POETRY: Lord, Hear My Prayer by John Clare

Lord, Hear My Prayer by John Clare

Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee.  Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.  For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth.  My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread.  By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin.  I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.  I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.  Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me.  For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping.  Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down.  My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.  But thou, O Lord, shall endure forever; and thy remembrance unto all generations. Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favor her, yea, the set time, is come.  For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust thereof.  So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the Earth thy glory.  When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.  He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer. (Psalm 102:1-17)

Lord, hear my prayer when trouble glooms,
Let sorrow find a way,
And when the day of trouble comes,
Turn not thy face away:
My bones like hearthstones burn away,
My life like vapoury smoke decays.

My heart is smitten like the grass,
That withered lies and dead,
And I, so lost to what I was
Forget to eat my bread.
My voice is groaning all the day,
My bones prick through this skin of clay.

The wilderness’s pelican,
The desert’s lonely owl—
I am their like, a desert man
In ways as lone and foul.
As sparrows on the cottage top
I wait till I with fainting drop.

I hear my enemies reproach,
All silently I mourn;
They on my private peace encroach,
Against me they are sworn.
Ashes as bread my trouble shares,
And mix my food with weeping cares.

Yet not for them is sorrow’s toil,
I fear no mortal’s frowns—
But thou hast held me up awhile
And thou has cast me down.
My days like shadows waste from view,
I mourn like withered grass in dew.

But thou, Lord, shalt endure for ever,
All generations through;
Thou shalt to Zion be the giver
Of joy and mercy too.
Her very stones are in thy trust,
Thy servants reverence her dust.

Heathens shall hear and fear thy name,
All kings of Earth thy glory know
When thou shalt build up Zion’s fame
And live in glory there below.
He’ll not despise their prayers, though mute,
But still regard the destitute.

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