“Psalm 15”

Sovereign Lord, our Lord, who may live with you?
And who will you allow within your house,
To come into your holy presence there
And stand before your glory and your face?

A person who has lived a blameless life
And never wandered from the righteous path,
Whose heart is full of truth and overflows
To speak no lie against his neighbor’s good,
Who holds those who love God in high esteem
But scorns the vile, who disregard God’s law,
With grave contempt born from his highest love,
Who makes no promise he will fail to keep,
Who seeks no profit in his neighbor’s pain
But gives and lends his money without cost,
Who judges justly and impartially,
Finding in favor of the innocent
And never looking at an offered bribe—

If anyone is righteous, he shall stand
And enter in God’s presence in his house,
Where nothing shall disturb his trusting rest.

The Anchorite by Teodor Axentowicz

This poem is the fifteenth 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 November of last year, but didn’t finish it until earlier this month.

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. The Kindle edition of my book is on sale this weekend. You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.

“Veni, O Adonai”

O Lord of Hosts, you rule your chosen people
With a deft and mighty outstretched hand,
And have since long before that famous day
You spoke to Moses from the burning bush;
You struck their foes with plagues, then brought them forth
From Egypt, where they lived in slavery,
Then dry-shod through the Sea. On Sinai’s peak
You showed your majesty in smoke and thunder,
And in such an awesome, fearsome, voice
That all who heard it fell and cried with dread
You spoke your law, that all might know your ways.
Now, Lord, your people cry again in anguish,
Laboring under the selfish rule
Of those who hate you: Come deliver us,
Show forth your righteousness, bring low the proud,
And grant your chosen saints to hear your voice.

This is a verse expansion or meditation on the second of the O Antiphons; my poem on the first appeared here last week, and I hope to finish poems based on all seven before Christmas.

Moses on Mount Sinai by Jean-Léon Gérôme

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.

“Catechesis”

O Lord, the catechism teaches me
That not one man—no one of Adam’s sons—
Can keep a single precept of your Law
With that perfection of obedience
Which it deserves and, justly, you demand,
And that the best of those you’ve called and claimed
Has in this life made but the small first steps
Toward that boundless and wholehearted love—
And that by grace, “lest any man should boast.”
But I have seen my steps go wandering
Both far and wide, to any path but yours,
To my regret, my peril, and my shame;
At last repenting, I would turn again
My face towards your city soon to come.
I, blushing, have resolved to lay aside
Distractions and “attractive nuisances”
That, though good gifts from you, have weighed me down,
To spend my strength in service to your call
And in your kingdom’s work, and not mere trifles.

I wrote this in a time of reflection some time after hearing a sermon that drew from the Heidelberg Catechism’s teaching about the Tenth Commandment and the Decalogue as a whole.

As always, I earnestly welcome your (further) 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 (perhaps starting with those linked from one of the “archive ” installments, 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 this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.

This poem is also mirrored on my wiki.

Matters of Definition: Issues of Society and Politics

There are several issues, currently “hot-buttons,” on which the Left has managed to convince the media and a substantial segment of the population that theirs is the only reasonable position by assuming and arguing from false definitions. I’d like to take a look at some of these issues, beginning with better, proper, definitions, today. Continue reading

“Quarter Century”: A Birthday Poem

A quarter-century has now elapsed
Since I made my first entrance to this sphere.
How swiftly all those days have passed me by—
I blink to brush a tear, and months are lost—
But oh, what joy the Lord has granted me,
What sorrows I have brought upon myself,
What evil I have done, but good have found.
Would that I had these decades once again,
To live them over—better—as I ought!
But even so, if I were to rely
Upon myself, my righteousness, my worth,
Even were all that I regret undone,
I cannot love my God wholeheartedly
Or perfectly keep even one command,
As his most holy law justly demands,
So I must place all trust in him who did.
But as these swiftly-flying years increase,
May I become more worthy of the call
Which that redemption places on my head
And in my work advance his kingdom’s aims,
That when he comes I ready may be found.

Today is my twenty-fifth birthday; I wrote this earlier this week for the occasion. I plan a somewhat more extensive post on the subject tomorrow. And, as I mentioned after last week’s poem, this might be the end of this “department” (poems on Friday) as a regular weekly feature; I’ve run out of old poems I consider presentable with only minimal editing, so future posts will depend on my more thoroughly revising rougher-edged old poems or writing new ones.

I always welcome your comments, critique, suggestions (perhaps of a real title for this poem?), or any other feedback on this poem or any other part of my work. (In other words, if you like it, if you don’t like it, if something “works”, if something “doesn’t work”, if it makes you think of something or someone, etc., please comment and say so!) If you like this, you can follow this blog, which includes one of my poems every Friday; you can also read other poems I’ve written here on my blog (or if that list is too intimidating, I’m posting more manageable subsets each week, such as yesterday’s installment, so you can just start with those). I’d particularly like to know which poems you think are my best.

This poem is also mirrored on my wiki. If you like it, you are also encouraged to share it with others, subject to my sharing policy.

Corporations in the Empire

After my post aboutguilds and money in the world of the Shine Cycle, it’s time to talk about another side of the economic system: corporations.

Much as in our world, businessmen can form corporations to conduct their business as a body or to limit their personal liability for ordinary financial losses. Again as in our world, each corporation originally had to be individually authorized by an individual charter created by a legislative act of the government of each jurisdiction, but after the Justice Ministry’s reforms under Argentmentes, Rebecca, and Faith (and perhaps even before the arrival of the Chosen, they may simply be registered. Continue reading

Honor in the Shine Cycle

One of the themes I hope to express, if not emphasize, in the Shine Cycle is heroism. In particular, I want to convey what it is (that is, in what it consists) and why it is important. But I want this to come through naturally, as an outgrowth and essential part of the story I’m telling, not as an ex cathedra authoris lecture or an infodump (which is something I know from experience I have to be wary of with any theme I think is important). Today I’d like to explain and explore this theme. Continue reading