“Surely Every Man is a Mere Breath”

Tuesday is for Prayer

Read Psalm 39

A Bird's Breath on a Cool Morning or a Cloud?
A Bird’s Breath on a Cool Morning or a Cloud?

We only slow down when we hurt. The rest of the time, we run around like we know what we are doing and stay just ahead of the puppy barking at our heals calling us to stop and pet him. He won’t bite. He wants to play. God is always trying to slow me down and get me to think, and reflect, and wonder, and repent, and cry, and rejoice. Me? I am always rushing ahead with “stuff” that I think is important and He thinks is silly. He’s right and I’m stupid.

So finally He gives the blessing of a sleepless night and in the silence, He speaks through His word. This morning at 4 AM it is Psalm 39 and I put pen to paper to force myself to slow down, to not just read but to meditate and reflect. Poetry shouldn’t explain everything. It should force us to reach beyond our immediate conscious awareness. Good poetry, like my sons, suggests unseen worlds and hints at future glory.

My poetry is unworthy of the name. There is little artistic beauty and skill in my too-cluttered brain. But these words captured for me what David was going through and how he found hope in the midst of a crushing weight. We will all have that moment. When you have yours, Psalm 39 wouldn’t be a bad place to spend some time.

Another offering to The Poetry Project

Surely Every Man is a Mere Breath

A speaker struck speechless,
A giver of words now wordless,
A singer with no more songs,
Choking on nothing left and everything that remains,
With a worsening sorrow and an implacable hope.

There are no words left.
No arguments to be made
Only prayers to be prayed
An anguished selah of recognition
Affliction’s good and bitter fruit is born

I want a dictionary that can remove scales.
I want a language that explains mysteries.
I want a library of perfect wisdom.

   .    dropping from shelf-limbs as I look up
.       to receive their bounty.
But the time is past.
All words are tintiddles.
The moment is gone.
The library has burned to the ground.
And the dictionary no longer is around.

Sinners live with consequences.
Some they create and some they inherit
David created many.
How did he survive the wreckage of his pain?

“My hope is in You.”  
He saw Your hand;
He cried for Your mercy;
He held to his hope;
He held on to You. 
With every reproof,
When he knew he was a breath,
He held on to You.

“I am a stranger with You,
A sojourner like all the heroes before me”
O God make me like them,
Make me like them, for You.

Go to Psalm 40

Addendum: Just saw that I already covered this Psalm in March of this year. That post focused on verses 7-11 and was titled “Tomorrow”. In my Bible, Psalm 39 is laid out in 13 verses and 36 lines. I tried to constrain my thoughts to 36 lines as well.


One thought on ““Surely Every Man is a Mere Breath”

  1. I’ve been witnessing to an atheist who is yet unable to see his need for Jesus. Your poem beautifully expresses what I’ve been trying to relate to him:
    “Sinners live with consequences.
    Some the create and some they inherit
    David created many.
    How did he survive the wreckage of his pain?”
    And then the hope found in God, that we have through faith in Jesus Christ. . . beautiful, and powerfully speaks to our great need. Oh that all would see! This is my prayer. . . thank you, Marty, for sharing your early-morning reflections. . . .

    Like

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