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And These Are Different Days

An extraordinarily beautiful modernization of an ancient psalm, and of unyielding faith in a time of trouble, this poem brought tears to my eyes. — Alicia Ostriker

Adaptation of Psalm 22

You are so far away, God.
I try to call you but my words are tinny, tiny.
Why have you gone?
I cry at my desk all day,
get no sleep at night,
and still, God, you do not answer.
You do not catch me when I fall.

Still I know that you are holy.
The children of Israel enthroned you.
In you my ancestors trusted:
they trusted you and you delivered them.
They cried to you and you rescued them.
There was no shame in this—
only trust that you would save.

But I am not them, and these are different days.
People see my tears, and wag their heads.
“She trusts in God,” they mouth.
“Let God deliver her!” they say,
“Let God rescue her, since she delights in God!”

Yet I know:
you are the one who took me from the womb.
You made me trust you.
You put me at my mother’s breast.
From my birth was I cast on you,
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

So please, be not far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is none to help.