It’s a Fearful Thing to Love What Death Can Touch


Judah Halevi was a Jewish poet, living in Spain about a thousand years ago. He left us a beautiful poem that I think captures the essence of grief. The translation has been attributed to Chaim Stern, around 1930.


It’s a fearful thing to love
what death can touch.

A fearful thing to love,
hope, dream: to be —
to be, and oh! to lose.

A thing for fools this, and
a holy thing,
a holy thing to love.

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

To remember this brings painful joy.
It’s a human thing, love,
a holy thing,
to love
what death has touched.

For more of his poetry, click here.