Wyoming Arts Council

"Psalm" by Stuart Kestenbaum

Deer Brook Editions published Stuart Kestenbaum’s third book of poems, Prayers & Run-on Sentences, in June. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser writes that, “Stuart Kestenbaum writes the kind of poems I love to read, heartfelt responses to the privilege of having been given a life. No hidden agendas, here, no theories to espouse, nothing but life, pure life, set down with craft and love.” Garrison Keillor selected this poem for inclusion on the Writer’s Almanac on NPR.


The only psalm I had memorized was the 23rd
and now I find myself searching for the order
of the phrases knowing it ends with surely
goodness and mercy will follow me
all the days of my life and I will dwell
in the house of the Lord forever only I remember
seeing a new translation from the original Hebrew
and forever wasn’t forever but a long time
which is different from forever although
even a long time today would be
good enough for me even a minute entering
the House would be good enough for me,
even a hand on the door or dropping today’s
newspaper on the stoop or looking in the windows
that are reflecting this morning’s clouds in first light.

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