psalm 49: stand your ground

respect-existence
don’t be intimidated by those
who wield their power and
privilege like weapons;
can’t you see they’re
even more fearful
than you?

don’t be cowed by
their insecurity, stand
your ground and soon
you will see how
their dread is their
downfall.

do they think their might
measures up against the
fearful power of life
and death? do they
actually believe they can
buy their way to redemption?
don’t they know the price
of their lives is far
too high to ransom?

the wise and foolish,
powerful and powerless alike
know how this all must end.
in the meantime, just let
this impossibly fragile life
be your strength and see
how your very existence
is resistance.

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2 Comments on “psalm 49: stand your ground”

  1. abunaalgodon says:

    I spent time with two lovely Palestinian friends last week, both of whose “very existence” – and much more than that – is resistance. It’s actually described as “Beautiful Resistance.”

  2. Gwenan says:

    This version sends the meaning straight to my heart. How else can the world be healed, but by recognizing our fragility and continuing to be present? Here’s a different take on fragility (Rilke, as translated by Joanna Macy):

    Part Two, Sonnet XXVII

    Does Time, as it passes, really destroy?
    It may rip the fortress from its rock;
    but can this heart, that belongs to God,
    be torn from Him by circumstance?

    Are we as fearfully fragile
    as fate would have us believe?
    Can we ever be severed
    from childhood’s deep promise?

    Ah, the knowledge of impermanence
    that haunts our days
    is their very fragrance.

    We in our striving think we should last forever,
    but could we be used by the Divine
    if we were not ephemeral?


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