Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Mene, mene, tekel, u-pharsin

Is this as far as we have gone; white stone
or a brazen serpent to look upon?
Such a heavy asp to wrap around a staff
or beam; “Mene, mene, tekel, u-pharsin.”
I shall take a great leap in the air and
hold as long as I can and only then.
Let the piper sound my fall. If he will.

Gordon Kingston

1 comment:

Littlestone said...

Gordon writes -

"The reference is from the book of Daniel, when Belshazzar’s feast is interrupted by a hand writing four words on the wall (expression: ‘the writing is on the wall‘). After exhausting ‘the exorcists, Chaldaeans, and diviners’, Daniel is sent for to make an interpretation:
“And these are the words of the writing which was inscribed: Mene mene tekel u-pharsin. Here is the interpretation: mene: God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; tekel: you have been weighed in the balance and found wanting; u-pharsin: and your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
Literally - numbered, numbered, weighed, divided.

The ‘brazen serpent’ is from Numbers 21:
“Moses therefore pleaded with the Lord for the people; and the Lord told Moses to make a serpent of bronze and erect it as a standard, so that anyone who had been bitten could look at it and recover.”


http://www.nationalgallery.org[...].woa/wa/work?workNumber=ng6350 "