"Croesus Showing Solon His Riches" by Frans Francken IIEcclesiastes 6, Recast in Classical Poetry, by T.M. Moore The Society August 5, 2020 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 6 Comments Full Lives, Empty Souls after Ecclesiastes 6 There is an evil I have seen in those who live beneath the sun: A man to whom God gives both wealth and riches, and who knows respect among his peers, whose every room is filled with everything he might desire, yet God does not allow him to consume his bounty, because enemies conspire against him: This is evil vanity. A man might live for many years and sire a hundred children, but his soul not be content, or satisfied with goodness. Or he may not have a decent burial. He, I say, is much to be lamented, for a stillborn child is better off than he. It comes in death and vanity; what’s more, the light of day the stillborn does not see, and nothing does it know. Yet it has rest that never is and shall not ever be to him who lives long, but who fails the test of goodness. For the same place waits for all – the darkness of the grave. Men will invest their energies and efforts in things small and great to satisfy their bellies; but their soul in turmoil lies, a knotted ball of discontent and vanity. For what does any wise man have more than the fool? What does the poor man have, who has no glut of goods, nor knows how he should live, what rule of life should govern all his actions? He is wise who knows contentment, whose eyes school him more than his vain lusts. It’s vanity and grasping for the wind to make of things beyond your reach or ken your deity. Would you contend with God, vain man, who brings to Him your folly and your discontent? Add more of fleeting fun and foolish things unto your life. You’ll wonder where you went wrong as your vanity increases. Will compounding folly make you wise? You’ve spent your years in vanity, but God will still be God. For who knows what is good for man? Do you? And will you think this way until you die? Your life is but a shadowland, filled with vain thoughts, hard labor, hours of fun, frustrations, and defeats on every hand. And look around you: Is there anyone who can make sense of life beneath the sun? T.M. and Susie Moore make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont. He is Principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, and the author of 8 books of poetry. He and Susie have collaborated on more than 30 books, which may be found, together with their many other writings and resources, including the daily teaching letter Scriptorium, at www.ailbe.org. NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to email@example.com. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 6 Responses David O'Neil August 5, 2020 Ecclesiastes is my favorite book of the Bible, and this is lovely verse translation–natural idiom within a taut metrical scheme. Reply T.M. August 6, 2020 Thanks, David. Reply Cynthia Erlandson August 5, 2020 I absolutely LOVE this! I have been obsessed with the book of Ecclesiastes since my teen years. And the terza rima (one form I’ve been too intimidated to try yet) is brilliant! Reply T.M. August 6, 2020 Thank you. Reply James Sale August 6, 2020 A fine piece of writing; it’s extremely difficult to write effectively in terza rima and this is done superbly well. I think Ecclesiastes is an ideal book to versify in this way: there is a pithy directness in the original, but also a narrative drive, and this version captures both aspects extremely well. The final couplet is decisive and very powerful. This is classic poetry at its best and I hope this whole undertaking finally produces a volume of Ecclesiastes which will be great to read as an alternative version. Reply T.M. August 6, 2020 Thanks, James. Very kind. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.