the sweetness of honey
verdant fields, flowers abound
water gushes from earth’s bosom
Today’s prompt is “milk.” It calls to mind Chapter 4 of King Solomon’s “Song of Songs.” In the section called “Memories of Engagement,” the main character, known only as Lover, says to his Beloved:
Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue.
Solomon was quite the expert on engagements–he had 700 wives. He also had about 300 concubines, but presumably was not engaged to any of them. How did he keep track of them all, without the modern convenience of a database? One imagines him walking through the palaces with a bevy of executive assistants, reminding him of his lovers’ and children’s names so that he can greet them.
With his propensity for multiple dalliances, and his unrivalled drive to marry foreign princesses for diplomatic reasons, it’s amazing that he was able to express such a beautiful and poetic vision of romantic love and marriage.
Some scholars believe that the Song of Songs is about God’s love for Israel, or Christ’s relationship with His church. But the sensuality and sexuality of the language goes far beyond a pure and chaste relationship.
With 1,000 wives and lovers, did Solomon ever achieve true love? Or does the Lover sing only of physical beauty and sexual desire? I like to think that the Song of Songs is a celebration not only of youthful desire, but also the possibilities of a life lived with love.
Today’s photo is by Tom Tolkien, one of my favorite photographers. For more of his brilliant work, see Tom’s photostream on Flickr.
NaHaiWriMo’s writing prompts can be found on their Facebook Page here.
Lots of lovely haiku can also be found on their Facebook timeline.