(October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963 / Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts)

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 cheerly 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 blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.


Anonymous Submission

User Rating: 4,1 / 5 ( 115 votes ) 12

Comments (12)

I deeply feel her love and insanity from this love. Love does make people do crazy things
Wonderful expression,from Plath,I heard about her from friends.. I like the verse, I fancied you return the way you said,but I grow old forgotten your name.(I think I made you up inside my head.)
Today I finished reading the Bell Jar as an assignment for my feminist literature course, and I decided to look this poem up, remembering that it has always been one of my favorites. After reading it nearly ten times in the last hour, I love it more than I did even when it was something fresh and new to me. I value and admire this one work of Sylvia's more than I value any other poet's work, more than my own, more than anyone else's collectively. She was a wonderful, brilliant, talented woman.
Like Casey, I've just started exploring Sylvia's poetry, and I have to agree; it's amazing. This and Metaphors are probably my favourite poems of hers that I've read so far. I love this because it really speaks to me, and it's just such a wonderful piece of writing.
this is such a great poem! the title is really an interesting contrast i think with the content
See More