Sound A New Song: a response to psalm 33

My harp, my mandolin, my old guitar

After the harrowing intensity of confession and penitence in psalm 32 we emerge, in psalm 33, fully forgiven, into the freedom, release and relief  of sheer praise. I love the note of rejoicing, and the details about all the instruments in the opening verses of this psalm:

REJOICE in the Lord, O ye righteous: for it becometh well the just to be thankful.

Praise the Lord with harp: sing praises unto him with the lute, and instrument of ten strings.

Sing unto the Lord a new song: sing praises lustily unto him with a good courage.

As I began to write my poem in response to this psalm, I glanced around my room and realised that I had just such instruments as the psalmist mentions all to hand and in sight. From my writing table I could see my harp, my trusty old guitar, and a mandolin I am still learning how to play, so I thought they ought all to find a place in this poem.

The psalmist goes on to praise God not only for his faithfulness to us, but to his whole creation:

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made: and all the hosts of them by the breath of his mouth.

He gathereth the waters of the sea together, as it were upon an heap: and layeth up the deep, as in a treasure-house.

and those verses too found their way into my praise- poem.

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.

XXXIII Exultate, justi

A love that comforts and embraces us

Is the true theme of every song I make

How tenderly he finds, and takes and places us

 

Deep into Christ himself for his love’s sake.

The strings of all my instruments will stir

My heart to praise. Therefore I take

 

My harp, my mandolin, my old guitar

And let them sound a new song in his praise

Whose word is true, whose works so full and fair

 

Are radiant with glory, and whose ways

Are tried and trusted. The whole earth

Is charged and brimming with his goodness. Days

 

Are ordained to praise him, by his breath

The stars of night are kindled, by his love

He raises and delivers us from death.

 

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9 Comments

Filed under christianity, Poems

9 responses to “Sound A New Song: a response to psalm 33

  1. lynndmorrissey

    Lovely. And how wonderful that you are learning to play these instruments. I’m a vocalist, and always wanted to play a harp or mandolin. Alas, it’s not practical for learning Bach melismas, so I stick with piano. Only so much time, Malcolm, for learning new instruments, as one ages, but there is always time to praise God. Thank you for always pointing us up!
    Lynn
    PS Do you remember in which of your volumes The Lectern is? It’s an important poem to me; I’ve several of your books, but can’t recall if this is in one I own or borrowed from the library. I have vertigo right now and can’t walk down to the lower level where many books are housed. Thank you.

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks Lynn ‘The Lectern’ is in Sounding The Seasons and you should also be able to find it on the blog by typing ‘lectern’ into the search box M

      • lynndmorrissey

        Thank you! I don’t own that book, so will get, and also After Prayer. Very excited about that book, not just because of your writing/insights, but because I love the poetery/depth of George Herbert. And found the Rosetti poem. Lovely!

      • lynndmorrissey

        Thank you! I don’t own that book, so will get, and also After Prayer. Very excited about that book, not just because of your writing/insights, but because I love the poetery/depth of George Herbert. And found the Rosetti poem. Lovely!

  2. Karen Looby

    Yes, His word is true and His ways are tried and trusted.

  3. “Whose word is true, whose works so full and fair
    Are radiant with glory, and whose ways
    Are tried and trusted.”
    Oh, the relief, to turn to Him from a world tormented with falsity, evil-doing, darkness and deceit.

    Do I detect an allusion to G. M. Hopkins in “the whole earth / is charged and brimming with his goodness”?

    • malcolmguite

      Yes indeed I was thinking of Hopkins when I chose the word ‘charged’, it has such force in Hopkins’ poem

  4. Lovely poem.

    Did I detect a nod to Charles Williams’ concept of coinherence in that line about “placing us deep into Christ”?

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