Sometimes participants of Bible study groups, when reading the Book of Psalms, will attempt to write a psalm, often one based on the well-known Twenty-Third Psalm. A particularly enthusiastic student might undertake the composition of 150 psalms, the number of psalms in the Book of Psalms.

In this collection of 150 original psalms, I have presented content relevant to today’s world, while drawing inspiration from the biblical psalms. As I composed, I posted my psalms in progress in chronological order, along with my nature photography, to my blog, titled, PsalmSpeak.

The final manuscript, titled, A Crown of Psalms: 150 Poetic Meditations, is categorized into three main sections:
“A Peal of Psalms,” a children’s book (psalms 17 through 9, 17 being the first);
“Psalms on Our Lips,” a selection of psalms on spiritual themes;
“Psalms in Plain Sight,” a selection of psalms on religious themes from my personal Baha’i perspective.

To readers who may identify some inconsistency in capitalization of sacred names, I offer the explanation that my method involves a degree of poetic license, using Baha’i conventions as a rule, but observing the style of the King James version of the Bible at times for effect.

These psalms are simple expressions. I regard them to be a kind of folk art, possibly evolving as they are shared. In the case of the biblical psalms, we have lost their melodies; perhaps the psalms in this collection will be modified if music is added. It is my hope that they will be uplifting suggestions for the reader’s consideration.


Psalm 150

Praise the Lord of gladness in your grief:
~~the solstice may shift, but the sun is the same.

Praise the Lord of acceptance in your anger;
~~praise the Lord of confidence in your fear.

Praise the Lord of eternity in your earthly life:
~~the Lord of beginning of enlightenment is end without end.


Psalm 149

Merciful Lord, Your myriad mercies—
~~and I, like a forest at the timberline—my musings and metaphors.

Merciful Lord, Your multitude of mercies—my years of sin—
~~if I had words . . .


Psalm 148

A child of God is a wonder;
~~the wonder of God is a child.

The wonder child at play is king and pauper, feast and crust.
~~Ah, child wonder, stormy season, young bud love!

The spirit of truth, like science, grasps it;
~~the truth of spirit, like art, releases it.

I am that child;
~~that child: I am.

Psalm 147

They drove their art like chariots;
~~ they rode their poetry like cavalry, on hooves and dust, into the new day of God.

Soldier psalms charged the blast like trumpets;
~~versed apostles sought true seeker like treasure:

they marked a measure of the new day’s dawn,
~~and moment to carry it on.

Psalm 146

The first step is no slight foot;
~~the first step is no narrow gain on a willing map.

Hail storms the summer pasture;
~~hail storms the sleeping homeland the way illness brings desire for better.

Hail summons a start;
~~hail summons the one ready to follow faith’s path.

Psalm 145

God Within, my guardian, disclose my soul, crest of an honest life:
~~not unlike the peacock, plainly a simple bird, simply a splendid bird.


Psalm 144

Listen, Lord, and hasten:
~~hear my plea.

Teach me the unheard language of peace;
~~let me learn to speak through my tongue of tears.

Words of war increase my fear:
~~they have become too heavy for me to bear.

But Your word is great:
~~You can create from death.

If you leave me, who can lead me?
~~If you retreat, my hope will be like the weary wail of the
last leaf, leashed to a snow-leaning tree.

Psalm 143

Why deprive me, Lord, when You are king of everything;
~~when you hold all life’s wonder in Your hand?

And why make man depend on earth,
~~when his soul is all he really has?

How can I divine the days of my life
~~when You are author of both faith and wealth, maker of
both mirage and miracle, worker of the ocean and an ocean in a conch shell?

Psalm 142

A hateful mortal cannot be like the friends of God;
~~the friends of God are like a mist lifting, a wound
healing, green fruit ripening.

A hater is like a sword stuck in stone, defeated before one
has begun;
~~but the friends of God are like the blade set free: deed
and champion, reason and reflection.

Psalm 141

Building up is a bowing down:
~~raising the world is an offering placed on the path of the

Work is as sacred as speaking the words of the Book;
~~care is as pure as sounding the hymns of heaven.

Greater than gold is one’s calling:
~~glad is the girder calling the name of the Lord.


Psalm 140

End my pain, Lord, the way spring ends winter, the way sunshine ends a rain, the way laughter reshapes the air;
~~finish my suffering, please, the way song ends silence, the way bread breaks separateness, the way a friend turns when called by name.

Strength, I need it; thanks, I have none.
~~I am weak, but You are strong.

If there be no end, then make me able;
~~and when I find no finish, make me thankful.

Psalm 139

Oh that men would live like a shout of stars, bright taste in the night sky;
~~oh that men would dream with a tiger’s eye, would stir deep chambers with vulcanian desire.

Oh that men would not seek easy rest, but steer the torch of vesuvian fire;
~~oh that men of God would quest, not like a sparkle’s spark, but like light light in the dark dark.

Psalm 138

My refuge is a garden in the desert;
~~a river in the wilderness is my hope.

There the Father of the Covenant blessed Abraham;
~~there the Father blessed the tribes of man.

There the Father of the Law led his chosen;
~~there the Father of the Way lifted the poor in heart.

And in the days of Arabia, the Father of Submission raised the dwellers of earth;
~~there, from nomads in barren lands, He raised nations.

He did not desert His children there, but eased their thirst;
~~neither did He fail to feed the fishers of men.

He did not abandon His children, even in the time of the end:
~~there He founded the Garden of Paradise, His promised kingdom; His lovers, rose-like, opening.

Psalm 137

Like a find of berries in winter is forgiveness;
~~like hyacinths springing to life in the tender season are favors of human kindness.

Like a shadow, best seen in the brightest sun, is patience;
~~like an echo, best heard from the purest voice, is humility:
~~like a pond’s reflection is virtue, greatest shown by the tree of the highest nature.