Two images of escape from two Psalms on Black Poetry Day

The Verse of the Day for October 17, 2014 brings to this previous blog entry which is modified and re-posted below:

In this mosaic a retiarius (net-fighter) named Kalendio is fighting a secutor named Astyanax. In the bottom image, the secutor is covered in the retiarius's net. The Verse of the Day relates to the Lord who rescues from the net those who fear him.

In this mosaic a retiarius (net-fighter) named Kalendio is fighting a secutor named Astyanax. In the bottom image, the secutor is covered in the retiarius’s net. The Verse of the Day relates to the Lord who rescues from the net those who fear Him.

The Verse of the Day for is a selection from the Book of Psalms:

Psalm 25:14-15 (Amplified Bible):

The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning.

My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net.

As is sometimes the case, I prefer a reading from another translation, such as this rendering from the New Living Testament:

 The Lord is a friend to those who fear him.
He teaches them his covenant.
My eyes are always on the Lord,
for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies.

Caged bird

The Verse of the Day in the New Living Testament also brings to mind a similar image of escape expressed in Psalm 124:7 (AMP)  relating to a captive bird:

We are like a bird escaped from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped!

Paul_Laurence_Dunbar_circa_1890

This particular verse of escape also brings to mind “Sympathy” one of the best loved poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar, Ohio-born African American poet of renown:

Sympathy

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!

When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;

When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,

And the river flows like a stream of glass;

When the first bird sings and the first bud opens,

And the faint perfume from its chalice steals–

I know what the caged bird feels!

 

I know why the caged bird beats its wing

Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;

For he must fly back to his perch and cling

When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;

And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars

And they pulse again with a keener sting–

I know why he beats his wing!

 

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,

When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,–

When he beats his bars and he would be free;

It is not a carol of joy or glee,

But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,

But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings–

I know why the caged bird sings!

The closing line of this poignant work by Dunbar is the title celebrated teacher, poet, author, Maya Angelou selected for the first in her series of autobiographies I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Listen Tom Obedlam’s recitation of Dunbar’s Sympathy:

Since today is Black Poetry Day, sharing this particular poem is especially noteworthy, as we celebrate the birthday of Jupiter Hammon,  a devout Christian who rose to become the first of his race to publish a poem in America.

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