Held Together And Re-Membered: a response to psalm 31

“Held together and remembered’ BATONI – le retour du fils prodigue

Psalm 31 is one of those psalms that expresses best the paradox of the whole psalter: that even when we feel like we are falling apart we are still held together by God, even when we cry to God that we have been forgotten, God still remembers us. So even though the psalmist tells God exactly how he is feeling:

I am clean forgotten, as a dead man out of mind: I am become like a broken vessel.

he can still come in the same psalm to the great ‘nevertheless’ on which so many of the psalms often turn:

Nevertheless, thou heardest the voice of my prayer: when I cried unto thee.

But the other phrase in this psalm which it seemed to me really spoke into our time as I prayed it was in verse 15: ‘fear is on every side’

Perhaps because the psalmist is honest about this fear he finds that God has an answer for it and gives us that mysterious and beautiful verse in which he reveals that God has a secret meeting place with all of us who trust him even in the midst of our fears:

Thou shalt hide them privily by thine own presence from the provoking of all men: thou shalt keep them secretly in thy tabernacle from the strife of tongues.

The internet and 24 hour news means that we live, even more than the psalmist, amidst ‘the strife of tongues’, what I have called in my poem the ‘cacophony of condemnations’, so we have all the more need of that secret and all restoring tryst with our Lord in his deep silence and his mystery.

As usual you can hear me read the poem by pressing the ‘play’ button if it appears, or else by clicking on the title. For the other poems in my psalm series type the word ‘psalm’ into the search box on the right.

XXXI In te, Domine, speravi


The night withdrew and joy came in the morning,

When I remembered that I was remembered,

That even through the bitter tears of mourning


I was sustained, the darkest powers were hindered

In their insidious work within my soul

And I was held together and re-membered


By your unceasing love. You made me whole

When all the world was tearing me apart.

When there was fear on every side, you stole


Into the secret garden of my heart

A good thief in the night, and hid with me

In your strong tabernacle, held apart


From all that strife of tongues, cacophony

Of condemnations, so you kept me safe

In your deep silence and your mystery.


If you are enjoying these posts, you might like, on occasion, (not every time of course!) to pop in and buy me a cup of coffee. Clicking on this banner will take you to a page where you can do so, if you wish. But please do not feel any obligation!
Buy Me A Coffee



Filed under imagination, Poems

14 responses to “Held Together And Re-Membered: a response to psalm 31

  1. Evangeline Magee DeMaster

    How meaningful! How apropos! Thank you, Malcolm Guite! Again… and again.

  2. Barbara Parry

    So relevant today:how lovely for you to be such a good “Hermes” in bringing the wisdom of these ancient texts to bear on our current cacophonies! An example of “The poet’s eye… doth glance from heaven to earth, and from earth to heaven…” (Theseus, Midsummer NIght’s Dream)

  3. Deborah Harmer

    Yes, yes, we are “re-membered” by His love. And yes, there is fear on every side. What else but fear could cause the insanity that swirls around? I close most of my nights reading your poetry. When there’s not a new selection, I go back and latch on to a previous posting of yours. New discoveries each time! Thanks so much.

  4. 💗🔥You keep the fire burning.

  5. A beautiful page. Many thanks. Blessing for Holy Week.

  6. Mavis Driver

    Powerful and comforting words.

  7. Pingback: Held Together And Re-Membered: A Response to Psalm 31 ~ The Imaginative Conservative

  8. This is such a beautiful poem and a great comfort .. thank you.

  9. Paul Kersey

    What a wonderful declaration from the One Who always Hears us even the “groanings which cannot be articulated” are understood by Gods Spirit.
    In Psalm 142 David by the Spirit prays to the One Who hears “when no one knows/understands me” and then declares that God is our refuge” (reference the ‘city of refuge’ where the avenger of blood could not come.. until the Priest died) our Great High Priest “ever lives to make intercession” and HE is our refuge. David speaks of Gods “Pavilion” & Secret place .. i.e. His Presence .. as we are “seated in the heavenlies in Christ” (Eph.1)
    ‘Stayed upon Jehovah, Hearts are Fully Blessed. Finding as He promised Perfect Peace and Rest’ > Phil.4:6-7 “Peace that surpasses our ability to understand (our circumstances)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.