Song of Solomon 4 (NIV)
1 How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
descending from the hills of Gilead.
2 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn,
coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin;
not one of them is alone.
3 Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon;
your mouth is lovely.
Jenny Kissed Me
by Leigh Hunt (1784-1859)
Jenny kiss’d me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in!
Say I’m weary, say I’m sad,
Say that health and wealth have miss’d me,
Say I’m growing old, but add,
Jenny kiss’d me.
Your temples behind your veil
are like the halves of a pomegranate.
4 Your neck is like the tower of David,
built with courses of stone;
on it hang a thousand shields,
all of them shields of warriors.
5 Your breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle
that browse among the lilies.
LOVE IS . . . natural.
Love is supernatural, but love is also natural — like Christ, who is both fully God and fully man. Love “moves the sun and all the stars,” as Dante and the ancients knew. Love is the theme of nature’s song.
That is why the poet of this song, like all traditional love poets, finds and uses analogies throughout nature for human love. But modern sensibilities are more materialistic than those of the ancients, and so we need to be reeducated into at least one crucial feature of traditional imagery. These images are often based not on an empirical, visible likeness but on an emotional one. Consider the passage we have just read, for instance. Not one of the seven natural images is one of visible resemblance, except very remotely. If the reader thinks the writer is attempting that, the spell of the poetry not only will not work but also will work a counterspell of scorn and laughter. But if the reader understands the emotional equivalence, he will be able to enter into the poet’s secret world of fittingness.
Everything in nature can symbolize love because everything in nature was designed and created to manifest the God of love. “The heavens are telling the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). Every blade of grass is a blade of grace, a grace note in God’s Song.
–from Three Philosophies of Life, by Peter Kreeft
6 Until the day breaks
and the shadows flee,
I will go to the mountain of myrrh
and to the hill of incense.
7 You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
there is no flaw in you.
HERE is “You are so beautiful (to me)” by Joe Cocker.
8 Come with me from Lebanon, my bride,
come with me from Lebanon.
Descend from the crest of Amana,
from the top of Senir, the summit of Hermon,
from the lions’ dens
and the mountain haunts of leopards.
9 You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
you have stolen my heart
with one glance of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace.
10 How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much more pleasing is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your perfume
more than any spice!
11 Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
milk and honey are under your tongue.
The fragrance of your garments
is like the fragrance of Lebanon.
12 You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride;
you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.
13 Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates
with choice fruits,
with henna and nard,
14 nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes
and all the finest spices.
“When a spice is used raw, as is, you get one flavor,” says Raghavan Iyer, eminent Indian food writer and chef, who speaks with the precision and clarity of a veteran instructor. “When it’s ground, you get a second flavor. When it’s toasted, you get a third flavor. When it’s ground after it has been dry toasted, you get a fourth flavor.”
He pauses for a moment, and then presents the remaining options.
“When it’s sauteed in some kind of a fat, you get flavor number five,” he says. “If it’s ground after it’s sauteed, you get flavor number six. If it’s soaked in some liquid while it’s in the seed form, you get flavor number seven. If it’s ground after it has been soaked in liquid, you get flavor number eight.
“These are not subtleties, these are very distinct flavors,” he adds, emphatically. “All of a sudden… you take that and multiply it by the hundreds of different spices out there, and you’ve peeked into the world of Indian cooking. It’s that sophistication of flavors that come through from using the same ingredient in different ways.”
One spice — yet many delicious flavors. One spouse — yet many shining facets. One marriage — yet many glorious qualities.
15 You are a garden fountain,
a well of flowing water
streaming down from Lebanon.
16 Awake, north wind,
and come, south wind!
Blow on my garden,
that its fragrance may spread everywhere.
Let my beloved come into his garden
and taste its choice fruits.
from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael
There are two pots of lilies in my room. In one the flowers are large and perfect; in the other the bloom has missed something. It does not reach perfection.
A glance discovers the reason. Its leaves are dusty.
Awake O north wind — sharp, cold, unwelcome — and come, thou south — welcome by all — blow upon my garden. Round about us day by day these winds blow. They breathe the very breath of life upon us, for they come at the call of Him who is our Breath of Life.
Are we receiving all that they carry to us? Are we missing the blessed good of either the sharpness or sweetness, the desired or the undesired? Are those secret doors of the spirit, hidden from all eyes like the stomata on the underside of the leaf, wide open, clean, free from the dust of earth?
O Breath of Life whose winds blow about me now, let me be all open to Thee today.