A Poem for Sukkot: The Season Turns

It’s the festival of Sukkot – the holiday in which we (among many other things) liturgically chant from the book of Ecclesiastes.

Here, below, is my new version of the most famous part: Chapter 3, verses 1 through 8.

Kohelet 3:1-8

an eon turns to a millisecond
swing from here and to
there keeping rhythm here
to there and back again we are
born and we
die we plant and
we uproot
we kill we heal we
destroy and we rebuild again
we cry out and we laugh to the high
high heavens we throw stones and
gather them up once
more we embrace and we turn
away cast our eyes down
down to the ground we seek and
we lose we may yet find we
hoard and we purge we tear
and then sew back up we hold our tongues
and we scream like rain
we’re spitting in the wind
such a fine fine line between
love and hate and war
and peace enjoy it
while you can

7 thoughts on “A Poem for Sukkot: The Season Turns

  1. Thank you Brant for this incredibly powerful poem; The words were moving and I especially loved the cadence. It forced me to think, go back, read again, and think again.

  2. You have certainly put our time here into perspective. I find this piece from Ecclesiastes uncomfortable. It is so beautiful but it justifies just about anything as “having its time” ….

    • I know what you mean, Tina. “What do you mean there’ a time for war?

      Another way to look at it, tho, is to see this text not so much as justifying but as describing a hard reality, whether justifiable or not.

      • Precisely. It is the defining of hard reality that bothers me. I realize that some might disagree, but I’ve never thought that this is a good way to create or foment change. I see it as the part of judeo-christian tradition that pacifies individuals and populations. Like “the poor are always with us”. Sure that can be used (and you have, recently) to say that religion can teach us that we should attend to the poor; it can be just as much a justification for allowing pockets of poverty to continue. I think it might be useful for us to imagine another way (like John Lennon did, maybe?). I think there might be something important about another way – a divergent way – to envision the future.
        That doesn’t mean I don’t feel romantic about the turning of the seasons.

  3. Wonderful. We will read the new poem and the original Kohelet version together at our 22nd annual neighborhood Sukkoth open house this Sunday. Chag sameach, and thank you for sharing this creation.

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