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Populus balsamifera.jpg

(Balsam- Populus balsamifera)


Love the phrase:  ‘Who going through the Valley of Baka maketh

it a well,’ from Psalm 84.  It relates to King David fighting the

Philistines in the Rephaim Valley.

I also liked the translation: ‘Valley of Breakthrough.’

There is more detail in 1 Chronicles, chapter 14, where

a previous victory is described.  David employs a different

military strategy on the second occasion.

Here’s the poem:


Blessed is the man whose lamentation

is overcome by digging for a well-

even in desert peregrination.


Israel, Judah became one nation

and the Philistines could no longer quell

David’s army.  Divine exhortation


inspired a strategic operation

and grasshoppers routed the infidel:

lamentation turned to jubilation.


Baal-Perazim introduced elation,

but now rearguard action relied on smell

from balsam trees and the sussuration


of their leaves.  The wind, on this occasion,

convinced those warrior giants by some spell,

or by an auditory sensation


that reinforcements, an augmentation

of David’s troops would bring a living hell.

Blessed is that man, whose lamentation

converts to joy, mid-peregrination.