Daily Archives: May 11, 2020

Two new poems from my ‘corona’ on the psalms

Nestles and settles with you like the dove
In its familiar dovecote

I am continuing to work on my new sequence of poetic reflections on and responses to the psalms during this lockdown. The poetic form of this new work is, appropriately, a corona, an interlacing circlet or crown of poems in which each poem is linked to the next by a shared line,. Each poem is composed of 15 lines divided into five tercets, a reflection of the 150 psalms of the psalter and their traditional division. I thought that today I would share the next two poems in the sequence so that you can see how that link works, though you will also see it if you look back to the poems on psalm 1 and psalm 2. The text of the psalms to which I am responding is Coverdale’s translation in the book of Common Prayer, which also provides the traditional Latin titles I am using, and you might find it useful to read through the psalms yourself and then turn to the poems as an assistance to prayerful response.

This is an enormous undertaking, for which I would value your prayers, but my hope is, eventually to weave a ‘corona’ to honour the saviour, whose prayer life is shown us in the psalms, and who wore for us the corona spina, the crown of thorns, which included the current agonies of our corona crisis, and who is now crowned in glory.

As always you can hear me read the poems by clicking on the ‘play’ button or the title.

III Domine Quid Multiplicati?

That you may find your peace in his good will

Call out to him, and tell him all your fear

For he will hear you from his holy hill

 

He knows how many ills both far and near

Oppress your soul and how they multiply,

These obstacles and problems, how you veer

 

From one side to the other, from one lie

To yet another till there’s nothing true.

Just let it go for now. Don’t even try.

 

Lie down and rest. Let him look after you

And in the morning when you rise again

Then let him lift your head and change your view

 

Replenish, renovate you, and sustain

His long slow blessings in your growing soul,

Till troubles cease and only joys remain.

 

IV Cum invocarem

Till troubles cease and only joys remain

Take refuge in the shelter of his love

Who hears your call and feels with you your pain

 

Who does not keep his distance, high above

But brings his light into your little room

Nestles and settles with you like the dove

 

In its familiar dovecote. From the womb

Of Mary, to her house in Nazareth,

From the upper chamber to the empty tomb

 

He comes to share with you your every breath

And to commune with you. To every heart,

That opens to him he will bring new birth,

 

For every ending offer a new start.

Lie down in peace and trust and take your rest

Safe in the love of one who’ll never part.

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