“Psalm 1”

How blest is he who, blameless, does not walk
In evil paths that wicked men command,
Or take his stand with those who will not heed,
Or sit among the disobedient—
For his supreme delight is in God’s law
His thoughts dwell ever on it all the day,
And in his heart he nightly meditates
On all the precepts that the Lord has made.
And therefore he’s established like a tree
That’s planted by the waters by God’s hand,
That yearly bears its fruit abundantly
And stretches forth its branches lushly garbed
With leaves, unwithering, of verdant green—
And every work to which he’s turned his hands
The Lord has made to prosper and succeed.

Not so the wicked, whom God does not help.
Like piles of chaff left on the threshing floor,
Then scattered by the wind, they too shall pass.
For thus the wicked shall not stand for long
Under the judgment of God’s holy throne,
Nor sinners live among his righteous saints
Who always gather for his glory’s praise—
For God preserves the paths of righteous men,
But wicked men are stumbling down to death.

This versification, or “setting,” of the first Psalm is the beginning of a new intermittent series of poems I’ve embarked on. I intend to write at least one setting of each of the 150 psalms.

As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, suggestions, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. (In other words, if you liked this poem, or you didn’t like it, or it made you think of something, or … please leave a comment to let me know.) If you liked this, you can follow this blog, which includes one of my poems every Friday, or read other poems I’ve written here on my blog (starting with yesterday’s archive installment, since the full archive is by now, at well over a hundred poems, somewhat daunting); I’d especially like to know, as part of my preparations for a collection, which poems you think are my best. You may also share it with others, subject to my sharing policy.

This poem is also archived on my wiki.

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