Green Lake {Psalm 104}

For the past year or so, I have been volunteering with my church’s Ancient Paths ministry, a program that seeks to bring people to greater wholeness in Christ through spiritual disciplines and time spent in the wilderness. This poem was an assignment set to us a few months ago, when we were asked to write our own version of Psalm 104. This is mine. 

In a season of deep division and distress on a global level, I find myself often returning to the anchor of what I know about God, and can see in God’s creation. This poem, written about the lake near my house, is an expression of that returning, clinging to God’s beauty and love in a time of uncertainty.


O God, you are mostly written in a language 

of which I know only a few phrases. 

Once in a while I understand you.

Mostly I don’t. But language isn’t everything. 


Monet and I could only ever 

have spoken about crepes and wine, 

or the numbers one through six, 

but his paintings transport me t

o sun-dappled gardens 

and Venice on a misty morning. 


I could only have said

 “yes,” “no” and “goodbye” 

to Tchaikovsky, but he could still 

tell me a story in song, 

where words hardly matter. 


I know you this way, in a place beyond words.


I see you spreading out 

the green hills of this land 

like a picnic blanket, 

creased and folded into hills and valleys, 

filling with silver streams and mirrored lakes. 


I hear you singing these waterfowl 

into their chattering multitude, 

teaching the beech trees 

to dance and whisper, 

just so, in the wind. 


I smell the rain you scattered into the sky, 

the clouds that promise 

that the million greens 

you splashed about with abandon 

will never fade. 

I feel the solid earth 

beneath my feet 

and this pavement we’ve dressed it in, 

the depth of matter 

you put down when it all began.


I taste and see that You are good.


A grey sky shines on this grey lake, 

but all I see is green. 

Green of grass and tree, leaf and fruit. 

Green of summer 

that followed green of spring. 

Green that will leave for a while, partly, 

only to rush back again. 

Green that is unchanging 

but always changing, 

a flickering monochrome 

to remind me where I am.


You, O Wordless One, are the green. 

There is more I do not know, 

more I will never know, 

more that I long to know about You, 

but this I know:


You are. 

You made this. 

You love this. 

You made me. 

You love me. 


You made this because you found it good, lovely. 

I find it lovely because you made me, too. 

We were made for each other, 

this lake and I, 

and both of us were made for You.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Wow! Lovely poem. Sounds like a worthwhile ministry in which to be involved. Wish I had something like that here.

    Hugs to your family,

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