“I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth…” – Psalm 138.1
Words act in us, like a remedy.
Some words, such as the Psalms and certain poems both do and undo us.
Take for example Rilke’s poem from The Book of A Monastic Life, I.3:
But when I lean over the chasm of myself – it seems my God is dark and like a web a hundred roots silently drinking. This is the ferment I grow out of. More I don’t know, because my branches rest in deep silence, stirred only by the wind.*
Or, Lenoard Cohen’s poem-prayer from his Book of Mercy:
“…You hide me in the shelter of your name, and you open the hardness to tears…You draw me back to close my eyes, to bless your name in speechlessness. Blessed are you in the smallness of your whispering. Blessed are you who speaks to the unworthy.”**
*Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, Trans. by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy (New York: Penguin Books, 2005) 47.
Book of Mercy (New York: Random House, 1984) 41.