Psalm 8: An 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