Leaf leaves the mother tree in its falling flight, descends to die in the earth at her feet. Leaf becomes soil, and soil becomes womb; leave the childbearing to winter’s chill and tales of a babe born and laid in a manger; selah. Tree becomes testament, and book is bound, its reflection white and glassy in the store window. Read the window, tell the tree to tell her tale in textbook and tome, story and poem, or Scripture born on a pale, thin skin; selah. Tomes of tombstones, one errant in the reflection while blurred winter wind and sky imprint onto the glass. Soil becomes tomb as another year goes to sleep, bedded down beneath snow, sidewalk, and an aging sun while rainbow lights color each cornflower Yule twilight; selah. Brownstones rise from the earth with aplomb while Christmas bells chime and call choruses forth. The choirs, the organs, and the digitally made song cannot reach the man, distant, imprinted in the window – distant and singular in this season of joy; selah. O glass, what more will you impart in this season of both ashen day and resplendent night? Birth and death pass each other with wary, cautious eyes, unsure of the true ruler of these days – is it the cold claiming our breath or the warmth of our hearts? Selah.
© 2011 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.
This poem was written for this week’s We Write Poems Prompt. My poem ended up being a psalm based on how the images in the picture called out to me and the interplay between them — and the words associated with them.
“Selah” is a word used rather frequently in the psalms of the Torah/the Old Testament of Bible. According to Wikipedia, it is “a difficult concept to translate”; it might be a liturgical instruction or indicate an instrumental break. Anglican clergyman and Biblical scholar E.W. Bullinger believed that it was a conjunction between two verses of a psalm, possibly to illustrate a contrast or a cause-and-effect relationship. The suggested meaning that caught my eye the most — and is how the term is intended to be used in this poem — is “pause, and think of that”, which is how the term is translated in the Amplified Bible.