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.

If you have enjoyed this page here’s a little link that allows you to ‘buy me a coffee’ (or a beer if you prefer!)

 

Buy Me A Coffee

22 Comments

Filed under Poems

22 responses to “Two new poems from my ‘corona’ on the psalms

  1. Bryan Babcock

    I bought you a cup of coffee but didn’t get the part filled out with my name, etc, so here’s my note:

    I found you and your poetry a bit over a year ago when planning a reader’s theatre Pentecost piece for church (thank you internet!). I appreciate your work!

  2. Stefanie

    Thank you so much for these. Exactly the words my heart needed this morning.

  3. Of course your poems sent me to the Psalms themselves, a much needed anchor in these out-to-sea seasons. So many things are adrift, but God’s word remains. (waxing metaphoric. Sorry.)

    I will keep you in my prayers, that God’s thoughts would flow from your pen.

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks. Yes the poems are very much meant to be read as a companion to the psalms and make most sense that way!

  4. laurel clark

    You must, indeed, be anointed and blessed. God has given you a great gift to speak to hearts.

  5. Heather Glerum

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Prodigious gift. Through your pen God is blessing us. Feeling the love … Bless you.

  6. Evangeline Magee DeMaster

    These poems are very Life-giving!! Thank you.

  7. Beautiful, and, like Stefanie, much needed this evening.

  8. Allys

    Beautiful and just what I needed. Many thanks

  9. Pingback: The 6th poem in my corona on the psalms | Malcolm Guite

  10. Pingback: The fifth poem in my ‘corona’ on the psalms | Malcolm Guite

  11. Pingback: The Seventh Poem In My Corona On The Psalms | Malcolm Guite

  12. I really enjoyed this. Especially these lines:
    “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.”
    And the ending is beautiful.

  13. These are beautiful words:
    “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”

    Such a sense of God’s closeness and intimacy, in our “little” rooms, sharing our “every breath”, offering “new birth” and “rest”.

    Thank you.

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