Romans 15:4: A Tragedy in Three Acts

Act I.

Have pity on me.
My eyes have grown dim with grief;
my whole frame is but a shadow.
My days have passed, my plans are shattered.
Yet the desires of my heart
turn night into day.
My relatives have gone away;
my closest friends have forgotten me.
Yet I am not silenced by the darkness,
by the thick darkness that covers my face.
My spirit is broken,
my days are cut short,
the grave awaits me.
Surely mockers surround me;
my eyes must dwell on their hostility.
Look at me and be appalled;
clap your hand over your mouth.
I took up the case of the stranger.
I have died in my own house,
who has made my life bitter.
They detest me and keep their distance;
they do not hesitate to spit in my face.
They succeed in destroying me.

Act II.

Turn away from me so I can have a moment’s joy
before I go to the place of no return,
Keep silent and let me speak;
Hear now my argument;
listen to the pleas of my lips.
Her people shall be my people,
And her God my God,
Where she dies I will die,
And there I will be buried
Her love for me is wonderful,
More wonderful than that of a man.
The upright are appalled at this.
Distress and anguish fill them with terror;
troubles overwhelm them
After I had spoken, they spoke no more;
yet when I hoped for good, evil came,
when I looked for light, then came darkness.
‘You fool!’ you will be in danger of the fire of hell.
you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven,
because I am greatly disturbed.
Total darkness lies in wait.
You are no longer good for anything,
except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
I was like one who comforts mourners.
But now they mock me.
‘You are my father,’
‘My mother’, ‘My brothers’
How long will you torment me
and crush me with words?
Your hands shaped me and made me.
Will you now turn and destroy me?
Why then did you bring me out of the womb?
I wish I had died before any eye saw me.
If only I had never come into being,
or had been carried straight from the womb to the grave!
Will you argue the case for God?
Would it turn out well if he examined you?

Act III.

Their anger burns against me;
They count me among their enemies.
“Deliver us from the evil one”, they cry
“Bad company corrupts good character.”
The womb forgets me,
the worm feasts on me;
the wicked are no longer remembered
but are broken like a tree.
I will never admit you are in the right;
till I die, I will not deny my integrity
I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it;
my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.

I loathe my very life.
Where then is my hope?


By Emma Compton

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