Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Cringe and Cope

Perhaps a little on the paraphrastic side.

Cringe of cringe, saith the Preacher,
cringe of cringe; everything is cringe.
What do you get from hustling everywhere?
Generation comes, generation goes,
the earth keeps staying.
Sun rises, sun sets;
exhausted, it ends up at the beginning.
Wind goes south, wind goes north;
it blows around, and is back again.
Rivers flow to the sea, the sea's never full;
the water cycles back.
Everything is hustling,
more than words can tell,
more than eye can see,
more than ear can hear.
What was, will be.
What was done, will be done.
Nothing's new anywhere.
Have you heard the buzz,
"This is the new thing"?
It's long been old hat.
We don't remember the way things were;
new generations won't remember the way they are.

I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
I studied to learn all about everything.
God has given everyone some pointless job.
I have seen everything everywere,
and, you know what?
Everything is cringe and cope.
What is broken can't be fixed.
What is missing can't be figured out.

I told myself, "I've learned a lot,
maybe more than anyone else in Jerusalem,"
and became a man in the know,
and I set out to know intelligence and stupidity.
I found that this is just cope.
Being smart is cope,
learning is frustration.

I told myself, "I'll try out pleasures."
You know what? This is also cringe.
I said of laughter, "This is crazy,"
and of pleasure, "This is pointless."
I thought about how to get drunk --
I was still being smart --
and about how to be stupid,
so I could find what would be worth doing.
I built great things.
I built houses and planted vineyards for myself.
I built myself gardens and parks, planted with fruit trees;
I built myself ponds to water them.
I had servants, more and more,
and more wealth than anyone else in Jerusalem.
I got silver and gold and the world's treasures.
I got live music and an entourage.
So I was greater than anyone else in Jerusalem,
and I was still being smart.
What I wanted, I got.
I didn't deny myself anything,
and I enjoyed the challenge.
And when I looked at what I had gained,
and all that I had hustled to get,
I found that it was all cringe and cope,
with nothing worth getting anywhere.

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