James Roberts (21 October 1981 / Saginaw, Michigan)
Yahweh my God, I call for help all day,
I weep to You all night;
may my prayer reach You
hear my cries for help;
for my soul is all troubled,
my life is on the brink of Sheol;
I am numbered among those who go down to the Pit,
a man bereft of strength:
a man alone, down among the dead,
among the slaughtered in their graves,
among those You have forgotten,
those deprived of Your protecting hand.
You have plunged me to the bottom of the Pit,
to its darkest, deepest place,
weighted down by Your anger,
drowned beneath Your waves.
You have turned my friends against me
and made me repulsive to them;
in prison and unable to escape,
my eyes are worn out with suffering.
Yahweh, I invoke You all day,
I stretch out my hands to You:
are Your marvels meant for the dead,
can ghosts rise up to praise You?
Who talks of Your love in the grave,
of Your faithfulness in the place of perdition?
Do they hear about Your marvels in the dark,
about Your righteousness in the land of oblivion?
But I am here, calling for Your help,
praying to You every morning:
why do You reject me?
Why do You hide your face from me?
Wretched, slowly dying since my youth,
I bore Your terrors- now I am exhausted;
Your anger overwhelmed me,
You destroyed me with Your terrors
which, like a flood, were around me, all day long,
all together closing in on me.
You have turned my friends and neighbours against me,
now darkness is my one companion left.
Comments about this poem (Psalm 88 by James Roberts )
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