Thursday, February 29, 2024

More poems from Ecclesiastes

 Under the Sun
Ecclesiastes 4

There be dragons
on the margins of old maps,
warning not to venture near the edge.
But perils also threaten
within the borders.
Under the sun there be

--the disposed in southern Gaza
and the armies that keep them there
--bombed out villages
and the scorched fields of Ukraine
--homeless in Portland
and refugees on the border with Mexico
--urban loneliness
--politicians whose ambition
robs them of integrity

Meaningless, the preacher tells us.
All misery on the third planet from the sun.

I half believe him.

Be Quiet
Ecclesiastes 5:1-2

The monks and the Quakers
have it right.
Best not to disturb the silence
of holiness. Be like a squirrel,
tail in the air, stone-still,
alert. Worship is dangerous.
A lot is happening
on the forest floor.
Above your head
more than the leaves are moving.
Be quiet. Listen.
He's coming.

After the Dissertation
Ecclesiastes 6

I wonder why I did it.
All that work. All that money.
All that time. And for what?
I briefly became the world expert
on an infinitesimal piece
of human knowledge
that became obsolete
within a year.

I now have a title
which, Quaker
that I am,

I never use.

Ecclesiastes 7:1-2

Instead of a baby shower
I’d host a death shower
except that I know
my dead friend
won’t bother to come.

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