Poet and songwriter Rebekah Sankey delves into matters of satisfaction and spiritual fulfillment in the form of a seven course poem in response to the theme of “meals” and Psalm 145:

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in trust. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them…

 

A Prayer (in courses)

 after Psalm 145

1

drone of day unbridled hunger
space between food and water

we: your celebrated
labor, art of your undertaking,
your needlework

our lips so quick to close
over what we put in take-and-keep consumption

we cast this confession of praise
on you, archery of the kneeling.

2

open to air praise
we cannot keep ourselves

You’re a precious heaviness
we bring to light
with our mouths, our tongues
set your strengths in rows

beams of speech a feast we feed each other

so men discover them,
so we see swelling majesty.

3

Long-time-hidden, unseen-
beginning circle: you go
around again, again, again;
every generation is your home.

all crave a place
at your table

You are, so we lean, braced against the fall,
our famine-bodies bowed
by souls hunger bore holes through.

4

weight of worry work world
we weary of strive but

From fountains of faces, hope flows
toward you. You give what we consume,

feed us

a meal
we can be made of forever.

Loose your mouth hand lead us in
on time’s axle, monument
to your own strength.

your own son, own spirit, at
             the table of your own counsel

So satisfied,
every appetite alive delights!

5

You are, so every journey is straight,
all you make you chose for kindness’ sake.

You are, so you leave short space between us,
we call in confidence

meal that makes us
more than, means we eat again again

Make this satisfaction certain,
hear clear as music you can understand
this wide cry that can’t find word;

save us, make us spacious.

6

You are, so you tend us, a garden, we branch
out anywhere you breathe,
green delight we shoot toward you.

oh to grow, food for friends,
lush lives given

7

My mouth’s portion is:
promise of bright praise, a light
setting your light in order.

radiance of sun on leaf and limb
                                        what leads
                                        the living in

Even the body bends to bless
your Name, that feast
we celebrate for time so long
the end is hidden,
and as long as
until then.

 

From the Artist: 

As a poet and singer-songwriter, I have been drawn to the Psalms for obvious reasons. There are so many beautiful translations, but I’ve always imagined something I don’t want to miss is lost in the transfer between languages. I’ve started turning bits of Psalms into poems focused on the images and connotations of the original Hebrew words and their roots. The experience is spiritually transformative. My personal favorite is the violence surrounding “praise,” whose roots include the image of throwing stones or shooting arrows in a particular direction. How reassuring to know the violence I have felt while leading corporate worship is inherent in the action of praise itself.

 

So, when presented the theme of meals, the Psalms, which are satisfying to me, were the table I sat down at. I chose Psalm 145 for its expression of God’s deep joy to “satisfy the desire of every living thing” and Creation’s response to the provision of “meat in due season.” Rather than divide the call and response of the poem into the respective verses of the chapter, I consider the sections of the poem as seven (for perfection’s sake) courses of a meal. The italicized stanzas are a heart’s response to the paraphrased, image-based versions of verses 10 through 21 on the right alignment.

 


Headshot

Rebekah Sankey graduated from The College of New Jersey with a BS in Education and English. She received her MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, where she served as director for the Sarah Lawrence College Poetry Festival. Currently, Rebekah teaches English, humanities, and Bible courses at Eastern Christian High School in northern New Jersey. Weekly, she leads worship at a variety of churches, houses of prayer, and gatherings.

 

 
This work was curated by Vesper Stamper

This poem is copyrighted by the artist and used here by permission.

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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com  The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

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