O Lord, my heart is full and sings your praise;
Rejoicing, I shall tell your mighty deeds,
The wonders that your outstretched hand has wrought.
For you have put my enemies to flight;
They stumble as they perish in the way.
In justice you have lifted up my head
As you have sat in judgment on your throne,
And ended all the nations’ wicked schemes.
Indeed, their punishment is sure, complete,
As you poured utter ruin on their heads;
Though mighty cities prospered in their crimes,
You pulled them up, both root and branch,
And struck them from your list of those who live,
So even memory of them has died.
The Lord our God, the everlasting King,
Has set his throne on high to judge the world.
All peoples stand within his scepter’s sway,
And he shall judge their hearts and deeds aright.
He is a shelter for the downtrodden;
When trouble comes, within his strength and care
The righteous may forever stand secure.
For all who know you know you faithful, Lord;
To those who seek you you are ever true,
And never have you failed them in their need.
O people of the Lord, to him sing praise,
And bless him in his holy dwelling-place.
Tell all his works abroad with gladdest shouts,
That all the nations of the earth may know
The glories of his name and all his deeds,
For he remembers every evil done,
And bends to answer the poor victims’ cry.
Lord, see my peril that my foes have made,
But steps from death; in mercy lift my head,
That I may praise you from your temple’s steps,
There tell your people of your gracious acts,
And sing with joy about your saving love.
The wicked nations fall in their own trap;
Your justice binds their hands with their own rope,
Their feet with snares that they themselves have set.
And, Sovereign Lord, let me never forget:
All evil people go down to the pit,
And all the nations that neglect your praise,
Where soon all memory of them shell die,
Their very name forgotten for all time—
But not so with the poor who kneel in dust,
The lowly on whom you have set your love,
For you, the righteous God, remember them;
Their ever-living hope is not in vain.
Rise up, O Lord; let not the nations boast;
Stretch forth your scepter, that they may recall
That they are mortal men, and quail in fear,
For you are God alone, and Lord of all.
This is the latest in a series of verse paraphrases of the Psalms that I’ve been working on since 2012. I began with Psalm 1, and have taken one Psalm at a time. I began work on this poem when I finished Psalm 8 at about the end of January (for all that I only posted it here a month ago), and completed it near the beginning of this month.
As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, questions, suggestions, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. If you’d like to read more of my poetry, you can read my archive (also organized in more manageable installments); get my book, which contains over sixty of my best poems, each paired with a public-domain illustration or drawing; or follow this blog for (now only occasional) new poetry (among other things). You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.