Saturday, August 04, 2012

Another Karitos Poem

This is another one that came out of this year's Karitos.

From Psalm 138

By the waters of Babylon
I sat down and wept.

I sat down and wept to remember Zion,
The pilgrim songs on the road,
The shouts of joy in the courts of praise,
The roasting smell of offerings,
The call of the birds in the eves.

How can I remember Zion
Awash in blood and fire?
How can I remember the barren stones,
The jackal and vulture?
How can I weep enough to slake my grief?

Tormentors and mockers come.
"Sing for us the songs of Zion.
Sing for us a city never to be moved.
Shout for us your shouts of praise
And dance your joy before our face."

How can I sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?
How can I shout for life become death?
Will these feet move again in praise?
Break my legs!
Yank out my tongue!
Lest I dance or sing once more

But still faint yet strong,
Undrownt by tears,
Unburnt by fire a pulse
A whisper, a rumble, a promise,
A promise of morning, of return.

And ringing, singing, faint yet strong
Far above tears, beneath deepest pain,
In bone and and breath almost unheard,
Almost unfelt
A voice of promise, of an earth the Lord's
And no place or time removed from His presence.

I sat by the waters of Babylon and I wept.
I wept to remember thee, Zion.
My tormentors come, "Sing and dance.
Process yourself for our mockery."
But I am silent in my pain
Listening to the whispering song,
And a day of singing once more.