Psalm 142 Rendition—I Am Lost. I Am Alone.

"I spill my anxious meditations before you like water.."

  
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Rendition of Psalm 142

Help me, God!
I plead for mercy.
I spill my anxious meditations before you like water;
I tell you all my troubles.

My spirit faints and flickers.
Can you see the path I’ve walked—
Where every step conceals a deadfall?
I am lost. I am alone.
No one takes notice of me.
No refuge remains to me.
No one is looking for me.

Help me, God!
You must be my shelter,
My portion while I am alive.
Hear me, God!
I have never been this low and lost.
Deliver me from what follows me
And from what I followed,
For I am overwhelmed.
Bring me back again,
And I will praise you with my whole life.
Surround me with goodness and safety.

Notes on Psalm 142

Note #1: “I spill my meditations before you like water”

A strict translation of verse 2 might be something like:

“I pour my musing before your face,
I make known my distress before your face.”

I rendered verse 2 as:

“I spill my anxious meditations before you like water;
I tell you all my troubles.”

There are many times in this project that I bend the poem toward the Psalm, but this is a moment of bending the Psalm toward the poem. The poem I have paired with Psalm 142 is one in a series of poems that use the symbol of water to say something about regret, memory, life, and death. (In this case, the water is in the form of ice.)

Note #2: “Every step conceals a deadfall”

“My spirit faints and flickers.
Can you see the path I’ve walked—
Where every step conceals a deadfall?
I am lost. I am alone.
No one takes notice of me.
No refuge remains to me.
No one is looking for me.”

Again, I am leaving the road of a strict word-for-word translation behind and walking a parallel path in the rendition of this Psalm in order to position the Psalm and the poem in dialogue with one another. That being said, the rendition is based in the Hebrew. The word I translated as “deadfall” (a trap for large predators) is pach, a trap for birds. The word I translated as “faints and flickers” is ataph, to enfeeble, as when God says in Isaiah 57:16:

“For I will not contend forever,
nor will I always be angry;
for the spirit would grow faint (ataph) before me,
and the breath of life that I made.”


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