Some Scent and Sense of Heaven: a response to Psalm 20

‘May each glimpse become epiphany’ (looking across Loch Broom from my mother’s cottage)

Psalm 20 opens with an act of pure blessing. You could speak it over someone and bless them with it, and the crown of that blessing comes in verse 4:

Grant thee thy heart’s desire: and fulfil all thy mind.

The response to this psalm, in my sequence ‘David’s Crown’ is also written as a blessing, and at its core is the idea that the deepest desires of  our hearts might lead us on to God, the one whom, in the end,we most deeply desire. A theme CS Lewis explores so beautifully in both Pilgrim’s Regress’ and Surprised by Joy. So I hope you enjoy this poem and receive it as a blessing spoken over you for good.

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.

XX Exaudiat te Dominus

All given for your growth, and your delight,

All flowing for you from his sanctuary.

Even before you enter in, his light


Is blessing you. May mystery

Still draw you on, arouse your heart’s desire,

And may each glimpse become epiphany.


May brief sparks blaze into a Holy fire

Whose light and warmth illuminate your mind.

And may some scent and sense of heaven inspire


Your thoughts and words. May everything remind

You of your Lord that you may put your trust

Entirely in his name, not in the blind


Dependence of this world, whose weapons rust

Into the soul and and kill it from within,

But may you find in Christ, riches and rest.


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Filed under christianity, Poems

10 responses to “Some Scent and Sense of Heaven: a response to Psalm 20

  1. Clifford Grier

    I love the North West of Scotland And was interested to see a picture of Loch Broom from your mothers cottage!
    Another wonderful poem Malcolm with some memorable phrases: May each glimpse become epiphany; may brief sparks blaze into a holy fire!
    It’s a beautiful blessing that has inspired my mind! Thank you. May God continue to bless you and us with your flourishing gift.

  2. malcolmguite

    Thanks Clifford, My mother is still thriving up there at the age of 101!

  3. Do you have your reflections on the psalms inany form of book or books – if so please advise

    ps Do you remember spending a month at St Luke in the cIty whilst you were at Ridley? If so I hope it is a good memory?

    Canon Neville Black MBE Retired 19 Montfort Drive Liverpool L19 3RJ Mobile 07970235817


    • malcolmguite

      Dear Neville, lovely to gear from you! yes I remember it well and it is a good memory! The poems on the psalms will come out as a book next April with Canterbury Press which will be called ‘David’s Crown’

    • Marianne

      Thank you from Portland, Oregon!!

      • malcolmguite

        Thanks it’s good to know that even though I am in lockdown these poems can still travel the world

  4. How many psalms do you respond to in “David’s Crown” and how did you choose which? I wouldn’t mind if you did all 150 (please?). Thank you.

  5. malcolmguite

    Dear Benjamin, I am indeed intending to do all 150! I have signed a contract with Canterbury Press and they will be published as a book next April.till then I’m putting them up gradually, in order, on this blog!

  6. David C Brown

    A fine blessing. “whose weapons rust/Into the soul …” is appropriately awful!

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