Tis a fearful thing

By Rabbi Chaim Stern


Tis a fear­ful thing
to love what death can touch.

A fear­ful thing
to love, to hope, to dream, to be –

to be,
And oh, to lose.

A thing for fools, this,

And a holy thing,

a holy thing
to love.

For your life has lived in me,
your laugh once lifted me,
your word was gift to me.

To remem­ber this brings pain­ful joy.

Tis a human thing, love,
a holy thing, to love
what death has touched.

Excerpt from the Mini-Series “Godless” — Pastor Garret Moore rea­ding the poem.

Casey Gauntt claims that many mista­ken­ly attri­bu­te the poem to Yehuda Halevi (d.1141), and that it was in fact writ­ten in the 20th cen­tu­ry by Rabbi Chaim Stern (1930–2001) of Brooklyn, New York.

Keith Wilson claims that Rabby Chaim Stern trans­la­ted an ori­gi­nal poem by Yehuda Halevi.

So I am unsu­re who the ori­gi­nal poem is writ­ten by. Here is an ent­i­re poe­try pod­cast on the poem.


Back to Poetry