames skirt my skin

There is no Jerusalem but this
Breathed in flesh by shameless love
Built high upon the tides of blood
I believe the Prophets and Blake
And like David I bless myself
With all my might

I know many hills were holy once
But now in the level lands to live
Zion ground down must become marrow
Thus in my bones I am the King’s son
And through death’s domain I go
Making my own procession

from New & Selected Poems (New English Library, 2005), copyright ? Samuel Menashe 2005, used by permission of the author

Samuel Menashe in the Poetry Store

The free tracks you can enjoy in the Poetry Archive are a selection of a poet’s work. Our catalogue store includes many more recordings which you can download to your device.

Close