Psalm for Jonathan Daniels d.
Jon Daniels went down to
citizens register to vote.
He left his seminary studies back in
his boyhood home.
He left the incense-haunted place of revelation, * and took magnificat to be his creed.
Guileless, he lived among the people; * their children trusted him.
Unknowing, he joined the group that went to Hayneville; * nonviolent, they spent the
night in jail.
Released in the morning, they went to get a drink, * Coca-Cola, at the nearby little store.
In the street, Tom Coleman shot him, * and Father Morrisroe his friend.
Tom Coleman, (was he a deputy?), * believing that he did God’s will.
Jon Daniels placed his body * between the shotgun and a teen age girl;
He died instead of her, * white for black, male for female, him for her.
His novice priesthood sacrificed, * his cup spilled, but covenant unbroken.
The reputed deputy went unpunished: * his jurors, twelve white men,
While, from the dust, another justice worked a silent plan * to heal the land.
PSALM OF SACRED IRREVERENCE
O how strange is your wisdom, O God, * how subtle your judgments, how masterful your
process of indirection!
Surely, Coyote is your emissary, * and Raven your plenipotentiary.
little Jewish boys, * as soon as they were born.
Pharaoh commanded Shiphrah and Puah; * he commanded, and they had no choice but to
But they hastened very slowly, * whenever they were called for.
They explained themselves to Pharaoh, * they offered this excuse:
“The Hebrew women are too fast for us; * by the time we reach the birthing-place, they
have already delivered, and their new-born boys are hid from you.”
Thus were Pharaoh’s plans subverted, * and
Pharaoh raged and cursed, * but the midwives rolled their eyes and said, “tee-hee.”
How ridiculous are the mighty, O God, * when they set themselves against you!
In vain do they wage war against infants, * and command the merciful to commit acts of
For awhile, they seem invincible, * but history soon forgets them, and robbers
desecrate their tombs.
But let Shiphrah and Puah be remembered, * and their names be praised in
Wherever childbirth is respected, * and midwives held in high esteem.
Wherever slaves move slowly, * to follow ruthless orders given by the strong.
God’s praise is sung among the lowly, * among those who act with kindness, even
when it places them at risk.
While the cities of the ruthless fall into ruin, * and sand blows over them.
Coyote howls among the fallen pyramids, * and Raven cackles at their tombs.