By the waters of New Zion (Psalm 137, nationalized)

By the waters of New Zion,
here we dance and sing!
We have long since retuned our lyres
to the tonal system of this blessed land.
Our leaders smile on us and swear
that we are chosen of the Lord
and precious in his sight
so we say they are too.
Our tongues flap freely in our mouths,
we crow and strut and wave our flag,
the sign in which we conquer.

But as for you who sulk and weep
and bid us pause the music and
remember—ha! Remember what?
Go dash your head against a rock,
if self-critique amuses you!
Our highest joy right here, right now,
no exile tears for us.
We are like those who dream,
here by the waters of New Zion.

One thought on “By the waters of New Zion (Psalm 137, nationalized)

  1. Your unflinching poem reminded me again of how desperately we need to be catechized in and into the discipline of lament (something much more earthy and costly than a Lenten fast from wine and cheese — and perhaps coffee). And I wonder whether our avoidance of the book of Lamentations is a subconscious desire to reinforce the soothing, hypnotic, happy mantra: “all is well and all matter of things will be well.” You gave me helpful context to explain this inexplicable, nearly year-long, thirst to read unwelcome narratives that shine light on the history of racism and the lived experience of being black in American. Perhaps it is a schooling of the heart into lamenting that which God laments and we, mostly, don’t — because we feel so conveniently exiled from it..

    Liked by 1 person

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