Daily Archives: November 27, 2020

What The Tyrants Seek: A Response to Psalm 54

After a break for other lectionary posts I resume the thread of ‘David’s Crown’ my new poetic response to the Book of Psalms.

I’m happy to confirm that this series will definitely be published as a book next year under the title David’s Crown. I am just working on the proofs now and there is already an amazon page for the book if you wish to pre-order it Here

So, returning to our sequence, in psalm 54 the psalmist cries out for help against those tyrants who seek not simply to control the body but to dominate and corrupt the soul, a far more insidious tyranny, so he writes:


Hear my prayer, O God: and hearken unto the words of my mouth.

For strangers are risen up against me: and tyrants, which have not God before their eyes, seek after my soul.

Behold, God is my helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.

In my response I wanted to explore the forces at work in the contemporary world which might seek to constrain our inner freedom, the freedom of the heart, and how we ourselves might become complicit with those forces. As usual you can hear me read the poem by clicking on the title or the ‘play’ button, which comes, this time, after the poem.

LIV Deus, in nomine

Let us rejoice to see your light prevail
Save us O God! For what the tyrants seek
Is not our bodies but our very soul!

The freedom of the heart is now at stake.
The enemies of freedom are within
Each one of us, for we have let them speak

With our own voices, magnified the din
Of blasphemous cacophony. We’ve used
Our own devices to embed our sin,

‘Distracted from distraction’, and confused
By false confusions of our own devising.
Each gift of yours has somehow been abused

To cast doubt on the giver, by revising
The tenets of our faith, till they’re half dead.
Oh rouse and raise us, in your Easter rising! 

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