"The Harp in the Willow" (A Poem)


“The Harp in the Willow”

by Virginia Knowles
We hung our harps in the willows
When we could sing no more
They dance in the branches
To the tune of the wind on their strings.
This is not our homeland
Captives we are, far from our own paths
We are poor in spirit: mourning
Remembering, lamenting, longing.
We can spare no lilting melody to amuse
The mockers who lock away our destiny
Our lives are not in harmony here
And we cannot sing of joy.
Sing we will, one day, for
Someday freedom is coming and
Harps dancing in our hands
We will sing our sojourn home.



This poem is inspired by Psalm 137, a lament of Israel in exile: 

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord‘s song in a strange land?” (KJV)

(I remember learning this round based on Psalm 137 when I was about 12.)


I added a note of hope in the last verse of my poem, but I still remember that grieving the traumas of life, whatever they are, can be a long and gradual process. A measure of comfort and joy will come, and there is no need to rush. Let us honor this reality, and bless one another with the gifts of hope, courage, patience, and understanding.

Poems in the same spirit…
Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles

P.S. The willow photos are borrowed from my hymn post What a Friend We Have in Jesus.
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About virginiaknowles

I am a mother and grandmother of a huge family, and I still home school my youngest daughter. I write to stay sane. My WordPress blog is a combination of my Blogspot blogs, and may not be continually updated.
This entry was posted in Authentic Life, Do Justice ~ Love Mercy, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Jewish Heritage, Life Transitions, Pilgrimage and Jubilee, Poetry, Stress~Weariness. Bookmark the permalink.

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