David Swartz "RELIGION WITH AN EDGE"
biblicalfictions.com
Poetry for the Curious across the Religious Spectrum
Psalms

))))))))))))) A FRAGMENT

     {from Gnosis}

 

I WOULD YOU WERE                psalm xxiv

 

 

I would you were, my shepherd,

With an ache in me,

That all my ache

Were servant of your will,

 

That will was yours alone,

And not this feeble

Imitation, strutting

Its painful, comic vanity

 

Through a life it cannot

Hope to understand

Or cherish.

There is that death in me

 

That would turn your message

Out, turn pity

Into rage, blast

Gentleness with fury,

 

A death I’ve known as long

As I’ve known you,

A wrenching

That would raise my image

 

Higher than your son,

Than sun itself,

The course of moon

And stars, the whirl of space.

 

There is that death, there

Is that death,

A willful isolation,

Arrogance and greed, a stink

 

Of pride.  There is that you

In all I’ve known

And known, denied. 

I’d have you for my servant,

 

Crucified.

 

 

YOU HAVE CHOSEN ME                psalm xxv

 

 

You have chosen me

To choose you

By my actions,

And yet the choice is made.

 

I usher you into being,

And yet the being’s

Ushered,

Unafraid.

 

We make each other.

Each is by

The other fashioned,

Seemingly complete.

 

I, lending purpose

Unto God,

Would lack that which

I entreat,

 

Were the purpose

Simply mine

To lend.

In God the purpose ends.

 

I am, in the larger

Sense,

Inside God,

In the smaller, out.

 

God is, in the larger

Sense,

Inside me,

In the smaller, doubt.

 

I would pray to God

Knowing prayer

Itself

Lends grace.  Bending knees toward self,

 

I see his face.

 

 

I HAVE CHOSEN GOD                psalm xxvi

 

 

I have chosen God,

And in

The choice,

The chosen’s made.

 

To be in God

Is the gift,

To give him being,

To trade

 

Self alone

For God

And God for self.

Given voice,

 

I am God’s tongue,

Hymn

To shriek.

Given choice,

 

I am God’s son,

Fierce

To meek.

I complete God, son,

 

With each choice

Of him

I make.

I entreat him

 

With every doubt

That seeking

God,

Reaches out

 

Toward that much God

That doubt

Can be.

I choose, and yet the choice

 

Is me.

 

 

WE ARE TOGETHER                psalm xxvii

 

 

We are together

Simply Christ

And yet

Each Christ apart,

 

Surging

Into definition,

Perfect,

The God of us

 

That wills

A Resurrection

Simply

By our living.

 

There is

No ending to the son

We make

As each is made

 

Unto himself

And each

The other, ushering

In his God.

 

The God the son

That has

Us live

Would will the Father

 

Ache.  And give

The father,

Face on face,

A trace

 

Of Christ, a grace, a God

Forsaken.

Dear Christ,

Forgive the Christs

 

We’ve taken.

 

 

SATAN HIMSELF                psalm xxviii

 

 

Satan himself

Would try for God

In his

Own peculiar way.

 

The largest portion

Of that

Force

Would have its say.

 

Christ himself

Is on his lips, a touch of

Hatred

On his tongue.

 

Satan would call

The shots,

Would call him,

Call him young.

 

Such pain to be

Omnipresent,

Ruling a universe

And yet unfelt.

 

Such pain

To be just a myth,

Such rage,

Held

 

To a strutting

Shadow

In a narcissistic age.

And yet he’d

 

Have his grip on God

The son,

Nail him shrieking

Into place

 

And call it done.

 

 

I FEAR THE FINAL DEATH                psalm xxix

 

 

I fear the final death,

Dear Lord,

That absence

Of my being,

 

Of all I’ve loved

And hated,

Touched

And feared.

 

Dear Lord, I shriek

That death

Will end

Each moment I have shared,

 

Each instant

Of despair

And hoping,

Everything I’ve kissed.

 

To die and not to dream!

In thirty years

By death again

To perish, when those one’s loved are gone,

 

Even the final

Scrap.

Such death is fearful

To enact,

 

Not simply death

Of self

But all one’s been

And known, each person-hood,

 

Each increment of being.

Is such the death

I’m seeing as I age?  Forgive,

Dear Lord,

 

My final rage.

 

 

SATAN HIMSELF WOULD SHRIEK               psalm xxx

 

 

Satan himself would shriek

To stare you down.

You are absence.

You are void.

 

You are lack.

You are emptiness.

You are the shallow grave

Of hope.

 

You are the nullity,

Despair.

You are even the lack

Of the latter.

 

You are nowhere.

I run from you, sweet death,

That is my ending,

You alone

 

That have no bending,

No beginning,

No prayer.

You are absence.  You are anywhere.

 

You are lack.

You are nowhere.

Satan himself would shriek

To eye your face,

 

Sweet death that is my own.

Satan himself

Would moan

And call himself believer.

 

There is no ending

To that sad sad

Fever.  There is no ending,

Stern death, sweet death,

 

Arch deceiver.

 

 

CHRIST ALONE HAS STARED                psalm xxxi

 

 

Christ alone has stared

At absence,

Utterly alone,

Eyed our utter lack.

 

The Christ in us

That loves him

Takes us twenty centuries

Back.

 

No death can be more fearful

Than the cross.

There is no cancer

More complete,

 

No yearning that can eat

Our loving touch,

Sweet death,

Sweet.

 

Dear Christ, I’d pray to you

Had I the grace.

Dear Christ,

I’d see you,

 

Stroke the skin

That stroked to stroke

Your loving face.

Alone,

 

I touch alone the God

That would devour

Each moment

I am loved, each trace,

 

Each year, each hour.

Dear Christ, I’d worship thee

Rarely.

Even the touch would work a breath.

 

I’d touch your death.

 

 

ONE MIGHT FIND IT                psalm xxxii

 

 

One might find it cruel,

Salvation simply

In a thought,

And yet to think of such as God

 

Is simply what one ought.

There is only so much God, a taste

That’s often bitter,

Often pure.

 

There is only so much taste,

And yet there’s more.

You have given us

A son, dear Lord, a son.

 

Whether man, wife, daughter, God,

It’s all one,

Simply one.

I’d have this writhing planet

 

For my God if God there were.

I’d have a sad man’s tears

On Calvary,

Such tears are pure.

 

Shatter my heart,

Three-personed God,

A leak of centuries that scream

Denials of any faith,

 

Sublime to obscene.

I’ll take the God you offer up

As tortured person-hood

In us.

 

There is simply no need to scheme

For God,

When God is just that near,

So very near we can trust simply our need,

 

Our lust, our fear.

 

 

THERE WAS A MAN                psalm xxxiii

 

 

There was a man whom

No amount of death

Could eat.

There was a Christ in each of us

 

That no amount

Of death

Would quite defeat.

The man that some call God

 

Is half our death

And half our birth.  The blood

He spilled

Is partly in our hearts

 

And partly in the earth.

Trees blossom

Where the cross was rooted.

Birds sing

 

Each terrible spring

Where each spring

His grave is sadly looted.

Each song

 

Is a Christ unto itself

Whether mute

Or on our tongue.

There was a death that took him

 

Young.

Simply to curse the Jesus

In his name

Is prayer itself, a tribute

 

To a son,

That having died for us had only begun

To taste the death

For everyone.  To taste and yet to sing

 

Of death undone.