Here is a shot at a poem I wrote while reflecting on the Lord in the early Psalms, specifically Psalm 1. It is curious how a self-written piece of poetry, while in the moment, seems so striking and poignant, yet when read aloud it loses some of its personality. Maybe this is because of the personal nature of poems. They are, after all, the written diary of the mind.
Truly great poems transcend personal reflection and say things worth saying to people of all stripes. This is not one of those poems, yet there is truth to be found in it. The law of the Lord may seem hard to follow — a club used to beat down disobedient children or a rod used to right the wayward — but when grafted in with the perfect Law-obeyer, there is hope for growing “like a tree planted by rivers of water” (Psalm 1:3).
Your Law, Oh Lord, is like a tree:
Safe and mighty, tall and free
It bids me come to die, yet live,
If I adhere my heart and strive.
Your Law, Oh Lord, by river flows
Is planted where full fruit sure shows
Always ripened if I should glean,
Your Law, Oh Lord, is evergreen.
It seems that work, hard work, is key
If I too wish to be like thee;
Lord I alone have none to give,
And if I try then, will I live?
But no, myself I cannot grow,
My fruit falls fast my roots dive slow;
The more I strive, the less is seen,
My life, your Law, contrasts obscene.
And yet, I see comfort in a shoot,
Jesse’s alien and law-abiding root —
Planted by my own work? No! See
I grow green by grafting him with me.