Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Three New Poem Drafts

All three quite rough. A twip is 1/1440 of an inch. The second is part cento, part pastiche, constructed from the phrases and images of verses left out of the Liturgy of Hours (hence 'secret'). The third, of course, is a paraphrase, sometimes closer, sometimes looser, of the Ego Dixi.

The Sea of Faith

The sea of faith is vast as space,
ten trillion stars therein;
only the greasy airs of sin
veil from us heaven's face,
and hand-covered eyes by which we hide;
we speak of darkness in our pride,
but the darkling night is filled with light:
there is glory in the skies.
Galaxies even to our naked eye
we can discern, and sight
can catch the hazy nebulae
and beyond, and so beyond all sense,
splendors upon splendors upward pile;
nor ever does creative show relent --
our thought is a twip to endless miles.
Earthbound bodies cannot travel far;
we see, and trust to subtle sight,
but never have we circled other stars
or sailed deep oceans of the night.
But faith is home to love, and love can reach
stars we see, and more, and endless store.
The sea of faith may have no shore,
but love may touch each star, and circle each.
As love pervades the depths of faith,
it makes new stars of hope to show their light;
for greater stars they stand in wait
and build new planets gleaming bright.
And when all faith with love is set aglow,
then faith will cease to be, and we will know.

The Secret Psalm, the Sigh of the Oppressed

Let us not be put to shame, for O Lord, we call on you;
bring shame instead upon the wicked; silence them in deathly realms.
Declare their guilt, O Lord, their their schemes against them;
for their many sins drive them out, for they rebel against you.
For their wicked deeds repay them, for all injustices they do;
render to them their due. As they know no godly works,
the works of the Lord's own hands, he will tear them down.
They will not be rebuilt. May those who sought my life be shamed,
confound the ones who sought my ruin. Let scoffing be shamed to silence.
Turn their own evil against them, by your constancy break them.
May their own table trap them, may their worship ensnare them.
Let their eyes be dim, their backs be weak, as you pour out your breath,,
and in fury overturn them. Let their camp be desolate and empty.
When you wounded, they added wounds; so heap penalties, beyond all vindication.
Blot them from the Book of Life that they not be registered as just.
Pour out your wrath on obtuse nations, on realms that do not call your name,
for their devouring of Jacob, for their wasting of Jacob's towns.
Turn their own insults against them; seven times seven return them.
For their evil, watch them, God; cast the nations down in wrath.
In mercy finish my enemies, the oppressors end, for I serve you,
who judge nations and pile corpses, crushing skulls throughout the earth.
Let the wicked fall into their own nets, and let me pass safely over.
As those who mob me raise their heads, may their own threat overtake them.
Pile burning coals upon their heads, cast them to the devouring abyss.
Liars will no longer strive, the violent will be hunted down.
They conspire against the Lord in vain. Then the just will rejoice in vindication,
bathing their feet in the blood of oppressors. God stands with the lowly,
to save them from their condemners.

Ego Dixi

I said: In my middle days shall I go to the gates of death,
the residue of years lost?

I said: I will not see the Lord, God in the land of the living,
no longer will I look on men, nor on those who dwell in peace.
My flourish fails, my house falls down, like a shepherd-tent it falls.

The weaver severs my life's thread, in my first is found my last.
From morning to night my end comes.

I stayed, hoping for the dawn; like a lion he broke my bones;
morning and night my end comes.

I will cry like the young swallow. I will make plaint like the dove.
My eyes in uplift are made weak. I am burdened, Lord: aid me.

What can I say or He answer? Bitterly I count my years.
If through these things people may live, Lord, correct me: make me live.

In peace, bitterness was my last, but you save my soul from death,
you cast my sins behind your back, for deathly realms do not thank,
for death does not know how to praise, for those who fall to the pit
cannot hope on your steadfastness.

Those who live are those who praise, with living praise, as I may praise,
passing down your steady truth like a father to his children.

O Lord, save, and we will sing. We will surely strike harp and lyre,
sounding for all our life's days in the Temple, the House of God.

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