Alone in the sukkah, Kohelet* and me
“Havel, havalim,” he tells my coffee’s rising steam.
Yes, “vapor, all is vapor,” I’m willing to agree.
Lifebreath can’t remain for long
and the future can’t be told.
But does that make life “futile”
or just make it hard to hold.
*The Book of Kohelet, or Ecclesiastes, is read during Sukkot. This book includes the “time for every purpose under heaven” verses (3:1-8) which Pete Seeger used for “Turn, Turn, Turn.”
The words of Kohelet son of David, king in Jerusalem.
Utter futility! –said Koheleth —
Utter futility! All is futile! [havel havalim ha-kol havel]
What real value is there for a man
In all the gains he makes beneath the sun? (1:1-3, Jewish Publication Society translation)
This poem was originally written for Shemini Atzeret services with Fabrangen Havurah (around 1999?).
Alone in the Sukkah by Virginia A. Spatz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.