Poem of Lament


“The function of a Lament or Psalm of Petitionary Praise (Westermann), is to provide a structure for crisis, hurt, grief, or despair; to move a worshipper from hurt to joy, from darkness to light, from desperation to hope. This movement from hurt to joy is not a psychological or liturgical experience only, although it includes those. And it is not a physical deliverance from the crisis, although that is often anticipated. The movement “out of the depths” from hurt to joy is a profoundly spiritual one.”[1]

Movements of Lament

I. Address
Father of a presence unfathomable,
In distress I sit,
In silence.
Focusing my attention on You,
With my heart surrounded by internal giants.
In pain I sit,
If you only knew,
But now I authentically allow my inner world to come into Your view.

II. Complaint
Then I freeze as I stare upon an empty chair,
As my mind tries to form Your image,
But there is what appears to be only air.
At times, I wonder if you truly listen and care?
Relationship with You who is ethereal?
Is painful without Your Ascended material.

Do you know the depths of my anger?
From its prison it cries out its clangor.
Do you know the depths of my sadness?
As it stretches in never-ending vastness.

III. Affirmation of Trust
Nevertheless I look back to the days when I felt You,
And a smile forms across my face,
As I recall your wondrous grace.
Joyous memories so true.
My longing for You has been given hope,
This inner memorial helps me to cope.

IV. Petition
Once again, grant me this sacred space,
A reprieve within your garden of grace.
Then within my inner world continue to guide me,
Grant me new eyes that I may see,
To be where the voices of my pain wish to bring me.

Kyrie eleison![2]
Return my inner world to being one!

V. Acknowledgment of Response
You have assured me that I am heard,
As your child I am preferred.
You have blessed my path of choice,
A path that has granted me a new voice.

VI. Doxology: Blessings, Praise
Gloria in excelsis Deo,[3]
You stepped into my innermost limbo.
Arranging this dark space,
As your own sacred place.

© M. Keith Sartin, Jr.

[1] http://www.crivoice.org/psalmgenre.html
[2] Lord, have mercy
[3] Glory to God in the highest


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