My newest poetry book in what was a big 12 months (published in Apple Books on 23 December 2020) is a treatment of The Song of Songs, Proverbs, The Book of Job, Psalms and Ecclesiastes (Qohelet in Hebrew) - the Poetry Books of the Old Testament. Available only in Apple Books format (free!) at the moment.
'Selah' is an obscure (untranslatable) term used only in Psalms - which seems to indicate an end/beginning point in a song. I try to find a narrative thread between these books, and their original authors.
I am not religious, nor a scholar of early middle-eastern or semitic languages. This is not a translation, but rather a ‘treatment’ (from a poetic perspective) of what are generally referred to as the ‘poetry books’ of the Old Testament. My project has been to construct a narrative flow between these works. I do this by imagining the individuals who might have been in a position to write the unedited first draft of them (because someone must have) ...
From Qohelet (Section 12):
and because Qohelet was wise
he passed on the knowledge
that flowed through his eyes
into his brush
in every way he could
he pieced together many books
some in verse to arouse the most jaded ear
others the record of great intellects
joined in instructive combat!
proverbs to order the mind
songs to soothe desolation
all rendered fit
for pious readers
wise words formed the stencil
from which a craftsman
could ply his trade:
and if the products of his labour
goaded readers to reflect on their lives
what better reward
for a collector of barbs and hooks
fit for the taking of wild life!
and the last words he passed down to his son
(he who had passed along so many!)
was a warning:
‘of making books there is no end
and study will weary your flesh
so have an end to this matter
for these are the words of God
to follow them the whole duty of men
for God alone judges every deed
and fits it into His own book
and knows every secret
both good and evil’
so said Qohelet