Miserere mei, Deus – a poem by Libby Maxey

Miserere mei, Deus
            Make me hear of joy and gladness,
                                    that the body you have broken may rejoice.
                                                                                          —Psalm 51:8
Abandonment in other days has meant
new stone from old walls—spolia, the gift
of ruins. Centuries are made of those
that came before, composite monuments
to starting over. At St. Andrews, one
cathedral made a town, grey cottages
all framing bright blue, bright green doors, and breaks
to keep the dooryard gardens from the brash
all-withering sea. Red gambrel at road’s end,
now broken every way but burnt, you are
not one of these—no sturdy history
to plunder or preserve. Your cinderblock
twin chimney towers topple unobserved.
Let me remake your boards, your beams a new
embracing body with a right spirit.

Libby Maxey is a senior editor at Literary Mama. Her poems have appeared in Emrys, Crannóg, Stoneboat and elsewhere, and her first poetry collection, Kairos, won Finishing Line Press’s 2018 New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition. Her nonliterary activities include singing classical repertoire, mothering two sons, and administering the Department of Classics at Amherst College.

1 Comment

  1. John Muro says:

    I was humming Gregorio Allegri’s composition, based on this psalm, while reading. Enjoyed this poem.

    Liked by 1 person

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