Wednesday, 20 January 2016


You had them all ‑ the ivory throne
With guardian lions; the palace of the house
Of Lebanon; vast revenues of gold;
Widespread domains and exotic embassies;
Each day's thirty oxen, its hundred sheep,
Harts and gazelles; a splendid palanquin
Enhanced by your sixty swordsman escort;
You had them all ‑ but not these only ‑
To probe a matter, the glory of kings,
One sword for wisdom and for justice,
Solutions to enigmas, three thousand proverbs,
With your own ascent to your God's house,
And desire and skill for songs and psalms ‑
All the accoutrements of monarchy.

And of these songs one only was the Song of Songs,
Depiction of love and beauty, the incomparable ode
To rapture of love, loveliness, cruel jealousy ‑
The symbols apt in their sensuousness, apt to love,
Apt in their spirituality ‑ breathed through the love of God.

Not gardens only, nor beds
Of spices, interested you ‑
You knew the value of tillage:
"He who tills will be satisfied
With bread"; "Manual labour
Will increase wealth"; "Truth
And mercy will attend those
Who plough good". These were
Your kind of adage. But,
Did you follow your own advice?


I'm glad to hear how this strikes you!