On harvesting basil, just before Shabbat

Alicia Ostriker's Psalm 27

Psalm 27 is traditionally read / studied / sung every day during the month of Elul. Here's one way to interact with the psalm today: by reading this contemporary poem which plays with the psalm's language and themes.


elul: psalm 27

we are told to say the following
every day for a month
in preparation for the days of awe:

you are my light my help
when I'm with you I'm not afraid
I want to live in your house

the enemies that chew my heart
the enemies that break my spine
I'm not afraid of them when I’m with you

all my life I have truly trusted you
save me from the liars
let me live in your house   

-- Alicia Ostriker (from her three-part poem Days of Awe.)


Thanks for this rendition of psalm 27, Alicia. What a beautiful distillation of what's at the psalm's heart.

(Here's Reb Zalman's translation of the full psalm; here's a wonderful Nava Tehila melody for one verse from this psalm; here's a round up of various links, essays, poems, and artworks arising out of the psalm; here's Achat Sha'alti, a musical setting of part of the psalm.)