“Psalm 12”

All those who love your ways, O Lord, are dead,
And every man who spoke the truth is gone,
For cheerful flattery gilds every tongue,
And every mouth lies to its nearest friends.

Come quickly, Sovereign Lord, and make an end:
Let every tongue that flatters be no more,
And stop forever every lip that boasts
In triumph that it need obey no lord.

“My ear has heard the needy,” says the Lord,
“And I have seen those who oppress the poor,
So I will quickly come to rescue them,
To stand a shield from those who wish them harm.”

And unlike mortal lies, God’s words are perfect;
Much like silver tested seven times,
In which no hint or speck of dross remains,
All that our Lord has said is without flaw.

Ah, Lord, our Lord, our hearts will trust in you,
For though the wicked liars strut and crow
And hold abominations up for praise,
We know you keep us safe from them forever.

Sodom and Gomorrah by John Martin

This poem is the twelfth in my series of verse paraphrases of the Psalms. I began this project in 2012, starting with the first Psalm, and have worked on one Psalm at a time; I wrote this poem in one sitting immediately after finishing my setting of Psalm 11, in mid-September.

As always, I earnestly welcome your questions, suggestions, or other comments 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.


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