a poet’s bible


    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.


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