Monday, March 07, 2005

Song of Songs

I just thought I'd share with you one of THE MOST beautiful love poems of all time. It comes from the book "Song of Songs (Solomon)" in the bible. These poems were written to express the great joys that God has given us through romantic love. I have decided to look at chapter 3:1-5 and analyze the beauty behind the words:

1 All night long on my bed
I looked for the one my heart loves;
I looked for him but did not find him.
2 I will get up now and go about the city,
through its streets and squares;
I will search for the one my heart loves.
So I looked for him but did not find him.
3 The watchmen found me
as they made their rounds in the city.
"Have you seen the one my heart loves?"
4 Scarcely had I passed them
when I found the one my heart loves.
I held him and would not let him go
till I had brought him to my mother's house,
to the room of the one who conceived me.
5 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.

This is a beautiful poem about true and lasting love between God's intended partners: man and woman. The words fo this poem are spoken by the 'Beloved' to her 'lover' and exude much passion and longing. The poem opens by talking about "All night long," which is undoubtedly symbolic of the freedom that night allows from the confines and distractions of the day. At night, one can be completely focussed on their lover without being distracted by other things. This poem sets up a scenario where the beloved is searching desparately for her lover. It gives the impression that there is a deep longing to be reunited with him in order to quench her burning desires to see him again. In verses 2 & 3, we see that the beloved searches high and low for her lover, asking people she meets if they know of his whereabouts. One can almost feel her desparation when she asks the watchmen: "Have you seen the one my heart loves?" What ensues in this poem is the announcement of the beloved that she has finally found her lover. As such, she embraces him (and from the tone of the poem, we can no doubt assume that this was a rather passionate reunion - "I held him and would not let him go"). What this poem tries to do is to let God communicate to us that love is a beautiful thing. It is not something to scorn or shy away from - it is God's gift to the married couple. But what is particularly important about this poem is the warning that it poses at the end: "Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you/by the gazelles and the does of the field:/Do not arouse or awaken love/until it so desires." Here we see the warning of one woman to many other women: while love is a wonderful thing, do not be quick to become entangled in it. Wait to arouse love until it is appropriate.

What is futher interesting about this poem is the way that it is structured. The entirety of the poem is written in free verse, which in my mind, serves to emphasize the freeing nature of romantic love. While there are rules set forth by God pertaining to love, this poem serves to emphasize that in the godly relationship, love is indeed freeing. Furthermore, now this might be a stretch, but to me, this poem slightly resembles a sonnet because of the last stanza of the poem which serves as a warning. In the sonnet, the last couplet often poses a reality to its reader, and I think that that is what this portion of the poem from Song of Songs is doing. It is warning women not to be quick to engage in love, but to wait for it.

Now this is the kind of love that we should all aspire too!!!!!


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