New Year of the Trees = Rosh HaShana La’Ilanot in Hebrew. The meaning of the title and its connection to the poem will be discussed further in the appropriate section below (in Perspective five regarding “what it all means”).
After thinking through the overall poem, this is the outline I wrote before beginning the actual composition of the poem and its stanzas. I had by this time done a lot of reading about figs, drupelets, grafting, concepts of Chadash, etc. I had a lot of notes! Once I had done the background work, I worked out this outline:
I. Modus Operandi: It must be so.
II. Chadash: Inedible until the sacrifice.
III. Clingstone: The stone must be cut from the flesh.
IV. Shiv’at HaMinim: The acceptable sacrifice, the first fruits.
V. Drupelet: In every human heart is sorrow.
VI. Ficus Carica: Yet we are covered.
VII. QED: It is so.
The overall conceptual structure of the stanza subjects is a chiasm, an ancient form in classical literature, including in the Hebrew Old Testament, with the main point at the center (stanza 4): the acceptable sacrifice/the first fruits, with parallel surrounding language. Stanza 4’s center concept is surrounded by pairs of concepts – above it, the stone must be cut from flesh or the heart must become flesh, and below it, every heart bears sorrow. The pair surrounding those are the concepts of unsuitability until the sacrifice is made, paired with the fact that we are covered (by a great and last sacrifice). And ultimately, the pair the outer layers of the chasm at the beginning and end are: it must be so, and it is so. The first line – “it must be so.” The last stanza QED (it is demonstrated): “It is so – and surely it is so.”
In the first image above showing early work at outlining, dashed lines are evident at left showing the parallels I was working at constructing in the poem, with the center point marked by Shiv’at HaMinim.
Jump to any part of the annotation here (including directly to the stanza by stanza descriptions):
- The conceptual outline of the poem, generally
- The basic layout, in reference to the concept of the jubilee.
- The use of the word “selah”
- The sets of sevens
- A stanza by stanza review of some of what it all meansLinks to the stanzas for their individual “behind the scenes”: