Daily Archives: May 14, 2020

The fifth poem in my ‘corona’ on the psalms

Continuing my new series of poetic reflections and meditations on the psalms, I come to psalm 5, which, rather astonishingly, opens with the words:

  1. PONDER my words, O Lord: consider my meditation

It is one thing for us to ponder on the many layers of meaning in the sacred words of scripture, quite another to be told that the Lord ponders on our words with even greater attention. He takes my own tentative voicing of who and how I am and hears it so deeply that he knows more of my heart than I do myself. And that insight was the starting point for this poem. But there were other phrases of the psalm that spoke to me as I prayed it: that I am called into God’s house, a place of healing, where our blood-thirstiness is met with ‘the multitude of his mercies’. This psalm is also special because it gave words to that beautiful anthem ‘Lead me lord, lead me in thy righteousness, make my way plain before my face.’ I loved too that the last word of this psalm is ‘shield’, and as one who is to some extent in this crisis being shielded, I decided to bring that word in at the beginning of my poem. You may like to read psalm 5 in the Coverdale translation, which I am using,  either before or after you read or listen to the poem. As in all this sequence this poem begins with the last line of the previous poem and lends its last line to the next.

Here are links to the earlier poems in this series:   III and IV  II I

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

V Verba mea auribus

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

Of one whose kindness is itself a shield

Who understands the deep things of my heart

 

Better than I can ever do, I yield

Myself and my perplexities to him

And in his house of mercy I am healed

 

Healed of this world’s bloodthirstiness, its grim

Deceptions, all its weary wickedness,

The death-speak of its tyrants, as they hymn

 

The idols of their vanity, the emptiness

Of endless purchases, all washed away

Until my sight is cleansed, his righteousness

 

Makes my way plain, and leads me through the play

Of early morning light, to worship him

Whose mercy wakes me at the break of day,

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