Loss (Diane Elliot)

“Let us catch the foxes
the little foxes
that spoil the vineyards..
Song of Songs 2:15

In the garden
it is winter.
The overripe fruit
has long since fallen,
picked over by the birds,
stolen by passing creatures.

Once we lay belly to belly.
Our mouths drank from each other.
Then my soul, enraptured,
opened her door for you,
drunk with kisses,
vibrating to the song of your laughter.

“My beloved had turned and gone” (5:6)

But you hid from me,
and I rushed headlong into the night,
frantic for you.

“I sought you but did not find you
and the guards found me” (5:6)

Your heart sent out guards –
jokes, excuses, silence.
They bruised and wounded me,
stripped me of the mantle
of desire and illusion
behind which I, too, hid.

Once we lay belly to belly.
Our mouths drank from each other.
Now we meet for tea,
hug briefly,
drink each from our own cup,

how beautiful you are, my love
your eyes like doves
behind your veil (4:1)

exchange the tales of our lives
across a formica table.
Your blue-gray dancing eyes
meet my blue-green dancing eyes.
I wear my lined jacket
zipped up.

Once, in high summer,
we laughed and kissed and basked
in the glow of each others’ faces.
It is winter
in the garden.

O daughters of that sacred and elusive,
city of dreams,
ever-expanding heartspace of wholeness,
where lovers embrace with impunity,
naked, unashamed,
and ripe fruits hang always from
graceful branches,
I adjure you:
Do not wake or rouse love until
you’re ready for all of it!

From “Burgeoning Love: A Poem Cycle Based on the Song of Songs.” Used with permission of the author. Diane Elliot is a rabbinical student and instructor in Conscious Movement.

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