a poet’s bible

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As I was reading this morning, I reached for David Rosenberg’s A Poet’s Bible: Rediscovering the Voices of the Original Text and his translation of parts of Job and Ecclesiastes took me on a wonderful little journey.

A Poet’s Bible

I found it used, on the shelf
in the basement of the Harvard
Bookstore, one blurb proclaiming,

“The best translation of this century,”
yet relegated to life among the
remnants and returned, years ago.

And this morning, after coffee and
my own reflection on my daily
work, I found it again and pulled

it from my own shelf and a place
it had sat unread far too many
days for a best translation.

I opened to Ecclesiastes
(turn, turn, turn)
to see how the poet heard what

I know by heart because he knew
the words behind the words,
all unrecognizable consonants

to me, running right to left,
as if we were playing the record
backwards to see what was being

secretly said; but there’s no secret
when I can sit and listen to
my life, to his words:

the grace to be still
in the flow of all creation

for a moment

I read it repeatedly in silence
and the chill of this rainy morning
glistening with the grace that has

traversed millennia, transcended
language, and is aged with the
understanding of fallen leaves and

broken branches, life and death,
failure and hope: used books,
used lives found in translation.

Peace,
Milton

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