Friday, July 29, 2016

By the Waters of Babylon

By the waters of Babylon by Arthur Hacker, 1888
1Upon the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept: when we remembered Sion:
2On the willows in the midst thereof we hung up our instruments.
3For there they that led us into captivity required of us the words of songs. And they that carried us away, said: Sing ye to us a hymn of the songs of Sion.
4How shall we sing the song of the Lord in a strange land?
5If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand be forgotten.
6Let my tongue cleave to my jaws, if I do not remember thee: If I make not Jerusalem the beginning of my joy.
7Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom, in the day of Jerusalem: Who say: Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.
8O daughter of Babylon, miserable: blessed shall he be who shall repay thee thy payment which thou hast paid us.
9Blessed be he that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. 
 —Psalm 136 (Douai version)

A Meditation on Psalm 136: 
 "Super flumina Babylonis."
The leaves have fallen.
The flowers have withered.
The rain comes down. 
The year dies 
In this garden of exile
Where we have hung up our hearts.
The clamor of Babylon roars
Beyond the wall;
I listen
For another sound.
I wait
For another song.
I watch
The horizon glow
Beneath clouds of lead
In a moment of yearning
For Paradise.
O Jerusalem unseen!
Our eyes are blind to your 
Which all around us shine.
And yet
The voices of the saints
Seem to pierce
The curtain of rain.
I listen.
I wait.
I watch for dawn.
For that morning of mornings
The morning
Of going home.
O City of God!
Compared to the possession of thee
There is no happiness!
 Mary Magdalen of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, OCDS

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