For the Director of Music

Lord, you are the God who saves me;
day and night I cry out to you.
May my prayer come before you;
turn your ear to my cry.

I am overwhelmed with troubles
and my life draws near to death.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am like one without strength.
I am set apart with the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom you remember no more,
who are cut off from your care.

You have put me in the lowest pit,
in the darkest depths.
Your wrath lies heavily on me;
you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.
You have taken from me my closest friends
and have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape;
my eyes are dim with grief.

I call to you, Lord, every day;
I spread out my hands to you.
Do you show your wonders to the dead?
Do their spirits rise up and praise you?
Is your love declared in the grave,
your faithfulness in Destruction?
Are your wonders known in the place of darkness,
or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?

But I cry to you for help, Lord;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Why, Lord, do you reject me
and hide your face from me?

From my youth I have suffered and been close to death;
I have borne your terrors and am in despair.
Your wrath has swept over me;
your terrors have destroyed me.
All day long they surround me like a flood;
they have completely engulfed me.
You have taken from me friend and neighbor—
darkness is my closest friend.

–Psalm 88

6 thoughts on “For the Director of Music

    • I know. I posted it because I was having a ‘dark night of the soul’ last night, up almost till sunrise with vicious insomnia and treacherous thoughts. I happened to open to that Psalm, and while I was reading it, it felt almost as though I was writing it myself — it spoke so clearly what I was feeling at that moment. I often marvel how some guy living 4500 years ago could have voiced the same aspect of the human condition that I might be feeling today. There is something healing in that kind of mutual embrace of humanity, as though I was joining the psalmist who wrote “to the director of music” in his earnest appeal to the Almighty.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think the human experience has changed much at all in all that time. I’m glad it gave you comfort. I was awake too, and filled my sleeplessness with reading a horror book. Ha ha ha. Quite a difference. :-)

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Yes, that is quite a difference. I hope the horror book selected was as engaging as your *Caitling’s Bane.* My dad always used to suggest I read science fiction, as he did, during bouts of insomnia. My problem with that is that it would excite me, and I would spin off of it, half-consciously rewriting it, elaborating on it with my own innovations in my mind. (In other words, it kept me awake.) I can’t say as Psalm 88 put me to sleep, but I can say I felt no urge to “rewrite” or add anything to it. An incredibly sad and gorgeous poem.


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