Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lenten Psalm Translation Contest - A Followup

The two years of the Lenten Psalm Translation Contest, held here on this blog, have garnered submissions of great beauty and variety. Winners and runners-up have taken their pieces on to Image Journal, The Missouri Review, A-Minor Magazine, and other publications. This year's winner, Jen Hinst-White, submitted her winning psalm sandwiched in an essay about miscarriage. Reading her submission, I experienced awe - in the original sense of the word. I was humbled to be complicit in the creation of something so weighty and beautiful; and I was moved to a great silence of understanding, remembering the days surrounding the loss of my own daughter.

Jen's full essay appeared recently, in two parts, on the Image Journal blog, Good Letters. You can read Hinst-White's full essay at Good Letters - part onepart two. And her psalm appears below.

To the Pilot Bridegroom

      after Psalm 25

At your hangar door I toss me: a paper plane.
Bring me in from the rain—take me ragged, and keep me
            all clear of the suck of the great turbines
Collect me and read me, wee stormied scrap,
            and scrap those still scrapping us windward,
            O God—
Don’t forget. Fold aright, and write New on my wing—
make limp paper sing—here, then, the wait—
but love’s side-lying
Eight guides all your flights. Right? Remind me. Remind me.
Find me kindly. Not back in my writhing, wriggling loose of my binding—
            forgive me, still wild—
God of the Polestar. Pilot Bridegroom. Pied Guider.
He gathers scorched ribbons for the tails of his kites.
If he finds paper squares, he folds cranes for his skies,
and so newsprint shares airspace with stars.

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