SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: THE SONG OF SONGS

739px-Song_of_solomonDepiction of Solomon and Pharaoh’s daughter reciting the Song of Solomon.
This image is in the public domain.


From THE SONG OF SONGS
From the Hebrew Bible

I am a rose of Sharon,
a lily of the valleys.

As a lily among brambles,
so is my love among maidens.

As an apple tree among the trees of the wood,
so is my beloved among young men.
With great delight I sat in his shadow,
and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
He brought me to the banqueting house,
and his banner over me was love.
Sustain me with raisins,
refresh me with apples;
for I am sick with love.
O that his left hand were under my head,
and that his right hand embraced me!
I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
by the gazelles or the hinds of the field,
that you stir not up nor awaken love until it please.

The voice of my beloved!
Behold, he comes,
leaping upon the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle,
or a young stag.
Behold, there he stands
behind our wall,
gazing in at the windows,
looking through the lattice.

My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
for lo, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away.
O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
in the covert of the cliff,
let me see your face,
let me hear your voice,
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is comely.
Catch us the foxes,
the little foxes,
that spoil the vineyards,
for our vineyards are in blossom.”

My beloved is mine and I am his,
he pastures his flock among the lilies.
Until the day breathes
and the shadows flee,
turn, my beloved, be like a gazelle,
or a young stag upon rugged mountains.


(Today’s poem is in the public domain, belongs to the masses, and appears here today accordingly.)


The Song of Songs, also known as the “Song of Solomon” or “Canticles,” is one of the megillot (scrolls) found in the last section of the Tanakh, known as the Ketuvim (or “Writings”), a book of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. The Song of Songs is unique within the Hebrew Bible: it shows no interest in Law or Covenant or the God of Israel; instead, it seems to celebrate sexual love. It gives “the voices of two lovers, praising each other, yearning for each other, proffering invitations to enjoy.” The two are in harmony, each desiring the other and rejoicing in sexual intimacy. (Annotated biography of King Solomon courtesy of Wikipedia.org, with edits.)

Editor’s Note: In honor of Valentine’s Day, the Saturday Poetry Series offers you a good old fashioned love poem, emphasis on the old. An anomaly among the fire and brimstone, monotheistic propaganda, and general prescription of the Bible, the illicit sexual nature and unbridled romance of The Song of Songs has baffled scholars for centuries. Believed to have been written some time between the tenth and second centuries BCE, there is no authoritative agreement regarding the poem’s authorship, inception, or setting. The subject matter of the poem itself has long been heatedly debated, with some scholars embracing the titillating nature of this epic poem, while others insist it is a metaphor for man’s love of God. While its milder language is often quoted in the context of weddings, showcasing a true love with ancient roots, when one sits down and reads this masterpiece from beginning to end—with eyes wide open—they encounter a hot and steamy poem that gives Fifty Shades of Grey a real run for its money.

Want to read more about Biblical poetry?
Wikipedia

SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: KING SOLOMON




TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON / EXCERPT FROM KOHELET/ECCLESIASTES
by King Solomon


To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

King Solomon was, according to the Hebrew Bible, a King of Israel. The biblical accounts identify Solomon as the son of David. The Hebrew Bible credits Solomon as the builder of the First Temple in Jerusalem and portrays him as great in wisdom, wealth, and power. Solomon had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. The wives are described as foreign princesses, including Pharaoh’s daughter and women of Moab, Ammon, Sidon and of the Hittites. He is considered the last ruler of the united Kingdom of Israel before its division into the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. According to Jewish tradition, King Solomon wrote three books of the Torah/Bible: Mishlei (Book of Proverbs), Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), and Shir ha-Shirim (Song of Songs). (Annotated biography of King Solomon courtesy of Wikipedia.org, with edits.)

Editor’s Note: Today’s post became most famous in modern popular culture for the version put to music (with six words added) by Pete Seeger in 1962 and made more famous in 1965 when recorded by the Byrds. Thus, today’s post continues our ongoing discussion about where the lines of poetry and music are blurred.

Today’s post takes that discussion a step further, by taking a look at how biblical text and mythology come into play in poetry. Arguably mythological stories and oral storytelling, which later became incorporated into the written word and went on to form important texts such as the Torah, Bible, and Koran (among many others) are the oldest form of poetry. Ideas became stories and songs, stories and songs became the written word, the written word was crafted as a form of art, that art informed and inspired others, and poetry as we know it was born.

On my paternal grandmother’s side of the family a family tree has been kept for so many generations that it traces our lineage to King David. That makes King Solomon my kin, and I am proud to honor him today by celebrating his poetry. Let’s hope his talent runs in the family!

Want to read more by and about King Solomon?
King Solomon on Wikipedia
Turn! Turn! Turn! on Wikipedia
U Penn / Song of Songs