“Veni, O Clavis David”

O heir of David, you who hold his key
Upon your royal shoulder, and who rule
As with his scepter over all God’s house,
We know that none can stand against your will:
If there is any door that you wish shut,
You shut it, and it then stands shut forever,
And there is no gate, however barred,
That can be anything but open wide
When you so will and bid them lift their heads.
Come, O Lord, unto the prison’s darkness,
Where men long languish under death’s despair,
And loose their chains and lead them into life
And unto heaven’s perfect liberty.

This is a verse expansion or meditation on the fourth of the O Antiphons; the first and second poems in this project appeared two weeks ago and last week respectively, and the third on Wednesday. I hope to have the fifth tomorrow and the last two next week.

Blick aus dem Entrée by Henrik Nordenberg

While I was initially somewhat taken aback by the titular image of the previous antiphon, further investigation revealed that “… the root of Jesse standing as a sign among the peoples” was essentially a direct quotation from the relevant passage in Isaiah. The similarly-curious title “O Key of David,” however, had changed the image from its source, so I adapted it more freely.

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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