“In the day
When the guards of the house tremble,
The strong men are bent.
The women who grind cease working
Because they are few.
Those who look through the windows see dimly.
The doors on the street are shut.
The sound of the grinding is low.
One rises up at the sound of a bird.
All the daughters of song are brought low.
When one is afraid of heights,
The terrors are in the road.
The almond tree blossoms.
The grasshopper drags itself along.
Because all must go to their eternal home.
The mourners will go about the streets.
The silver cord is snapped.
The golden bowl is broken.
The pitcher is broken at the fountain.
The wheel is broken at the cistern.
The dust returns to the earth as it was.
The spirit returns to God who gave it.”
This is an ode to old age. The dying old man, with his many servants and guards, comes to an end. The guards tremble. The strong men bend over. The women grinders stop their dancing. They can only see dimly out the window. Everyone has shut their doors. The grinders have ceased. Morning comes early with the first sound of a bird. There are no more singing young girls. The old man is afraid of heights. He dreads going out on the road because of the fear of attack. The old people tend to walk awkwardly like a grasshopper. Their desires fail maybe due to incompetence. The trees still blossom, but the mourners are out on the streets. The signs of death, the snapped silver cord, the broken gold bowl, and the broken pitcher at the fountain all take place. The wheel was broken at the cistern. They return to dust, but their spirit or breath returns to God. This is a depressing description of old age, just before death, along with the symbolic actions that go with death.