I shall be continuing my series of poems in response to the psalms throughout Advent in addition to the special posts to accompany my Advent Anthology Waiting on the Word, that way you can follow either series or even both, and if you are only following one you can still search back later and catch up on the other as leisure allows. As it happens the next Advent Anthology poem isn’t til tomorrow, the 1st of December, so today is a good day to resume the psalms sequence.
We have reached psalm 55, famous for its beautiful verse, so often set to music:
O that I had wings like a dove: for then would I flee away, and be at rest.
Lo, then would I get me away far off: and remain in the wilderness.
Amidst all the stresses and strains of covid lockdown I’m sure we could all make that prayer our own but its also worth noting that the context of this prayer in the psalm is heart-withering personal conflict and an experience of betrayal that, for the Christian reader must surely foreshadow and even prophesy what Jesus suffered at the hands of Judas:
For it is not an open enemy, that hath done me this dishonour: for then I could have borne it.
Neither was it mine adversary, that did magnify himself against me: for then peradventure I would have hid myself from him.
But it was even thou, my companion: my guide, and mine own familiar friend.
We took sweet counsel together: and walked in the house of God as friends.
Here is my personal response to that psalm, which as you will see directly continues the sense of struggle free the soul itself from the onslaughts of evil which was the theme of my poem on psalm 54. As usual you can hear me read the psalm by pressing the ‘play’ button or clicking on the title.
These poems will all be gathered together and published on January 30th 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
Oh rouse and raise us, in your Easter rising.
Darkness and fear are coming on so fast
And with such open malice, still devising
Their mischief for the faithful. The clenched fist
Is raised once more against the open hand.
I fear to lose my power to resist.
Oh hear my prayer and heed me, help me stand
Steadfast in the stronghold of your love.
Give me the strength and courage to withstand
These onslaughts on my soul. Help me forgive
The bitter wounds of personal betrayal.
Give me those wings indeed, wings of a dove,
Not to retreat, but rise within the veil
And rest awhile in you and be at peace
Assured once more that goodness will prevail.
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