We're catching up with some poems of the day to close out National Poetry Month. First up, from The Great Poems of the Bible by James L. Kugel. The last line here may be better known by the King James version: "Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity."
Before the light of the sun goes dark, and the moon and the stars;
and the clouds return [empty] after the rain;
in the days when the guards of the house start to tremble, and the
strong men are crooked,
and the grinding women give out, because they are few, and the
women watching at the window grow dark;
the double doors are closed in the marketplace, since the sound of
the grinding mill has gone low;
and a bird's chirping is heard, for all the daughters of song have
been brought down.
Any height inspires fear, and a journey seems fraught with danger.
Then will the almond tree blossom, and the grasshopper drag
along, and the caperbush bud --
for a man has gone off to his eternal home and the mourners have
made their turns in the square --
until the silver cord is snapped and the golden bowl is crushed,
and the pitcher is broken at the spring, and the jug is shattered at
and the dust rejoins the earth as it had been before, and the spirit
returns to God who gave it.
"So fleeting," said Koheleth, "everything is so fleeting!"