How sweet are His words
Ears test words as the tongue tastes food
Taste and see that the Lord is good
For Day 28 of Na/GloPoWriMo, NaPoWriMo.net reminded us that many poems explore the sight or sound or feel of things, and Proust famously wrote about the memories evoked by smell. The prompt challenge was to write a poem that explores your sense of taste – this could be a poem about food, or wine, or even the oddly metallic sensation of a snowflake on your tongue.
This poem drew inspiration from the Old Testament, and in particular lines from Job and the Psalms.
“Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his hordes:
“‘Who can be compared with you in majesty?
Consider Assyria, once a cedar in Lebanon,
with beautiful branches overshadowing the forest;
it towered on high,
its top above the thick foliage.
The waters nourished it,
deep springs made it grow tall;
their streams flowed
all around its base
and sent their channels
to all the trees of the field.
So it towered higher
than all the trees of the field;
its boughs increased
and its branches grew long,
spreading because of abundant waters.
All the birds of the sky
nested in its boughs,
all the animals of the wild
gave birth under its branches;
all the great nations
lived in its shade.
It was majestic in beauty,
with its spreading boughs,
for its roots went down
to abundant waters.
The cedars in the garden of God
could not rival it,
nor could the junipers
equal its boughs,
nor could the plane trees
compare with its branches—
no tree in the garden of God
could match its beauty.
I made it beautiful
with abundant branches,
the envy of all the trees of Eden
in the garden of God.
“‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
Because the great cedar towered over the thick foliage,
and because it was proud of its height,
I gave it into the hands of the ruler of the nations,
for him to deal with according to its wickedness.
I cast it aside, and the most ruthless of foreign nations cut it down and left it.
Its boughs fell on the mountains and in all the valleys;
its branches lay broken in all the ravines of the land.
All the nations of the earth came out from under its shade and left it.
All the birds settled on the fallen tree, and all the wild animals lived among its branches.
Therefore no other trees by the waters are ever to tower proudly on high,
lifting their tops above the thick foliage.
No other trees so well-watered are ever to reach such a height;
they are all destined for death, for the earth below,
among mortals who go down to the realm of the dead.
Does not wisdom call out?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
At the highest point along the way,
where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
beside the gate leading into the city,
at the entrance, she cries aloud:
“To you, O people, I call out;
I raise my voice to all mankind.
You who are simple, gain prudence;
you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.
There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
For six years sow your fields
and harvest the crops,
During the seventh
let them lie unploughed and unused;
Do the same with your vineyards
and your olive groves;
Then the poor among your people
may get food from it,
And the wild animals
may eat what is left;
For the seventh year is to be
a year of sabbath rest,
A sabbath to the Lord.
When you reap the harvest
of your land,
Do not reap to the very edges
of the field,
Nor gather the gleanings
of your harvest.
Do not go over your vineyard
a second time,
Nor pick up the grapes
that have fallen:
Leave them for the poor
and the foreigner.
I am the Lord your God.
The Na/GloPoWriMo Day 22 prompt at NaPoWriMo.net challenge us to write a georgic. The original georgic poem was written by Virgil, and while it was ostensibly a practical and instructional guide regarding agricultural concerns, it also offers political commentary on the use of land in the wake of war. The georgic was revived by British poets in the eighteenth century, when the use of land was changing both due to the increased use of enlightenment farming techniques and due to political realignments such as the union of England, Scotland, and Wales. The georgic can be a simple set of instructions on how to grow or care for something, but it could also incorporate larger themes as to how land should be used (or not used), or for what purposes.
The lines above draw inspiration from the laws given to Israel and recorded in the bible’s Old Testament books of Exodus and Leviticus.
Cursed after the fall
The land remains beautiful
A new Heaven and new Earth
The hand of the Creator
‘To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, “You must not eat from it,” ‘Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.‘
– Genesis 3:17
‘Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.‘
– Revelation 21:1