“Vanity of Vanities” by Lois Barr

Nuestras vidas son los ríos/que van a dar en la mar,/que es el morir, Jorge Manrique
To everything turn! Turn! Turn! Pete Seeger

I am Kohelet
son of David so to speak
a heavy burden for any poet
I have feasted and fasted
massed great wealth
and forsaken it all
all shall be forgotten
all driven by the wind
the oak shall be uprooted
the silver cord snaps,
and the golden bowl
is shattered, and the pitcher
is broken at the fountain,
and the wheel is smashed
at the pit
all goes to mold,
ashes and dust
again I say and again
let me say again
the wind, the wind,
the circling, funneling,
wind in a lover’s laugh
sweet breath of babes
coyote’s howl at dusk
dark tombstone whistles
in vain I preach
futility of futilities
and yet
as the sun slowly rises
I rise to speak again.
I, Kohelet, am wise

The citations within the poem are from Koheles, translated by Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz, Mesorah Publications, Brooklyn, 1989.