It’s Friday … must be poetry time!

This morning I am working away (still) on edits to my book and really wanting to set the entire thing aside for a few days and spend some time in the Psalms. That is one of the best outcomes of the year I spent traipsing through the psalter — my first instinct when I know I need to make sense of my life is to start there and start honest.

Alas, I have bathrooms to clean and laundry to fold and Ella ate her entire lunch at 10:00am recess and these freakishly hard book edits …

So, I can’t offer a fresh psalms poem, but here’s Psalm 52 from a few months back. You can read the text of Psalm 52 here, and you can read the corresponding story from 1 Samuel here. As always, I start with a “superscript” — a brief context so the poem is somewhat grounded.


The girls went back to school today and I finally took time to deal with what has tied me up in knots for months — the struggle I have every day, unrelenting, to compete in the Silicon Valley, not for myself but for my kids.  I am wracked with fear for them — what will happen to them on the inside if things don’t fall into place for them — grades and sports and friends.  My own history haunts me, and my fear comes from that desolate place. I know so fully, so deeply it is a trap from the Prosecutor himself.  I know it, but I am seemingly powerless to fend it off. And so I easily get sucked into engaging in bloody, to-the-death competition where only one victor is still standing at the end of the game. I know so profoundly how horrible this is, and my failure to trust in the Lord is daily present to me. I wrote this poem from Psalm 52 as a starting point — a place to see myself honestly, not only as victim of others dog-eat-dog approach to me and my daughters, but my sinful, controlling, competitive response as well. May God in his deep mercy forgive my sin– no, not merely forgive but excise it, rip it out at the roots, no matter how much flesh is attached.

Doeg Eat Dog (Psalm 52)
“It’s you or me.”
That’s the motto here
You red shirt
I complain
You win
I compete                                            but bitterly.

You love the hunt
A sharpshooter of
wealth your
cold calculations
of advantage
targeting                                             my child.

You sleep at night
I toss and turn
Your rest your spoils
My tumult my punishment
And bitterness my bedfellow
While God                                           can’t be roused.

Sightless in the dark
I see my sin:
I trust in great wealth
I play for zero sum
Oh my shame! I am
Doeg and I am                                    his prey.

Master, Saviour
In light of day
And still of night
I beg you, break me.
Blind these eyes till
All I see                                              is wholly, holy You.

With hyssop                                        cleanse me
With water make me                        white as snow
With sinful eyes gouged out            restore my sight
With mutinous feet cut off             make straight my path

Then Master, Savior
Plant me near to You
A spot, if You don’t mind
Where all I can hear is
Ruah and the sound
of angels                                           singing.


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