Psalm 139

a poetic reinterpretation

When I hid, you searched for me,
you knew me through and through.
I close my eyes, you kiss my eyelids;
I open them, you smile in welcome.
I don’t need words for you to understand me–
A thought, a sigh, a glance will do.
You know where I’ve been, how I’ve striven
and struggled; you know when
I’ve given in, given up, had no more to give.
I whisper, I weep, I laugh, I snipe,
you know it. You remain with me.
You contain me, my beginning and my end.
You calm me with tender reassurance.
I know it and forget it.
Your love is beyond me
and within me–both
are true at once.

Yet, still I seem to always look for my escape route,
some way to secret myself away.
In moments of transcendence, your presence is incandescent.
Buried alive by grief, immobile with fear?
You breathe peace.
I awake and jump immediately into work, forgetting to greet you,
or I pull the covers up and wish the world away–
you are there through it all
you gaze upon me with love.
Whether hiding or fighting, loving or seeking–
it’s all the same to you
How ever and where ever I am
you entwine me into you.

You remind me that I do not need to apologize for myself,
as if I should not take up the space I do.
I am because of your handiwork,
and you take joy in me when I marvel
at your gift of life, of body, of mind.
Your artistry astounds me–sunbursts in my eyes,
labyrinthine fingerprints, intricate capillaries,
even laugh lines and wrinkles delicately drawn.
Suspended in the watery womb when cells were dividing,
I swam about more fish than human–
even so you delighted in what could be.
How much more so now, still unfinished as I am,
still just a speck in the universe’s womb?
I can only know you–and know me–in fleeting
moments of being.
But you gather every lifespan within you:
Eternal Now, Eternal Love, Eternal Yes.

The things that eat away at me–
fury, misplaced fear, lies, hopelessness–
they leave my spirit weary, arid,
paper thin. [You know this.]
So that I curse these feelings–and
the things and the people that roil them up.
[And you know this.]
I hate all that is an enemy of life. [You know this.]
Hate is an enemy of life.
At my worst, I believe my hatred aligns me with you;
I make it my god and pretend it’s you.
[And you know this.]

You gentle me back to the beginning–
and I lay it all out before you
without guile or pretense.
Search me. Know me.
Let me find myself in you.

–Jennifer W. Davidson

Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

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