Beckett: Poetry – No. 2213, No Rest for the Wicked

This limerick is based on Psalm 55.

Let Your ear receive my prayer;
do not hide from my despair.
     It is Your mercy I implore
     and Your grace I adore.
Please answer me with Your care.

For the enemy is vociferous
and their schemes are vigorous.
     For all they conceive is trouble
     and to reduce me to rubble,
and they rage with indifference.

Thus, my heart is in anguish,
for me they wish to vanquish.
     I fear the future of Your people
     and the fate of my sheeple;
this is why I so languish.

Sometimes I wish I could fly away
to find rest in this factious day.
     But there is no rest for the wicked
     with a morality so insipid;
therefore, I continue to say:

Destroy, O Lord, their divisive tongues,
for everywhere violence has sprung!
     They go about it day and night
     to commit the devil’s wicked blight;
they do not depart from sinful dung.

Oftentimes it is not an enemy
who loves to slander me,
     but one I thought a friend
     and thought a godsend
who maligns with impunity.

Release Death from its delay,
for it is You they betray.
     For evil is their livelihood,
     which they like to call good, —
their god to which they give way.

As for me, I give way to You,
for Your salvation shall come through.
     Every day I lift my prayers
     into Your precious care;
You never leave them overdue.

You have come with redemption
in my battle’s contention.
     I may be surrounded,
     but I am astounded
that my soul You always strengthen.

My prayer Your ear shall hear;
their pride will not persevere,
     for they laugh at repentance
     and thus seal their sentence
since they possess no godly fear.

My friends betray a confidence
and thus violate our covenant
     to help retain the other’s good
     and their required livelihood,
yet they prefer wickedness.

They spoke words of loyalty,
yet sedition was their faculty.
     They spoke words of peace,
     but it was only deceit
to hide their vile cruelty.

Cast this burden on the Lord
and He will defend you with His sword, —
     He will sustain you in His Word
     with His grace He incurs,
for the righteous don’t go ignored.

He will cast them all into the pit
dug for each demonic convict.
     Wicked people shorten their lives
     with their tongues’ vicious knives,
digging their graves in Hell’s crypt.

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