The Linnet's Wings :Take All My Loves, My Love - Page 47

The Linnet´s Wings Psalm 137 Psalms are poems, not only because they have meter and imagery and elevated language but because they tell a story and express emotions. We go wrong in sanctifying the Psalms and missing the human drama. Psalm 137, for example, could be domesticated into a fervent statement of allegiance to Zion. But the force of Psalm 137 is its anger, and we can appreciate that appeal to violence only by reconstructing the circumstances of the poem, as the poem insists that we do. [As is so often the case, this peaceful image betrays the harsh moment enact- ed in the Psalm.] By the rivers of Babylon, we sat down, there we sat, oh we wept, when we recalled Zion. On the poplars there we hung up our lyres. For there our captors had asked of us words of song, and our plunderers – rejoicing: “Sing us from Zion’s songs.” How can we sing a song of the Lord on foreign soil? Should I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand wither, may my tongue cleave to my palate if I do not recall you, If I do not set Jerusalem above my chief joy. Recall, O Lord, the Edomites, on the day of Jerusalem, saying: “Raze it, raze it, to its foundation!” Daughter of Babylon the despoiler happy who pays you back in kind, 47