Psalm 22

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not;
and in the night season, and am not silent.

But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.

They cried unto thee, and were delivered:
they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.

But I am a worm, and no man;
a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

All they that see me laugh me to scorn:
they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,

He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him:
let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

But thou art he that took me out of the womb:
thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts.

I was cast upon thee from the womb:
thou art my God from my mother’s belly.

Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.

Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.

They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint:
my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.

My strength is dried up like a potsherd;
and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me:
they pierced my hands and my feet.

I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.

They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.

Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.

Save me from the lion’s mouth:
for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.

I will declare thy name unto my brethren:
in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

Ye that fear the Lord, praise him;
all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.

For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.

My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation:
I will pay my vows before them that fear him.

The meek shall eat and be satisfied:
they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.

All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord:
and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.

For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations.

All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship:
all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him:
and none can keep alive his own soul.

A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.

They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born,
that he hath done this.

Psalm 22 [King James Version]

Three Versions

Take one   [sonnet]

I set out riding once at dusk, by bike

riding a cemetery’s tranquil trails.

God’s wonders peeking forth from evening veils

I mused along vague themes:  Life—and suchlike…

Rounding one swift curve a vision assailed:

three nubile maids in nylon, fresh from the pool.

passing this trinity, I—the mad fool,

Beheld three graces; reverie prevailed.

Midst sepulchers I wondered at such sights…

Was I Paris?  dazzled by their beauty,

my mind’s eye grew distracted in duty.

The resurrection glimpsed: angelic sprites !

(the third go-by my thoughts fell down to earth;

carnal, I scanned their suits of flesh for worth…)


Take two  [rhymed couplets]

While I rode out one summer eve through a cemetery’s peaceful  cheer
I chanced upon three suburban maids in Lycra swimming  gear
fresh from the pool among the tombs… or fresh from the tombs to revisit earth?
Arrested now my thoughts, I passed in resurrected beauty’s birth.
My sight and mind strange tricks did play. I couldn’t believe my eyes
amidst the dead, upon green paths, I lingered on their graceful thighs.
I pedaled fast and asked the Lord: what brings such lovely damsels here?
Around I rode, then passed again. As visions surged, the heavens drew near.
A little further now they’d strayed from where I first had seen them. Then
their brightening smiles stopped time.  And so I passed them yet again…
Distracted now from holy thoughts  I mused upon their girlish faces
[Thus Paris faltered before the three, confusing goddesses with graces]
What led them thus to flit so much alive among the verdant graves?
A thousand questions surged that verged on blasphemy. Still Paris raves
of lissome bodies on the grass, the bright-eyed smiles of lovely lasses
naive in nylon innocence, like Botticellian trespasses
But they were simply walking home, and took a shortcut through the grave
and they were young, but now I’m old—and a dying renaissance knave.

Take three

Early dusk graveyard:

Three nubile girls, wet swimsuits

Life resurrected