Psalm 86 is definitely a psalm for these dark times: it’s a simple, heartfelt plea for help:
BOW down thine ear, O Lord, and hear me: for I am poor, and in misery.
Preserve thou my soul, for I am holy: my God, save thy servant that putteth his trust in thee.
Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I will call daily upon thee.
Comfort the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
I wrote my response during the first big wave of the pandemic and also as I was getting just over the half way mark in the long and daunting endeavour of wreathing together the poems for David’s Crown, and it seemed to me that my response to this psalm was also a chance to pray for God’s help in writing them and to dedicate the work, asking him to sustain me through this long, committed effort in writing. So it is from this poem that I draw the dedicatory verses set at the beginning of the whole book.
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.
That we may flourish in your tenderness
Bow down and hear the whispers of our fear
Our restless misery, our emptiness
Without you. Christ come close to me and hear!
Come close and comfort me in troubled times,
I need your mercy now for I despair
Of any other help. The telling chimes
Of every passing bell might be my own.
Lift up my soul, and breathe through my poor rhymes
That I might lay these lines before your throne
A frail corona wreathed of fading flowers
To set against the gold of David’s crown,
Wrought in the pattern of my passing hours.
O you, who raised me from the depths of hell,
Kindle these lines with all your quickening powers.
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