Continuing my series of poetic responses to the psalms, we come to psalm 16. A favourite with many people, it comes as a sweet relief, a kind oasis after the tension and struggles of psalms 9-14, and the moral challenge of 15. Here we come to a sheer recognition of our blessings and a thanksgiving for them:
The Lord himself is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup: thou shalt maintain my lot. The lot is fallen unto me in a fair ground: yea, I have a goodly heritage.
and then of course the beautiful promise in the final verse:
Thou shalt shew me the path of life; in thy presence is the fulness of joy: and at thy right hand there is pleasure for evermore
My response here picks up on that hope in our true heritage, especially as so many of the frail and unstable goods in which we use to put our trust have been withdrawn or are collapsing around us.
As always you can hear me read the poem by clicking on the play button or the title and you can find the other poems in this evolving series by putting the word ‘psalms’ into the search box on the right.
Then help me, step by step, my guide and friend.
Preserve me O my God in whom I trust.
My other goods are nothing in the end,
How quickly they decay, how swiftly rust,
But through it all you stay and comfort me,
My one abiding joy, when all the rest
Have flown so suddenly. For now I see
My true inheritance, now I look up
And find you still beside me, showing me
The path of life. In your right hand the cup
Of blessings full to overflowing, your
Left hand upholds me still, gives me hope.
I have a goodly heritage! You pour
On me your graces, undeserved, you raise
And comfort me until I fall no more.