Double Nines (Considering Ecclesiastes)

I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 

Ecclesiastes 3:10,11

Double Nines

So distinguished sit the gentlefolk; they  
rest like royalty upon cherry-toned chairs. 
Bones skimpy, they place copper coins;        
the penny-plea metaphorical of empty lives.  
Are they God that they can 
discover His mysteries alone and without succor?  
All they do is idly yak:  
“And what of Agamemnon’s suffering kinswoman killer?” 
“Speaking of Clytemnestra so gore-steeped? 
What of the misty marshes of Pal-ul-don?” 
Despite their earnest games they come 
to no conclusions but the double twos. 
The doubles and everything: Heaven and   
Hell, life and death – theology is thrilling. 
Cold domino dots come by chance, 
not so this Truth, this worthy end. 
These tiles are symbolic of a 
true trail paved by the Lord – proceed. 
Minions, meanwhile, roll the bones, slipping 
them monotonously through their ten fallen fingers.  
They’ll not find Truth in chance; 
they pack coins, stack tiles in compartments. 
Someday soon we’ll find the matching nines. 

Editor’s Notes:

The extended metaphor Ben uses here is from a version of dominoes called Mexican Train dominoes our family played a lot. We played a version that used dominoes up to double nines. If you can’t play a domino you have to draw a “bone” (extra domino) and put a penny on your train at which point anyone can play on it. The round starting with the double nine would be the last round played.

“Pal-ul-don” is a lost world type place in some of the Tarzan books.

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Phill Lytle

I love: Jesus, my wife, my kids, my family, my friends, my church, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, 80s rock, the Tennessee Titans, Brandon Sanderson books, Band of Brothers, Thai food, music, books, movies, TV, writing, pizza, vacation, etc...

One thought on “Double Nines (Considering Ecclesiastes)

  • October 26, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    Always good to read anything that Ben wrote!


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