“Psalm 14”

The wicked person, in his senseless folly,
Says, to calm himself, there is no God.
And all are, like this, full of wicked deeds,
Their minds unfit and bent by love of sin;
There is not one who knows and does the right.

But God, all-knowing, looks upon the earth,
Considering the hearts of mortal men,
If any see his fame or love his ways,
If any rightly understand the good:
No, all have wandered from the proper way,
Conspired together all to go astray,
So none, not even one, does what is good.

You wicked people, will you never learn,
Who gobble greedily, with ceaseless hunger
As though all my fellow-countrymen
Were only so much bread? Have you not seen
How God is with us, in his people’s midst,
So dread has risen and washed over you?
For though you set yourselves against our will
To overthrow the plans the poor have hoped,
The Lord our refuge always shelters us.

Lord, how I long to see salvation come
Down from your temple on your holy hill.
When God remembers us, and lifts us up,
And brings prosperity to us again,
Let all who bear his name lift up their hearts
In glad rejoicing with loud shouts of praise.

King Lear and the Fool in the Storm (William Dyce)
This poem is the fourteenth 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 began this poem soon after finishing my setting of Psalm 13, in mid-October of last year, and finished it in early November. I’ve delayed posting it because of plans for more pointedly seasonal poems in the intervening weeks.

As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, questions, critique, 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), follow this blog for (now only occasional) new poetry (among other things), or get my book, which contains over sixty of my best poems, each paired with a public-domain illustration or drawing. You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.


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