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.
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.
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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