PSALMIST

Me_cafe_rougeby Jake Murray08 Mar 2015

PSALMIST

"And David danced before the Lord with all his might."
- 2 Samuel 6:14

i

Somewhere in the stillness
Of the Palace, a simple room
Far from the eyes of courtiers
And servants,
And smiling ambassadors,
He finds his silence,
Settles in his solitude.
Images flash of the shepherd boy,
Sweating beneath the blazing sky
And bleak stones, sands stretched around him,
Who fought battles, laughed in the daylight,
His black hair shining dark and blue
Like oil, eyes bright
And sparkling;
Killed his peoples' greatest enemy with nothing;
Hid from the King, ducked spears thrown
To split his head; loved a Prince,
Lusted after another's wife
And wept and screamed,
His child dead, his child dead.

Was all this for nothing? Gone now
Into Time. He remembers dancing
In white linen, pleading
As the Angel of Death
Slaughtered his people
For anger he barely
Understood, steeped in blood;
These things were gone too.

Exhausted, he listens to the whispers
In the corridors, plots and gossips
Outside,
The span of his kingdom
Surrounded by enemies now subdued
And feels his breath quicken,
His heart beat, weariness spreads out
About his head and he weeps
Silently,
Remembering the shepherd boy
Who thought everything was possible
Beneath the rising sun.

And drawing in his sadness,
He raises his head to look at the
Wall. Determination. Resolving
These contradictions, weaving this
Pain into music,
He takes up his
Harp
And sings.

ii

Night falls.
Hands stretched out
In extremity across the stone floor,
Flagstones wet with sweat
And crying out in the dark
To something unknown that had
Blessed him once, that he thought
Was there,
In the silence,
Hearing nothing, deep calling
Unto deep he lies, gasping, looking
Up to the ceiling, where the lamp burns
Quietly, flickering to nothing, night stretching
Out beyond, stars snuffing themselves
To darkness like windows closing
For a silent death.
He sighs and gapes,
Eyes turning upwards, done with pain
As lying there, hands move
To his heart like spiders
Before he sings;
He sings like tears, each word ringing
Out to infinity, until something, someone,
Turns and, forced to listen from
The distance, finally takes notice
And hears.

iii

Moon beats its silent
Tambourine, leaving water like a silken
Sea spread across the landscape,
Ceding the sky to the day;
Finds him
Alone, sat, eyes wide and aghast,
On the Throne
Of the Kingdom
Lush curtains wrapped around him
Like a hallucination;
Another night without sleep
Which has revealed
The Palace to be
Empty chambers
Before the play begins.

Sunlight yawns over the
Horizon, waking the city to street cries,
And trade at stalls, animals lowing
And the life of the people filling the day.

Put down the sword. The battle for the land
Is done. Dark hair that once danced
Singing through the streets is now old
And grey, thinning, the handsome face
That once stunned a people
Is tired.
And in the haunted morning, eyes
Empty he dreams of the Temple, magnificent
Walls, gilt ceilings and vaults concealing
The Holy of Holies,
Mystery only one can see
At the holiest moment of the year;
Temple to the living Soul.

Put down the sword. But the sword is
Bloody and blood cannot build the
Tabernacle. So he looks to the child,
Sound of his son gurgling
With the wet nurse, laughing
At a kitten rolling at his feet,
And knows it will be his, knows it will be his
Task to build the Hall of the Spirit,
It will be he who asks for wisdom
And understanding,
Not him.

And the knowledge moves him from the Throne
To pluck strings again,
And as dawn breaks
The tired man begins,
Once more
To sing.