How Amiable Are Thy Dwellings: A Response To Psalm 84

We come now to psalm 84, one of my all time favourites! For me the psalmist’s delight in being in the temple finds its paralell in my love of the simple, ancient English parish church. I wrote my responsive poem when we were still in the first full lockdown and I couldn’t go into our parish church at all, but the first thing I did when we were allowed back in was to go in, early in the morning  when all was quiet and read this poem aloud in the church.

Thanks to everyone who attended our virtual launch for David’s Crown which was, as much as anything, a celebration of the psalms themselves. If you couldn’t get to the live event you can still watch it all here

As always you can hear me read the poem by clicking on the play button or the title and you can find the other poems in this evolving series by putting the word ‘psalm’ into the search box on the right.

The full set of these poems has now been published as a book David’s Crown which you can buy from UK Amazon Here, or, in North America, it should soon be available from Amazon Here.

LXXXIV Quam dilecta!

Yahweh saves, Our God is merciful

And how I long to enter in his courts

To nestle at his altar and to dwell


With him for ever. Day and night my thoughts

Are yearning towards the beauty of his temple

In swallow-flights of song.  For in his courts


Time is transfigured, opened out and ample,

It touches on eternity. I stay

Awhile within this church: its simple


Furnishings, and storied windows say

More to me of heaven than the pale

Abstractions of theology. A day


Spent in an empty church has been as full

Of goodness as an age elsewhere. I feel

Its peace refresh me like a holy well.


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Filed under imagination

8 responses to “How Amiable Are Thy Dwellings: A Response To Psalm 84

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday’s virtual launch of David’s Crown. It was wonderful hearing you and the others speaking about the psalms.
    I’m looking forward to the arrival of my copy of your book.

  2. Psalm 84 is also my ((nearly)) favorite Psalm as well, containing as it does the phrase about hearts being “on pilgrimage…” (v. 5). I chose that for the title of my new book of poetry, inspired as well by Herbert’s phrase in “Prayer.”
    And yes, the virtual book launch was so incredibly inspiring–can’t wait to get my copy of David’s Crown. What a rich, rich collection.

  3. Barbara L Parry

    Very inspiring as was the virtual launch of David’s Crown: as a whole, the reading of the psalms underscores the diurnal, lunar, seasonal ebb and flow of nature and emotions.

  4. David C Brown

    Thank you. Goo to nestle at His altar. His church being His people there is a sore miss these days in not being gathered with them (and a danger of getting used to it).
    Was the event recorded for those who didn’t manage?

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