Psalm Sunday – Psalm 7

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

~~

Psalm Sunday – Psalm 5

I love form poetry. I love the discipline of restricting my words to a set meter and rhyme, and so I rarely write free verse.  I was hoping to write a rondeau for Psalm 5, but everything seemed too forced.  I started writing in other forms too,  but nothing seemed to come together (hence why I didn’t post anything last Sunday).  The fact that nothing would come together caused me to believe that God wanted me to meditate more on this particular Psalm.  So I ended up going in the free verse direction so you can see some of what came to me in my reading and rereading of these words of David’s.

~~

Was David speaking of himself
when he spoke of his enemies?
Was he, himself, the wicked one
that God must surely hate?
Were arrogance,deceit and malice
vices that he struggled with?

I wonder, Lord, for when he asks
to be led down straight paths
he says to you that it’s because
of enemies he faces

And I, oh Lord, like David know
that you detest all forms of sin
and sin abounds within me Lord, and yet…

Because, oh Lord, of your great love
I can come bow before your throne
and though my sin is as a grave,
yet still Lord, I can come to you
and sing for joy…
…for you give me new life

Psalm Sunday – Psalm 4

When my children were younger, my wife and I taught them to recite Psalm 4:8 as part of their bedtime routine. “I go to bed and sleep in peace, because, LORD, only you keep me safe.” (New Century Version). This is a promise that I still often repeat…especially if I am facing stress or worries.

In this psalm, The Psalmist speaks of enemies and their lies, but also speaks of how he is able to sleep in peace because of the confidence he has in God. I wanted to reflect that in today’s poem. The last 2 lines of my poem repeat (as closely as I could stay to the NCV rendering as I could within my chosen meter) and expand upon Psalm 4:8. The form of the poem is called a “Fourteener” as there are 14 syllables per line.

~~

To sleep in peace, Lord, Ah! That is a treasure worth much more
than all the gold and riches that the evil have in store
They scheme and plot to try to steal the things another built,
but in the end they only gain an ever deep’ning guilt!
Lord, what I have may be no more than I need to get through,
yet I have joy, for I have found contentment’s found in you!
“I go to bed and sleep in peace”, I need not fear the night
“For only you, Lord, keep me safe” until the morning light

Clean

I thank you Lord that I am clean
and that my clothes are white
That I don’t walk in places dark
but only in the light

God sent his Son into this world
a stinking stable stall
was where the Saviour of the earth
came here to start it all

I thank you Lord that I am clean
and that my clothes are white
That I don’t walk in places dark
but only in the light

With fishermen he spent much time
and when the catch was done
he helped to clean those stinking fish
this man who was God’s Son

I thank you Lord that I am clean
and that my clothes are white
That I don’t walk in places dark
but only in the light

And near his final days on earth
they crucified the Lord
with whips and nails they bloodied him
then pierced Him with a sword

I thank you Lord that I am clean
and that my clothes are white
That I don’t walk in places dark
but only in the light

The Saviour came and said to me
“my son I love you so”
and then he tried embracing me
Appalled I shouted “NO!”

“My Lord, I’m clean! My clothes are white
Your garments are a mess
if you would touch me in your state
I couldn’t stand the stress!”

“My child, hear me when I say
don’t be too pure for me
for only washed in my red blood
can you be truly clean

I thank you Lord that now I see
I’m neither clean nor white
You came to save me from my dark
I fin’ly see Your Light

~~ 

Today in church, our pastor spoke about some of the things that that can quench the fire of our relationship with God. The first thing he spoke of was pride. The poem above was inspired by what he said.

A Psalm

Why do I cast my gaze downward
when troubles come my way?
When tormentors seem to come
from every side,
why do I despair?
I retreat like a turtle
within his shell when
the wicked come my way
even though I long to
stretch my wings and soar
high above these earthly trials.

But no longer shall my eyes be downcast,
for I know where I might seek help
and in whom I can take refuge.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD
The maker of heaven and earth.

~~

Italicized portion of my poem is Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV)

Written for dVerse, where Lynn has asked us to use mountains as our inspiration.  Mountains and poetry made me think of Psalm 121 (a song of ascents).