Banish the Brute


I wrote this poem a year ago. It came out of a time of wrestling with sorrow and grief — some of which was tinged with frustration with my own sin. I had been reflecting on Psalm 73 (Brian Habig’s sermon on this from a few years ago has continued to stick with me) and a few verses in particular:

When my soul was embittered,

when I was pricked in heart,

I was brutish and ignorant;

I was like a beast toward you.

Psalm 73:21-22

Here the Psalmist is reflecting on his bitterness toward God and how God had been at work in His life. He loses perspective in His life as a worshiper of God and wrestles to regain it. In the end, he is reminded and comforted by God’s gracious presence with him even still:

Nevertheless, I am continually with you;

you hold my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel,

and afterward you will receive me to glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:23

This similar wrestling comes out in the poem in the desire to “banish the brute” that rages within and the need for God to subdue us all to Himself. Graciously, the Lord does this by reminding us of His “hidden” and “near” presence with us and provision for us, even in the process of “sounding the soul.”


Banish the brute, unconsoled in bondage breaking,
And brutish be the unvanquished self undone.
In leisure, unrest boisterous, boldly taking
Joy unbridled, unfettered, making cares run.

Sorrow steals all natural thrills, nowhere now alive.
Name what is numb, see and sum, flailing mute, fleeing.
Natal calm, the native psalm of Providence spied; 
Speaks not, spares not, nor assuages grief’s dark dealing.

Dark doubles down sounding the soul: a devil’s bind.
What dare a wretched rebel devise such deceived?
Where fly, dispel, cry, perceive – deliverance find?
Divine the Savior be – hidden, near; Soul believe!

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