By Melissa Marshall
Charlottesville, VA, USA

I brim with words both beautiful and sweet.
They stain my mind as the dust from far away
Lands and sand have worn my weary feet.
I have fought them.
I have cringed and cried.
I have said, “No. I will not have you here.”
Through their knowledge I have felt both dead and vibrant
— Thy words have made me alive.

But for what, I ask.
(Is that a question I’m allowed?)
Why have you made me thus?
Poor and proud.
For faith, I was given a lash.
For my innocence, I was given a rule.
I have bowed to Thee. Worshipped only Thee!
I will carry this load, but no further I go.
No longer the fool, nor the mule in my wo.
I walk with these words that barrel through my mind
Once set on Thee as my only home.
In my heart I have wandered.
Oh, forgive the wanderer!
No other than Thee know the lengths I have roamed.

Back to Thy words, both beautiful and sweet
From the far, far paths of my digressive feet.
Though I have blamed Thee my stain
Bemoaned this my pain
— This hurt that so wildly has torn at my breast,
You have born too.
How could I forget?

This poem is part of our The Psalms of Women series.