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Red Sea
Electronic Broadsides
Pilgrim Psalms
numbers 120-134
Laurance Wieder
from One Hundred Fifty Psalms
copyright (c) 1994
by Laurance Wieder
all rights reserved
distribution over the network as freeware is permitted
for any other use,
for information regarding the Psalms, or Red Sea, e-mail: or
voice: 516.475 1142; fax: 516 475 9673
I called out to the one who heard me say,
Save me from the plausible liars.
What can be said to a twister of truth, someone
Who preys upon trust, who mints coin from desire?
Bludgeon the bastards with bricks and bats, fire
Them, forbid them to sit on a bench in the sun.
No matter what I say, they contradict it. I say,
Peace, my soul wants peace. But they say, War.
I look to the hills and hear thunder rolls,
Eternity's wheel
Across highway and foot track:
Who could sleep
In broad daylight or moonlight,
At home or abroad?
The Lord's the great keeper of people
Awake, a keeper
From evil, forever.
My heart danced when they said, Go in:
I stood inside the doorway to Jerusalem:
Jerusalem, the city of the Lord of all
Creation, ruler of the law, of people
Speaking heart to heart, where dream, word, thought,
Justice, judgment, thanks, and praise
Agree, where meeting, people talk
About Jerusalem, and talking sing of peace,
Their only greeting.
I look to the sky, and wait
For a hand to reach down
Through a window, a cloud,
And I wait. Like drought land
Rutted, cracked with contempt
For the easy, with scorn for the proud
Tanning nude, we want rain.
O Lord, tip your hand.
We will wait.
Without help we'd be gone:
In a flash when the angry ones turn up their flames:
Not a gurgle as floodwaters swallow our souls.
Bless the Lord, for our souls
Are those songbirds set free from the snares,
From nets fowlers baited. Without help
We join flocks, or alight.
As mountains ring Jerusalem
So God surrounds the people,
Chosen by heart not by lot.
They are cedars on mountains.
Wind twists the evil ones, fearful.
High hills protect Israel.
When we returned from far away
Our home looked as it looks in dreams:
The sun shines, gates swing
Open of themselves, and someone
Sings a song we had forgotten
As we now remember laughter.
Then strangers said, Great things
Were done for them.
The Lord
Did great things for us then. A good.
But you must do great things again,
Because we live with heaviness
And twist and scatter like a river
Delta bogged in marsh and reeds.
We started sadly so we'd end up
Smiling, for anyone begins, sows
Seed with tears to reap his own,
The happy harvest, no?
Live for yourself, live for nothing:
A city of watchers and waiters,
Of early birds, burners of night lights, of eaters
Of what gets dished up by the loaf and the spoonful
Are loveless, fitful sleepers, wanting children.
Children ransom the hostage, the happy man,
One who grows up with them, old with them:
Early they take to the walks; watch them later
Stand in their doorways talking to children of strangers.
Daughter and wife, blessings
I never thought of alone
In the city relying on money:
Winter sun streams on the bayberries,
Fallow beds, orchard buds, hedge,
Gates to the heart's Jerusalem.
"They treated me like dirt while I was growing up,"
Israel says, "They walked all over me.
They plowed my back into a fallow, furrowed field."
Snap their yoke, Lord. Beat the haters into thatch
Too dry for harvesting, unfit for brooms,
And make those sweeping past not know the way
To speak a blessing in your name.
Deep down I call out
To you, o God:
Hear me. Don't keep
My slips always before
You, before me, or who
Could survive here?
I wait for the answer
That's more
Than an echo,
Lord, harder
Than daylight,
And kinder, and longer.
Lord, I don't look too high, aiming
To muddle big questions: still
A small child, my soul has been weaned
From the breast and the bottle,
And taught to behave, understand.
So I hope.
David swore he would not rest until the Ark was carried
Out from Obed-edom's house, where David left it,
Through the main gate to Jerusalem.
Levites took the Ark upon their shoulders, following
The dancing King of Israel, who beat his tambourine
And sang: Come up, come up.
Then God swore back:
Your sons and their sons' sons will sit
On Zion's throne:
Jerusalem will be my home, and when
Your children practice
My law, learn those lessons taught
Discerning hearts,
The poor shall have their bread,
The wise know pleasure:
They will sing and dance and blow the horn
At new year. Lamps burn
Oil. Your enemies will blush with rage
Because you flourish.
Different peoples, families at peace with one another are like
Oil poured atop the head that curls behind the ears and down the front
of Aaron's beard to his robed ankles, are like
Dew on Hermon, beads rolled down the sides of Zion's mountains
where, commanded, we chose good, and life.
A scholar at his desk at midnight
Looked up from his book, beyond the lamplight,
Into a socked-in yard where gray wisps swirled
Between clotheslines, and said: Blessed be the creator of this world.