With the dawn of a new church year, we have launched a new feature on our website, a weekly post of poetry that resonates with the lectionary readings for that week (Revised Common Lectionary).
*** Revised Common Lectionary ***
2 Samuel 11:1-15
Hot sun, cool fire, tempered with sweet air,
Black shade, fair nurse, shadow my white hair:
Shine, sun; burn, fire; breathe, air, and ease me;
Black shade, fair nurse, shroud me and please me:
Shadow, my sweet nurse, keep me from burning,
Make not my glad cause cause of mourning.
Let not my beauty’s fire
Inflame unstaid desire,
Nor pierce any bright eye
That wandereth lightly.
*** This poem is in the public domain,
and may be read in a live-streamed worship service.
Hymn to Life
Bathsheba, a fishing village
built on Barbados’s eastern shore, magnet for hurricanes
and pro surfers, its foamy white waters calling to mind
the milk baths rumored to have kept Solomon’s mother so
perilously beautiful. First the milk’s lactic acid would have
acted as an exfoliant, gently removing layers of the dead,
dry skin to uncover younger, fresher skin waiting like artwork
in Dunkirk underneath, then the milk’s natural fat content
would restore moisture lost to the exacting atmosphere
of biblical Jerusalem, whose name in Hebrew, yireh shalem,
means “will see peace.” Most versions of the story make her
into an exhibitionist but the Midrash says Bathsheba, modest,
was washing behind a wicker screen when Satan, seizing
opportunity, appeared as a red bird to David who, cocksure
with projectiles now, aimed the stone in his hands at the bird
but hit the screen instead, splitting it in half and thereby
revealing our bather, the wife of Uriah the Hittite at the time
but not for much longer.