I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.

Psalm 131:2

Sonnet for Psalm 131

Like a weaned baby at its mother’s breast,
What a great image for prayer this is –
To just be, not expecting great thoughts, lest
We think it is not love drawing us in.
But “like the weaned child that is with me” 
Makes me wonder – whose mother wrote this poem?
These anonymous words, so simple, so free –
“Of David” you wrote – a poem for your son?
Rabbit holes I chase, distractions gone wild.
I hear you calling to my scattered heart,
Whispering in love, saying “hush, my child, 
Do not worry yourself with all of that,
Just be with the one in whom you can hide,
Rest your weary soul, and let me provide.”


Psalm 131 offers one of the most beautiful images of prayer in all of scripture, a calm and quiet soul like a weaned child with its mother. I love the thought of being with God in prayer in such a “need-less” way. Not needing anything, but simply being with the God who loves us so. Not asking for insights into the troubles of our time, or the challenges in my life, but simply resting in the presence of God. I love this idea, but also find it challenging! And this challenge is what I had in mind as I contemplated this psalm and prepared this sonnet.

So here, then, is Psalm 131, followed by other scripture passages that I had in mind when I wrote the sonnet, along with the sonnet again, followed by a closing prayer:

Psalm 131

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
    my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
    too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
    like a weaned child with its mother;
    my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
    from this time on and forevermore.

Scripture Passages

Guard me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. – Psalm 17:8

[Jesus said:] “How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings!” – Matthew 23:37

Sonnet for Psalm 131

Like a weaned baby at its mother’s breast,
What a great image for prayer this is –
To just be, not expecting great thoughts, lest
We think it is not love drawing us in.
But “like the weaned child that is with me” 
Makes me wonder – whose mother wrote this poem?
These anonymous words, so simple, so free –
“Of David” you wrote – a poem for your son?
Rabbit holes I chase, distractions gone wild.
I hear you calling to my scattered heart,
Whispering in love, saying “hush, my child, 
Do not worry yourself with all of that,
Just be with the one in whom you can hide,
Rest your weary soul, and let me provide.”

Closing Prayer

O Lord, I long to simply be in your presence, without need, expectation, or distraction. To not raise my eyes too high, to not occupy myself with things too great and marvelous for me. I long for this but struggle to do it. So help me, Lord, to quiet my soul, to anchor my hope in you, and to rest in your loving presence. In Jesus’ name. Amen

17 thoughts on “Sonnet for Psalm 131

      1. There are so many… I have a number all over the house and I’m so glad about that. I always buy one or a cross when I travel, in the UK or abroad. Apart from the Madonna and Child, my favourite is The Word in its various depictions. The careful traditional way that icons have been created in egg tempera, while fasting, and according to clear guidelines is an inspiration.

        Liked by 2 people

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