Footdreams and Treetales is a collection of ninety-two poems spanning several decades. Like paintings that attempt to render visible the invisible, the poems reflect Wolfson's interests in philosophy, the history of religions, and, in particular, the mystical dimensions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Taoism, and Buddhism. Although explicit references to the divine are rarely found in the poems, they issue from an encounter with the mystery of transcendence, performatively embodying the dialectic of concealment and disclosure. Seeking to articulate the unsaying that makes possible all saying, a response always on the way, a word as yet unspoken, these poems can be imagined in liturgical terms. They do t utter words of conventional prayer but are a contemplative gaze at what eludes contemplation-a present that comes to be in the future awaiting its past. For Wolfson, the poem is an opening to time, which is, at once, an embrace of life and a preparation for death. friday's hymn pour oil on my head, before the burning ends, let us rise to count the minutes, to dot the hours, let us rise to wake the children who must bury the dead. night approaches day, neither black r white, her sun is my moon.
Elliot R. Wolfson holds the Marsha and Jay Glazer Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies in the Department of Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara. His recent books include Giving beyond the Gift : Apophasis and Overcoming Theomania (2014), A Dream Interpreted within a Dream: Oneiropoiesis and the Prism of Imagination (2011), and Open Secret: Postmessianic Messianism and the Mystical Revision of Menahem Mendel Schneerson (2009).