You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride;
you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.
Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits,
with henna and nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes
and all the finest spices. You are a garden fountain,
a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon.
—Song of Songs 4:12–15
Song of Songs is an extended love poem. It describes the passion a man has for a woman: “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!” (Song of Songs 4:1), as well as the love a woman has for a man: “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine” (Song of Songs 1:2).
But Solomon is speaking of something beyond physical desire. The lover is compared to a garden fed by a spring of “flowing water,” a garden abundantly provided with every kind of fruit and sustenance. This place, so fair and plentiful, resembles the original garden, Eden, where the first man and woman lived in harmony with God and with nature. It was a place created in love and for love, the love between God, the Creator, and Man, the one he created.
The love of a man for a woman should be understood as a copy of the original. We long to be in a place where love and abundance abide; this garden is “an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices.”
Love is a garden where peace, joy, and intimacy exist. We may have lost our place in the original garden long ago, but that does not mean that we have lost the longing to return.
—from Eric Kampmann's, Signposts