Starlings Painting Whales

A Reflection on Psalm 148
(with an assist from the video below)

Read Psalm 148 (or maybe 1, 8, 19, 146-150)

The music of this video is hauntingly beautiful. I could listen to it for hours. Coupled with the images of a starling murmuration, it is hypnotic. But near the end of the video, there is a poem that also accompanies the music. In my opinion, it is misplaced, and as I read Psalm 148 that day it stimulated the thoughts below. You can watch and read and reflect and come to your own conclusion.

The poetry project is a periodic series.

In December of 2009 or thereabouts, my son, Marty Schoenleber III (aka Marty S. Dalton), put a video up on Youtube.com. It inspired me to keep working on a project I thought of a couple of years ago. The idea is to write a poem of personal reflection for each Psalm in the Psalter. Here are some of the offerings so far. Some of the poems are preceded by a brief commentary.

Disclaimer: Don’t think of any as high art. Think of these offerings as one poor man’s desire to draw nearer to Christ. 

One more thing: It is always best to read the psalm or the verses being commented on first. In this case, Psalm 148.


Starlings Painting Whales

The starlings were painting whales
and dolphins.
They were singing with their wings of Your glory.
And the pianist and the cellist and oboeist were doing their best
to keep up and mirror the wonder of You, 
and what You had put into being,
and what you had hung in the sky,
like an arrow pointing to glory
like a hint and a whisper of Your wonder
as a reminder of Your faithfulness.
,,,,
But I didn’t like the poem.
Not because the poem was better than mine
or more skillfully drawn than mine.
It was.
But that didn’t bother me.
I disliked it because it tried too hard to be clever.
The poem tried to hard to be profound.
It tried to hard to be as beautiful as the music, 

and as wonderous as the bird ink.
Instead, the poem had become foolish in its beauty.
It forgot You.
It was a sign that pointed away from You,
away from glory, and majesty, and beauty, and truth.
It pointed away from love,
in a beautiful way. 
It pointed away from You.
But it is You that put the paint on the starlings wings
And gave them memories of whales.

Go to Psalm 149


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