Lean on Him

after Ecclesiasties

We labor long beneath the sun.
Forgotten soon by everyone.
We come from dust and end the same,
Depart this life just like we came.
It’s all just chasing wind because
Whatever is already was,
And what will be has been before,
There’s nothing new forevermore.

We die just like each bird and beast,
The ones thought great, just like the least.
The poor ignored, the rich find fame.
Despite it all, we end the same
As life and death, the sun and rain
Repeat their cycles once again.
It’s all the same for everyone
There’s nothing new beneath the sun.

Our shoulders stooped by all we’ve seen,
We look for strength on which to lean.
Some lean on what they understand.
Their knowledge is just shifting sand.
Some lean on leaders of the land
Whose staffs leave splinters in each hand.
No worldly strength on which we lean
Can bear our weight as we’ve all seen.

There’s but one rock on which to lean.
It’s everywhere though still unseen.
It doesn’t sit on shifting sand.
It’s stable ground on which to stand.
It can’t be weathered by the wind.
It brings relief for those who’ve sinned.
The only way to find release
From chasing wind is through God’s peace.



Warren Bonham is a private equity investor who lives in Southlake, Texas 

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14 Responses

  1. jd

    This is a wonderful message to greet the day, Warren. Sounds like it meets all the parameters of classical poetry too. Thank you for it.

  2. Jeffrey Essmann

    Wonderful, jd. Thanks so much for this. It softens the edge of the Ecclesiastes original without going mushy and “positive” and beautifully heightens the theme of trust in God. Thanks again.

  3. Jeffrey Essmann

    Sorry. I meant “Warren”, not “jd”.

    (Time for more coffee…)


  4. Roy Eugene Peterson

    Well-conceived and executed poem with a message we all need to take to heart. “There’s but one rock on which to lean.”

  5. Russel Winick

    Excellent rhyme and flow. Very poignant, faithful to the original. Fine work, Warren.

  6. Morrison Handley-Schachler

    A very good clear message and images, with good echoes of the book. A very good read.

  7. Paul Freeman

    As Russel points out, excellent rhyme and flow.

    The shorter than iambic pentameter line lengths of the rhyming couplets increases the difficulty of finding a rhyme word, I would have thought – but masterfully achieved.

    Thanks for the read, Warren.

  8. Cynthia Erlandson

    This is quite an impressive summary of Ecclesiastes, a book with which I’ve been fascinated since my teen years. (I, too, have written about it.) “Whatever is already was, / And what will be has been before.” and “Whose staffs leave splinters in each hand.” are especially great lines.

    • Warren Bonham

      Thanks for the encouraging comments from everyone! I did steal the splintered staff line from Isaiah 36:6
      “Look, I know you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the hand of anyone who leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him.”

  9. André Wilson

    This is an excellent poem in terms of sentiment and execution. Thank you for sharing and for caring.

  10. C.B. Anderson

    Very neat, Warren. You’ve put a good handle on a number of pressing issues. The first and last couplets of the second stanza say it all.

  11. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Warren, I love this poem. It’s full of truth, beauty, and wisdom. The chosen form with its musicality and repeating message is most effective… and the fact that it sums up Ecclesiastes so perfectly is a shining highlight. Thank you!

  12. Margaret Coats

    This poem is a true adaptation of the Biblical text, reflecting the original and the meditations of the author. Bringing Ecclesiastes and Isaiah together for the staffs that “leave splinters in each hand” is an inspired touch. That last couplet is a fine conclusion because, despite all the “nothing new” in the poem, it’s unexpected.

  13. Yael

    I love this beautifully re-phrased version of the ancient preacher. It flows so naturally and elevates the thoughts, thank you.


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