Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Meaningless! Poems from Ecclesiastes

What a Way To Start
Ecclesiastes 1:1-2, 12-14

Teenage angst and naïve hopes
converge as I enter the classroom.
Philosophy 101. Not a prerequisite.
An elective I freely elect.
I want to unravel the strands
that tangle the universe.
I’m a serious, if young, scholar,
an earnest seeker after Truth.
A freshman with dreams.
I sit in the second row,
not wanting to be obvious.
I wait, notebook and pen
on the desk. Ready.
On the brink of wisdom.
At 10:00 on the dot
he walks in, looking the part
in jeans, turtleneck, and beret.
He adjusts his glasses, looks us over,
and, without introduction,
enters the heart of all things.
Utterly meaningless, he tells us.
Everything is meaningless.

Timing Is Everything…
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

when it comes to beauty.
The patterns shift
in God’s choreography.
There is, we’re told,
a season for everything.
In its time, note the loveliness
of war—the splendor of explosion,
the precision of plans of destruction,
the music of lament, and the cleansing
of the earth. Hatred wears its apparel
magnificently—storm-cloud tones,
stark colors of spite, dark and terrible.
Beautiful the timely exchanges
of laughter and sobs, of having
and losing it all.
Physician and terrorist take turns.
As the wise ones say,
Wherever you are, be there.
It might be your time.

Three Perspectives on Chasing the Wind
Ecclesiastes 4

1. The preacher

Why chase the wind
if you can never catch it?
Go ahead. Become a follower
of tornados, camera in hand,
after the big story.
But know that the wind
is not to be trusted.
Even a small flower-ruffling
breeze will betray you
in the end, leave you holding
a fistful of nothing.

2. The poet

Why not? I’m not a grabber.
So much loveliness flies
out in front, ineffable, flirting
teasing promising nothing.
Nothing is fine with me
as long as I can keep reaching.
Believing in someday.

3. The fool

Holy or not,
I’m the fool.
I’m giving my life
to chase the wind
until she finally
catches me.

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