Solomon and Augustine

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine. (Song of Solomon 1:2, King James Version)

Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue. The fragrance of your garments is like that of Lebanon. (Song of Solomon 4:11, New International Version)

Forsake me not my love but take me still into your arms
And I’ll reveal to you a multitude of worldly things
You are the moon that shines upon my dream and wakefulness
I am the sorceror that casts a spell to calm your sea
And on your beach I run and your webs I play
I take flight with the gulls
I am changing every day

Augustine – Gabriel Valla and Sam Pacetti – Union (click for mp3)

The Song of Songs, or the Song of Solomon, from the Old Testament is a poem originally written in Hebrew that uses positively sultry romantic metaphors and rich imagery from the natural world to describe the longing for God. It is a magnificent bit of the Bible, partly because the language of romantic love lends it a  modern and accessible feel.

I adore songs and poetry that use spiritual and romantic yearning as metaphors for each other in this way. While it is nowhere close to the rapture that is the Song of Songs, “Augustine,” on the album Union, is the best example I have found. Its lyrics are about a lost love rekindled, but the verse is so masterful that it is not clear who or what this love is. Augustine could be a person, or a place, or the theologian who wrote the Confessions. Sometimes I like to imagine this song is about St. Augustine, and sometimes the song resonates with my own longing for stability in truth, love, and beauty. Songs with such possibility for multiple meanings and interpretation are the ones that survive and follow us through all stages of our lives.

And the music is lovely. Gabriel Valla’s voice is crisp and warm as autumn leaves. Sam Pacetti’s guitar fills the soundspace with heavenly sufficiency, ebbing and rolling.

I could not find the lyrics anywhere online, which seemed like a shame, so I have transcribed them below.

Disclaimer: The mp3 and lyrics are of course (c) Gabriel Valla, Sam Pacetti, and Waterbug Records, and the file provided is for sampling purposes only.

Gabriel Valla and Sam Pacetti – Union – “Augustine”

Hello old love it’s been some time since last we spoke
Since I have walked upon your skin into the evening breeze
Or scaled your fortress wall to free the fear that hides inside
I swear upon my life to you this time I’ll never leave
I am the prodigal son, returned to have my say
You’ll be my only mistress,
We’ll live and die this way

I hide inside my shell a prisoner to my foolish pride
Roam from town to town in search of deeper mystery
But there is only one who stirs the blood inside my bones
And in the solace of her arms is where I’m meant to be
And now I live, and now I lay me down
And when at last I die, it’s here I’ll be reborn

Augustine
Augustine
Augustine
Augustine

Forsake me not my love but take me still into your arms
And I’ll reveal to you a multitude of worldly things
You are the moon that shines upon my dream and wakefulness
I am the sorceror that casts a spell to calm your sea
And on your beach I run and your waves I play
I take flight with the gulls
I am changing every day

Augustine
Augustine
Augustine

Often times I’m left fearing what the future brings
Like some old god that knows it’s dying of disbelief
I walk your streets at night, I prowl beneath the harvest moon
Your breath will be the fog that blankets me through early spring
Come closer
I can take it all in
I am a soulless bastard
You’re the spell on my skin

Augustine
Augustine
Augustine

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2 thoughts on “Solomon and Augustine

    • C. Puls June 28, 2010 / 11:41 am

      my pleasure. glad you enjoyed it!

      Like

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