The Song of the Owl

Lieder der Hutterischen Brüder, 494

My discouragement wearies me. To whom shall I complain? My tongue hangs from the roof of my mouth. My spirit lies shattered. I have lost my trust and become like salt without savour, fit for nothing but casting out into the street, with the dirt. Here I lie, helpless, for my enemies to walk over me.

I have become the laughingstock of all people, a fugitive like an owl. To where shall I flee? Angry bulls and menacing goats come charging at me from every side. Help! My hair stand on end. So many enemies and not one person to trust! Great lions and many bears seek my life. Without mercy they track me down, day and night, thirsting for my blood. Help! Dragons and dogs pursue me, digging traps for my feet, while serpents slither and scorpions come skittering after my soul.  

Help! Help! They pursue me because they see me caught and alone.

The more desperately I struggle the deeper I sink into this swampy morass. The water and slime is up to my neck. Help! It is up to my mouth in fact. Who will rescue me in the hour of my death?

On top of all else, the heavy burden of my sins threatens to crush me. My flesh rises up and rebels. Who shall deliver me from this place of horror? Help, Lord! Arouse yourself and come to my rescue, slipping and falling alone on the ice in the dark!

I know you can help me Lord. Will you not come right now?

Peter Ridemann, 1506-1556, Hirschberg, Schlesien, Germany

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