Psalm 71 is another of the great psalms of praise and thanksgiving, and in making my response I was especially struck by verse 5:
Through thee have I been holden up ever since I was born: thou art he that took me out of my mother’s womb; my praise shall be always of thee.
I love this idea that we have each been drawn into life by God himself and that he was with us, loving and supporting us, believing in us long before we were old or wise enough to believe in him. So in my response to this psalm I looked back through all the long years of my life, back to the beginning when I was born in Nigeria 63 years ago. It was touch and go, and it was a Yoruba nurse who saw my mother’s distress and ran to fetch the doctor, who was just leaving the compound of the university hospital, and brought him back to make the intervention that saved my mother’s life and mine, and continued to nurse us both until we were safe. My mother was so grateful that she asked the nurse to name me, and I was called Ayodeji – which means Joy -Again! Since coming back to England I have used my middle name- Malcolm – but as a child in Africa I was always called Ayo.
My poem is about recovery and renewal as well as first beginnings and I allude gently to George Herbert’s lovely line in the Flower: ‘And now in age I bud again’.
As always you can hear me read the psalm by clicking on the play button or 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
LXXI In te, Domine, speravi
You raise us with you in your resurrection
If we will only let you, so Lord come
Deliver me, and raise me from dejection
Then lift me to your stronghold. Let your name
Be my delight and my protection. Call
Me once again, and kindle love to flame.
For you have been my only hope in all
My days of life. You are the one who
Drew me from my mother’s womb, when all
Around me gave me up for dead. But you
Inspired the nurse who nursed me back to life,
Back in Ibadan all those years ago.
And now in age I open a new leaf
In my life’s manuscript and write for you
Another psalm to praise your light and life.
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