Continuing my series of poems in response to The Psalms we come to Psalm 11 I mentioned in my last post that this is part of a sequence of four psalms from 9 through to 12, which strongly emphasise God’s promise to defend the poor and needy. Psalm 11 highlights our sense of unfairness when some of the best people, ‘the true of heart’ are specifically targeted by the worst people, and how even if we had wings to fly, someone would want to shoot us down
IN THE Lord put I my trust: how say ye then to my soul, that she should flee as a bird unto the hill? For lo, the ungodly bend their bow, and make ready their arrows within the quiver: that they may privily shoot at them which are true of heart.
But the Psalmist opens and closes the psalm with confidence in God and the final establishment of his justice. It is both challenging and comforting for us to read this: challenging because we may be complicit in the oppression f the poor it describes, but comforting because in trusting God alone we may be liberated to change the way we live. In my poem I confess the constraint and complicity but also try to deepen the trust and the comfort. As always you can hear me read the poem by clicking on the title or the play button. If you put the word ‘psalms’ in the search bar you will find the other poems in this series.
Arise my God, and give the poor their day!
For now I see the powers taking aim
And targeting the weakest. See, they slay
The true of heart and still they claim
To be our shepherds! Where then can I fly?
I envy birds their wings, but sorrows maim,
And my complicities constrain me. I
Long with all my soul to seek the hill
Where God has set his citadel on high,
Yet through these sad constraints I trust him stlll,
I know that he can see the way things go
I know that these dark ways are not his will
For he loves justice, and the poor will know
That he is their defender when he comes
To topple tyrants and exalt the low.