We are pleased to feature an original poem written by Nathan Hunt in response to Psalm 131, a vivid “psalm of ascents” by David.

PSALM 131

Among the streaming people
on hazy summer streets,
a sprouting weed.

In the thorns
a tiny aphid
nuzzles the green.

The crowd blinks at the marching band.
The floats crawl slowly past.

Overhead a huge balloon tosses its shadow
on the beaming upturned faces.

The melodies ascend.
The cymbals splash.
My eyes are downcast
and next to me a teething child
is amazed into silence.

READ PSALM 131, the inspiration for this poem.

 

From the Artist
Psalm 131 is one of my favorite verses. I love that it is a song of ascents, sung as David climbs the steps to minister in the Temple, and yet his eyes are downcast. This is the great and still humility in the face of divine love. The Temple and the work there are the “great matters or things too wonderful for me” which David is ascending to, but instead of thinking of pomp and splendor, he’s quieting his soul. The central image, the soul stilled like a weaned child with its mother, is something I couldn’t possibly improve upon. And the final verse comes in as a triumphant refrain! I tried to interpret this psalm through imagery, through contrasting the glory and joyous noise of a parade with a speaker more enraptured by a small plant and its world. He thinks on a tiny, natural, sincere thing, rather than “great matters or things too wonderful…” I explored the child’s transformation from teething to weaned, as the great commotion makes it forget its pain. The parade must be ignored to see the aphid’s tender moment, as it “nuzzles the green,” but yet the wild celebration (and the Temple worship) are the glory that provide the reason for silence.

Nathan Hunt grew up on a small farm near Eugene, Oregon. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Writing and Literature (with a minor in Spanish language) from George Fox University in the fall of 2009. In his spare time, he works at two wineries in Newberg, Oregon. His poems have been featured in The Iconoclast, Mudfish, Perceptions, The Houston Literary Review and Boston Literary Magazine, among others. He is the co-founder and co-editor of the upstart literary journal Cartographer.

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