1 I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.
Even though I wrestle with my worth, I know that I am a cherished rose, a flower among flowers that is tender to the touch and in need of deliberate and delicate treatment.
2 Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens.
I have been taught by my father to view you as such, but I’m not so naïve to think that thorns don’t surround your beauty. I can see how you standout among your peers, but thorns accompany them as well; they are easy to see. I want to protect your silky pedals from the thorns that would undo you should you be left alone to your own devices.
3 Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
You are outstanding among your peers, my handsome man! You cast a long shadow as you stand among them rendering them unseen; out of sight, out of mind. I love sitting in the shade of your strength, the fruit of your integrity falls about me and I eat of its sweetness, thank you for putting yourself to the test down through the years; your character is stout because of this self-leadership.
4 He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.
I love being your princess and going out with you in the presence of others. It’s like there is this banner over us that says, “She is mine, so keep your hands and eyes off of her.” That makes me feel wanted, safe in your jealous love.
5 Strengthen me with raisins; refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love.
Our conversations feed me; you know how to speak into my deep heart unlike so many men I’ve met along the way. I leave our times together refreshed and impassioned. I always have to be careful when I’m around you, because I start feeling faint and out of control, like I could lose my wits and fall for anything you would offer me. I’m not used to feeling so taken by my passions.
6 His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me.
When we are kissing in the meadow, there is nothing like feeling your hand behind my head as you gently tip me over and caress my body with your other hand. It makes me feel a rush of excitement that borders on naughty, if that makes any sense. I’ve always dreamed of being held by a strong man.
7 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.
But the thing that keeps me from going all the way with you in those moments of passion is what my father used to say: “Honey, there is a time and a place for sexual passion and it is marriage. Do not flirt with disaster by waking it up before you say your vows and cutting that divine covenant.” It’s so hard, because I’m aroused and ready to offer myself to you, but I can’t get my father’s refrain out of my head when things are getting steamy between us.
8 Listen! My lover! Look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills.
When I’m with you, sometimes I daydream: I can hear the hoofs of a horse barreling over the hill toward my bedchamber. I know you’re coming for me. Pursuing me with fierce affection. My heart seizes with deep joy.
9 My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look! There he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice
You are, to me, a buck in rut at times. You can’t think of anything else but me. I can’t say as I mind this unadulterated fondness you have for me. Sometimes I even catch you looking at me through a crowd of people or a threshold between rooms; you really are love-struck, aren’t you?
10 My lover spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. 11 See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. 12 Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. 13 The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.”
When I imagine you speaking to me, I dream of you saying something like, ‘Arise, my love, my ravishing and irresistible one, and come away with me and only me. The long season of guarding our purity is over, that cold winter of abstinence that kept our love frozen in place. Spring is in the air, the land is thawing and flowers are pressing through the warming earth. Just as seeds are bursting out of their shell that has contained them, it is time to let our love blossom without restriction. Arise, come away with me and let us enjoy the freedom of each other’s boundless love. I have been waiting my whole life to share myself with you.”
14 My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.
I can’t handle your daydreams, they make me sweat with hot-blooded passion. However, I’m very much aware that when that day comes, you will still hide in insecurity, like a dove backed in between the rocks protecting itself from a faceless perpetrator. I’ve come toward you like you’ve described before and I’ve seen you hide your face, turning from my love. Will you do this when I come for you? Will you always run from my love? Listen to me! I love to hear you express your thoughts and ideas and dreams, don’t silence yourself because you think you’re stupid. Show me that gorgeous face that holds me hostage; don’t hide behind another self-inflicted veil. I want to see you, through and through. Please believe me when I say your voice and face have no price tag.
15 Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.
It’s curious really, but it seems like just when things couldn’t be any better, you get scared and something attacks our relationship. It’s almost like little foxes burrow holes under the vines of our love killing the roots slowly causing the fruit to shrivel and fall off the vines before harvest time. Don’t you feel like that sometimes, like an outside force is seeking to tear us apart from each other, creating division and confusion between us? I won’t let this happen, but you have to help me. We have too much good between us to let stupid issues get the best of us. I will fight off these demons if it costs me my life.
16 My lover is mine and I am his; he browses among the lilies. 17 Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, turn, my lover, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the rugged hills.
When you talk like that, I feel so protected. It’s like my heart rests secure and all I hear inside my head is “I am his and he is mine”. So keep fighting until every shadow flees and the night is broken by the breaking of the dawn. Never stop turning toward the darkness to fight off the fiery darts of the foe. Be that stag on the side of the mountain that fights off every other male vying for preeminence in this territory, every other dark presence that would seek to prey on my heart and the heart of our relationship. Be the king of the mountain, I will cheer you on from the bottom of the hill saying, “That’s my man. He never backs down. He never gives up. He fights to the death for my heart. I am his and he is mine.”