I love writing sonnets, but typically use the Elizabethan (Shakespearean ) style. Today I decided to write a Petrarchan (Italian) sonnet instead. This is my poetic response to Psalm 7, but it is not the Psalm itself. I would encourage you to read Psalm 7 in the translation of your choice.
I’ve also included a musical version of the Psalm by the group Poor Bishop Hooper for your enjoyment.
Most stealthily the lion stalks her prey
She cares not that her quarry would be free
An unsuspecting meal’s all she can see
And she’s determined it not get away
Her teeth and claws designed to tear and slay
The thought of fresh meat fills her heart with glee
And now: her quarry sees her; tries to flee
But can it run to live another day?
LORD save me from the wicked who pursue
Though i am innocent they claim my guilt
And like the lion they care for me not
Therfore in my distress I turn to you
Look through the flimsy case that they have built
And then turn back on them their evil plot
Hard work is needed for a crop to thrive,
and this labour does not instantly yield
results. It would be wrong, though, to arrive
at the conclusion: “toiling in this field
has no value.” Ask The Farmer who’s gone
through this process year after year. He’ll say
to you, “wait a week, then look once more on
this piece of earth. It won’t stay like today,
and in a few months you’ll see golden grain
where now you can only see the soil.
Wait for the results of the sun and rain
then enjoy the results of your toil.”
Although sometimes it may seem oh so slow
Those seeds that fall on fertile land will grow!
The Farmer won’t let things get it of hand
in any part of his business. Between
harvest and seeding, while snow hides the land,
it may seem that He’s nowhere to be seen,
but that is not the case. The Earth may sleep
beneath its wool blanket, but in His shop,
out of sight, the Farmer has tasks to keep
Him busy through the winter. He won’t stop
doing chores like mending harnesses or
resharpening ploughshares until the Spring’s
warm dawn pulls back the covers, and once more
He’ll work His land as He joyfully sings!
Even before the warmer months arrive
Hard work is needed for a crop to thrive
“The grass withers and the flowers fail, but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:8
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
The crops that grow will struggle to survive
in those years when the sky seems hard as brass.
When rain is scarce, how can anything thrive?
All fades…withers…like the flowers and grass
But if you watch the Farmer, you will see
that he toils all day long, bringing pail
after pail of water from the stream. He
won’t willingly allow his crops to fail
Around his land, the earth is cracked and dry;
The Farmer’s fields, though, are fertile and green.
It’s when rain clouds don’t appear in the sky
that the Farmer’s work is most clearly seen
Though our lives often don’t go as we’d planned,
the Farmer won’t let things get out of hand.
If rocks or thorns are left upon the ground
by those who have been hired to tend to
his field, the Farmer won’t keep them around
very long. Instead, He will look for new
farmhands who will care for the land. The crop
is, after all, the purpose of His field.
He will seek for workers who will not stop
striving to find ways to increase the yield
produced by the land. Labourers like these
are worth every penny that they are paid,
but woe to those who do not seek to please
the Farmer. They have cause to be afraid!
Without care taken to help the plants thrive
The crops that grow will struggle to survive.
Just a note about the image: I decided to try my hand at drawing a thistle. I’ve never been much of an artist, but had the desire to try anyways. Watercolor pencils on paper. I utilized the “watercolor” aspect of the pencils in the top of the thistle only.
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. -Lk 2:16-18, NIV
All at the same time they began to talk
“Let us go and do as the angel said!”
They quickly found a safe place for their flock
that they might go and find the manger bed
In Bethlehem the shepherds found the boy
exactly as the angel had foretold
and when they saw him, they were filled with joy:
this was their Saviour promised from of old!
that night before the Lamb those shepherds bowed
those keepers of the sheep a Shepherd sought
and then they could not help but speak aloud
about that infant in his straw filled cot
The shepherds’ whole world changed that Holy Night
and so they shared the News with great delight!
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” -Lk 2:13-45, NIV
The firmament exploded then in song
as Heaven’s choir filled the nighttime sky
What praise burst forth from that angelic throng!
an adoration song to the Most High!
The angels sang of peace for those on earth
for whom God’s gracious favour had been laid
when they’d proclaimed the Saviour’s wondrous birth
the impact of their message did not fade
So once again the shepherds bowed down low
but now in worship rather than in fear
their own praise song began to quickly grow
as they thought how God’s Promised One was near
and then those shepherds all with one accord
agreed to go and meet the Infant Lord
“…I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” -Lk 2:10b-12, NIV
The angel told them that he brought good news
that on this night, Messiah had been born
the long-expected Light for all the Jews
had come as though a long awaited morn
In nearby Bethlehem the angel said
wrapped up in cloth they’d find the infant boy
laid in a trough instead of in a bed
an infant sleeps who’ll bring the whole earth Joy!
In wonder, now, they listened to the voice
that spoke to them of prophecy fulfilled
those fearful men had cause now to rejoice
and as the angel spoke their hearts were thrilled
Those lowly shepherds now stood over-awed
for they’d received a message straight from God
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news…” (Lk.2:9,10a NIV)
But then, Behold! the middle of the night
the shepherds watch lest one of their sheep stray
when suddenly appeared a blazing light:
a man who shone as brightly as the day
In dread the shepherds fell upon the ground
their terror was too great for them to flee
Struck dumb with fear they could not make a sound
nor did they dare look up that they might see
No predator had come to steal their sheep
Instead had come a messenger from God
who spoke then with a voice both rich and deep
unto those men cast down upon the sod:
“Arise dear shepherds, cast away your fear
Good News I bring tonight, be of good cheer!”
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. -Lk 2:8 (NIV)
A group of shepherds watched their flocks that night
another night like countless nights before
they had the stars and moon above for light
perhaps a fire too, but nothing more
maybe tonight they’d face a fox or bear
that they’d drive off with rocks tossed from a sling
but probably they’d face hardly a scare
they’d play their flutes and one of them would sing
like countless nights before and nights to come,
this night would surely be more of the same
while one of them tapped lightly on a drum
the rest of them would play a quiet game
not one of them would say this night was strange
how could they know that soon their world would change?