Thambos Books

New Year’s Day 2015

 

At the Lam’a Sabach’thani

 

Agony yet Glory in the bent back,

the contorted body but uplifted head,

his Lam’a Sabach’thani a cry not just for himself

but for every tortured shout before or since,

his It is Finished the moment in history

when atonement ripples over

the very edges of time itself

into Eternity’s ceaseless stream.

 

Jesus Christ, Alpha and Omega,

then incarnate now ascended,

once slain forever risen,

first in the form of a slave

now crowned as King,

pray always for your disintegrated world

till that day comes when its crucifixion is finished,

and you accomplish its shining healing.

 

 

Feast of the Epiphany 2015

 

God

 

God is patient all of the time,

but is no doormat that doesn't see the dirt done in his name.

All of the time God is kind.

 

God is kind all of the time,

but not the kind that pretends not to notice the abuse of love.

All of the time God is truthful.

 

God is truthful all of the time,

but does not trumpet the wrongs of others, preferring to endure.

All of the time God is there.

 

God is there all of the time,

but not in a way that cramps our freedom to do without him.

All of the time God is good.

 

God is good all of the time,

but not merely because we experience his great goodness.

All of the time God is.

 

God is, all of the time.

God just is.

 

 

9th January 2015

 

Please Read This Poem Responsibly

 

Salutations be to Tuica,

a fabulous drink if you seek a

nightcap or apperitif.

I know not if it rots your teeth,

but it can surely rot your liver.

 

So the Government seeks to deliver

Romanians from over-consumption,

and therefore it's a fair assumption

that Tuica is a Romanian drink.

It's sometimes stronger than you think,

up in the villages fifty five per cent,

but not in the shops.

 

Of course, what I meant to tell you is that

it is pronounced Zweeker in Romanian,

in case you are a seeker after it.

After a glass or two, you will certainly feel hit.

Please read this poem responsibly.

 

 

11th January 2015

 

Grating John, Greater Jesus

 

O hairy stern man,

founder of the Camelite Order

which found its way as far as Ephesus,

your no nonsense raging at discouraged people

was just what they'd wanted to hear

as they weren't doing at all well

in the perfection stakes run

by the Top Men in Jerusalem.

 

Oi!, you shouted.

You filthy lot, repent and get clean.

You're no good.

I'm disgusted at what you tell me you've done.

 

Leather-belted John was prepared for wilderness.

Born to it, he was, and always a Nazirite.

Maybe he lived a sheltered life?

 

What he wasn't prepared for was love.

But Jesus, when he came to make a start,

got told how delightful he was

and how much his Father loved him.

 

He humbled himself, did Jesus.

He died in the water, did Jesus.

He breathed alive, did Jesus.

He got the Spirit touch and push, did Jesus.

 

John was right! What Jesus was was more power-full.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18th January 2015

 

A Lamb

 

Sheep can sometimes be aggressive.

A larger one can knock you down.

But never a lamb.

 

Animals and birds can symbolise victory, the lion a monarch’s power.

But never a lamb.

 

Snakes and scorpions signal danger, 

their venom a plunge into death.

But never a lamb.

 

Many a beast will fight to the end, 

to overcome or end its reign.

But never a lamb.

 

How strange of God to conquer evil 

not by an overwhelming show of force,  but by a lamb.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

9th February 2014


Going Away


I'm going away, my dearest friends, and you must let me go.
Let's call this grief an enemy, let’s celebrate a show, 
a demonstration that we can, yes, we’ll serve before the mast.
The future’s call’s upon us all. We've managed in the past.

A show? you ask. Ah, no, please no, how can this be a show?
It's far too hard for us, us three, our ladies too, to know.
But God is faithful with his grace; we’ll serve before the mast. 
The future’s call’s upon us all. We've managed in the past.

But will they ever be the same, the things that bind us three?
The talks and laughs, the pints and smokes, the sharing poetry?
But God’s a friend right to the end, who caused us all to meet.
And he doesn't care to live in fear. No prospect of defeat.

The Lord’s our light and our salvation; whom then shall we fear?
We’ll take the hand he deals us, and we’ll drink the cup of cheer.
For God’s a friend right to the end, who caused us all to meet.
He’ll let us know the way to go, and move our willing feet.

For J, E, A and D

 

 


 

2nd March 2015

 

As Simple as This

 

I am in my pram at the bottom of the garden, crying.

My sky is the veil to keep out cats.

But the birds are telling me the secrets of the Universe,

being to me Word in music.

The air and flowers are full of his presence whom I am yet to meet.

Hearing his footsteps, he is hidden to my unfocused sight.

 

When I am just a bit older,

I will be aware of his constant witness to himself,

and be in wonder as only a child can be.

 

When I am a man and have put away childish things,

he will meet me at the gate.

He will put me on the path of ever-growing spring.

 

My eyes he will grant to see simply again,

and to notice his signs and his wonders.

 

 


 

31st March 2015

Mercy Oils

These oils God will bless.
What we obtain and offer
God will bless.

In them, in each every drop, 
all the mercy of God is returned, 
freely, unconditionally, 
pre-paid in Christ who was pressed in the Garden, 
taken from one tree and hung on another, 
all spent and spent for all, 
none left out and none put out, 
all included.

These oils sign and enable the breath gasped at each end of life, 
the recovery of health and the surrender of self.
These Kyrie Eleisons shout that prayer will be heard, 
each oil in itself sacrament and word.

Other oils gladden with heating and light.
Mercy oils cover with healing and sight.

 

 


 

12th April 2015

 

Stations of the Future

 

Will there be a station when we move house?

Perhaps more than one; an ice cream station

For when the sun beats down, and a beach station

For ambling through the lapping waves and seeing the dog race,

And breathing in the air of keeping on the right lines?

 

Will there be a quiet country halt, to alight in the blaze of a summer’s day

When nature puts on its best show, and you long for a pub,

Or to follow footsteps in drifted snow, marks of those who have been here Before, seeking to stay on the right lines?

 

And in those stations in the once blackened places which hauled up Wealth from under the ground, will I find stillness in the motion of faith?

There, will I root myself where Christ has been before and sent his Spirit

To bless and to fill his people who live on the lines?

 

Stations yet to discover, places to stop at, each a disclosure,

All of them tour-guided, accompanied and gladdened on the way to the end.

 

 

 


 

7th September 2015

 

Crisis

 

We must be mad, because we are shouting

Let them come, don't try to stop them.

It makes no sense, does it, doing it the Master’s way,

discounting the island-fortress fears and biases

that have served us so long,

almost since we were last invaded

and harrowed by superior force, cruel technology.

 

We must be mad, allowing our hearts to barrack the interests

that we are told ought to govern our heads.

But isn't it time that we inmates ruled our asylum and shared it out,

and learnt a little more madness,

being bolder in our mistrust of the suave comforts

that have been our decay?

 

Sanity, being overrated, can make you lose your wits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

9th September 2015

 

The Queen

 

Long, long your commitment to serve

both God and nation for all your years.

Now we praise Him for all you deserve,

and seek to entrust Him with all our fears.

 

Long may he preserve your life and health

and save for us your wisdom and grace.

Most loved of all in the great Commonwealth,

may your leadership prepare us to see God’s face.

 

 


 

10th September 2015

 

Caleb the Dependable and his Descendants

 

He wholly followed The Lord

is about all we’re told about him.

That and his being a spy.

Forget James Bond.

He had ‘a different spirit’,

neither was he nor sought to be in the A list.

 

 

O sweet, boring, lacklustre Caleb!

You went up so that others could follow behind,

and inherit the promise and begin to let prosperity

lead them into vain-glory. Not for you that sort of

glamour or notoriety. But without you no chance of

Israel being a holy people.

 

At this point, as in an APCM, I want to pay tribute to all the ordinary people who smile a welcome, dust the hymnbooks, break the font-ice,

bake emergency quiches, volunteer to be on the rota to bring Madge Smiggins to Church, and sponge the Vicar’s gravy stains.

 

You know who you are, dependable people, and so does God.

 

 


 

10th September 2010

 

There and Back Again

 

Like a disapproving Anglican saying ‘Oh dear’,

That house alarm has been ner-nerring all day

In a village so safe it should be investigated.

It was good to travel to Bensham, to a different terrain,

And see the Church being a laboratory of the Spirit,

Throwing open its doors for all to discover the many mansions in God’s house,

The quiet and the quieter, an adventure trail that leads to here and everywhere,

And even a ladder up to heaven. No accident that the parish is multi-cultural,

Chiming with the hybrid history of Anglican worship, adapting to new needs,

facing the call of the future to welcome change.

 

I had gone from the countryside into the city. It was pilgrimage and retreat.

 

 


 

11th September 2015

 

Hymn

 

We lift our hearts to sing Gods praise

 

 

We lift our hearts to sing Gods praise,

Our Maker and our Lord,

The Three in perfect unity,

One God the Trinity

 

We bend the knee before the Lord,

Aware of how much we fail

But his forgiveness refreshes our souls

His love has made us whole.

 

We listen to the Word of the Lord,

Which speaks to us and to all

With all surpassing truth for our world,

His grace a banner unfurled.

 

We pray as one, we intercede,

We ask for mercy for all,

That healing love which mends and restores,

For what we need we implore.

 

We praise him at the Eucharist,

The table he has laid.

We feed again on mysteries,

Who once blind now can see.

 

All glory to you, gracious Lord,

To Father, Spirit, Son.

To you our life, our joy, our light

Our never ending delight.

 

Suggested tune: St Botolph

 

 

 

 

 


 

16th September 2015

 

Artifice and Intelligence

 

If a robot said my prayers,

put into words my earthly cares,

would I thereby praise the Lord

and never have to think a word

about him?

 

If a robot gave out alms,

served the poor, prevented harm,

would I thereby gain some merit

for the kingdom we inherit

with him?

 

If machines do what I won’t,

then is my “faith” the merest front?

Would it help to bless and grow

my spirit, and in any way show

me him?

 

Please go to your nearest internet definition of Christian

and see what your online score is.

 

 

 


 

17th September 2015

 

Musings about Poetry

 

Poetry doesn't come easily.

For me, it has to be excavated,

jerked, yanked, pulled out of somewhere deep inside consciousness.

 

It is a creation, a making.

I have to be both apprentice and craftsman,

a guildsman and an independent,

a giver of expression and form to what is already there

in the matter. Like a sniffer dog, I have to search and locate and bring into the open. This is seek and find, not hide and seek.

 

Its topography is more akin to a quarry than a landscaped garden.

There are heaps of spoil, discard, stuff which may yet enrich and fertilise some other ground. But it all comes from the one same soil and bed.

No matter if new words, fresh expressions, are chiselled into the mind.

Poetry is already there, to be found,

there to be worked into shape,

there as the product of work.

 

 


 

20th September 2015

 

On Autumn

 

The gift has been given of a Second Spring,

Creation’s exhibition of dying’s beauty,

promising rebirth, asserting hope to remember

through the coming dark days.

 

There is in this brief interlude

a carpet of colour laid down

as once a knight did for a queen

but more, the feet that use it,

like monks treading grapes,

work to turn today’s death into tomorrow’s birth.

 

And where the trees hung out their leaves in season

light will now pass through differently,

the ordered world making the most of its dwindling supply.

All things must pass. Light, dying, will return.

Energy stored in its heyday can make brighter the dark months.

 

 

 

 

 


 

20th September 2015

 

Oned

 

What might be if we were Oned?

United, as we would say,

but at a greater depth than being a

season ticket holder in a football club,

or a shareholder in some conglomerate.

 

If, as God is, we could be one, Oned, perfectly

united in person and purpose and in every way,

inhabiting, motivated by and moving in the love

that has always been love and has always been loving,

then what might be not happening, and what might be done

to heal this creation, torn apart as it is by Adam’s and Eve’s

dysfunctional children?

 

After all, if all were Oned there’d have been no widening fracture

of original wholeness, from the first excuse to the repeated slaughters of the innocent. No exploitation of the poor, for none would be poor and none would be rich. All would be one. Oned with God.

 

Ah, you say, do not deny us our diversity, our differences, our hard-won, deserved wellbeing.

 

But all shall not be well until we are Oned.

 

 


 

23rd September 2015

 

Exodus in Our Time

 

As nations build their fences,

repeating sad stories from history,

so God says Set my people free,

let them find their promised land,

free them from fences,

all types and sorts of fences.

 

The refugee from slaughter,

the penniless searching for hope,

the modern slave tricked and exploited,

the discriminated victims of bigotry and hate,

any and all confined within wrongful walls,

such are closer to the heart of God than the fence builders.

 

Order is one thing. Wise decisions by leaders,

yes, let them be made.

But God, never confined by any conceivable walls,

repeats the Exodus clarion call to Pharaohs everywhere,

and all who hold in their power the lives and wellness of others,

Set my people free.

 

 

 


 

26th September 2015 Harvest hymn

 

God of Creation

 

God of Creation,

Giver of harvest,

by your Word spoken

all things are made.

You give us seed-time,

you give the reaping.

All we have need of

Comes from your love.

 

God the Provider,

loving us always,

by your Word spoken

all needs are met.

From the abundance

of what you give us,

may our hearts echo

your generous love.

 

God of the Kingdom,

reigning in wonder,

by your Word spoken

help us in prayer,

seeking the coming

of health for all flesh,

everyone knowing

your saving love.

 

Tune:Bunessan

 

 


 

27th September 2015

 

Moonshine

 

The Moon rises as it does each night

and casts its spell over land and mind,

fascinating, whether in joy or in fright,

sky watchers and, too, the smuggling kind

of business folk who, shunning duty and right,

import their wares while the seeing sun’s blind.

Red Moon or blue, full or quarter, many a fight

has enlivened a sleepy cove’s predictable grind,

and offered romantic leads no less to those who write.

 

 


 

28th September 2015

 

Pshaw!

 

Pshaw!

When Editors fuss over too many semi-colons,

the natural response is to ask

Are you Pshaw!?

 

Writing is so much like beachcombing,

using what you pick up along the sea Pshaw!

 

You feel better for Pshaw! for rescuing

a stranded word or phrase

and giving it new life and a Pshaw! future. 

 

Pshaw! Editors have a vital job,

but I'm unPshaw! that Chaucer or Shakespeare

would Pshaw!ly have been greater writers

if they had been told to be Pshaw! to go easy on semi-colons;

 

Though I'm not so Pshaw! that they ever used them. 

 

 


 

28th September 2015

 

Once and Only

 

O Simon of Peraea
O Jesus son of Saphias from Tiberias
O Simon Bar Kochba
O Caiaphas, son to Annas,
O Jonathan Ben Ananus,
you have not been raised,
heroes and High Priests though you were.

 

You remain in your graves,
awaiting the same call as will I.
You were not shown to be teleios, complete, perfect,
of the same order as Jesus of Nazareth.
He was no son of Aaron, but of David.
He, of the order of Melchizedek, he, God in humanity,
he was raised because of the offering that he made.

 

Once and only could our slate be wiped clean,
our faces be restored to their shining health,
and that through obedience of a telling order.
Into the pinpoint of history the eternal intention came.
The life that by itself proved sufficient reached further
than Aaron's sons ever could, even into the grave.

 

Let him who leapt up high be heralded in all our sacrifices of praise,
in Christ God reconciling the world to himself.

 

 


 

Michaelmas Day 2015

 

Light Enough

 

As sunshine struggles to penetrate Autumn mists,
so my soul, in the cloud of unknowing, sees that it 
cannot see the glory of God.

 

There is light enough to know that even what God has given
is too bright a darkness for human minds to comprehend.

 

Closer to us than breath, yet far away,
surrounding us with determined love,
yet giving us permission to search for him,
God the Father of our Brother cannot be possessed,
leashed, treated as an already explained discovery.

 

It is we who are to grow towards him,
to continue our exploration from the once-given,
veiled in flesh and blinding light, so that we may yet see
as the yearning search continues its way.

 

 


 

29th September 2015

 

The Harvest Blues Song

 

Woke up this mornin’,

took ma veggies to Church,

asked the good Lord to bless them,

not leave me in the lurch,

 

But got the vegetables blues, uh huh,

yeah got the vegetable blues,

Oh Lord have merceh,

I got the vegetable blues.

 

Ma carrots are all crooked,

caused ma auntie to faint,

ma beans done a runner,

ma cabbage is all quaint,

 

I got the vegetables blues, uh huh,

yeah got the vegetable blues,

Oh Lord have merceh,

I got the vegetable blues.

 

Ma taters are ugly,

ma cucumber’s bent,

had some gorgeous tomatoes,

just don’t know where they went

 

I got the vegetables blues, uh huh,

yeah got the vegetable blues,

Oh Lord have merceh,

I got the vegetable blues.       <air guitar interlude>

 

I fear for ma parsnips,

ma turnips and my swedes,

I gotta keep the earth turnin’,

get rid of them weeds,

 

I got the vegetables blues, uh huh,

yeah got the vegetable blues,

Oh Lord have merceh,

I got the vegetable blues.

 

<end>                                   Thank y’aaaaaaaaaaall

 

 

30th September 2015

 

Day Begins

 

Month's end, moon set and sun blazing,

the cat for a while on my verandah, observing,

I, smoking inside my place of meeting,

await the fed dog's arrival to join me in ritual,

oil lamp already lit.

 

Blessed as are we all by this Indian summer, 

the wider dog looks in for a pat and, after indecision,

climbs on to his chair to commence his wash down.

 

The oil lamp focuses me on enclosing in prayer

those circulating through mind and memory;

entrusting before action, if such can be done.

Michael has reminded me that there are always 

ways and means of being caught up in the purposes of love,

beginning with self-emptying.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1st October 2015       

 

Spreading the Flame

 

 

In the Feretory, I find no lit candles to signify my worship.
Asking visitors if they have a lighter becomes a means 
of cheerful conversation.


Brian lends me his and, shielding the flame, I take the candle back 
and from it light another.

 

The spreading flame of our faith in God in Christ is passed in a similar way; one to another. I think of Michael, so dearly loved here because of how he spread the flame and who will continue doing so in his next ministry.

 

But the one example speaks of many thousands who, 
in this particular place, have guarded and spread and magnified it.

 

Flame of light, source of true love, O Lord Jesus Christ 
enlighten my soul today, and grant that I may spread your flame.

 

 


 

2nd October 2015

 

The Odds

 

In the foretold final days of summer
self still relaxes a little of its preparations 
for the coming pessimism of winter, 
the 'there, I told you it would be dark' locking-in mechanism. 
Less has been heard of the 'a hundred days of snow and ice' 
titillation of our worst primeval fears. 
Ah well, we can still indulge ourselves, come January and February, 
but this has been like a prologue taking up more space in a book, foreshortening the rest of it.
I bet someone has placed odds on it happening again
'in our lifetime', as we love the thrill of pessimistic guessing.
But summer is still blazing. I'm going to sit back and enjoy the ride.

 

 

 


 

3rd October 2015

 

Breaking Silence

 

Breaking silence, she unburdened to him her soul's harrowing pain, 
weight invisible to the eye, but crushing.
Words seemed to help, hers, his. 
The actions of letting go and receiving a blessing 
put a shape to stepping forward into a released future, 
being able to remember but without guilt.

 

Closure is not erasure of what cannot be altered.
Our history remains with us.
Closure bestows a new posture towards it,
standing tall again, gift of love.

 

 

 


 

4th October 2015

 

Having to Face It

 

They were visibly shocked, as I had been, 
at the unwelcome news, 
these friends who had kept company with me 
through long hours of darkness. 
It cannot have been altogether unexpected, 
just like a life's near-ending, 
but always a shock to receive the news.

 

In my case, getting used to it was a series 
of waves of bereavement and, if I'm honest, 
it is still imprinted there, on my soul. 
Emotions of all sorts, like at a death. 
We experience different deaths in a lifetime. 
Laughter, which returned to me quickly, was superficial, really. 
It masked the depth of sorrow.

 

Like the many deaths, we have many faces. 
Masks are not joined organically to the soul as a face is, 
and do not reflect exposure to our conditions. 
The stronger face bears the marks of change, 
not merely wrinkles or crows’ feet, 
but also of saying Yes, have it your way.

 

And smiles with joyful laughter are the gift in return.

 

 


 

5th October 2015

 

Hurrah!

 

Hurrah! Cheer on your team through thick and thin, 
or support your shipmates getting cargoes in!
Be an Old German who's doing the same, 
or a cavalryman charging in the Monarch's name.

Hurrah, hurra, huzzah, hooray, 
just variations from an olden day 
when working in teams getting done the task. 
Being cheerful together is not a big ask.

Hurrah and hurra is cheerful talk 
at leisure and pleasure and even at work.
Huzzah and hooray let communities call, 
the harvest is in, let's welcome the Fall.

 

 


 

5th October 2015

Never By Yourself

Can't baptise yourself; you need another.
Can't marry yourself; you twine with a lover.
A Bishop confirms you; a Bishop ordains you;
The whole of the Church serves the one God in Three.

Can't be forgiven but by hearing the pardon.
Can't be anointed but by oil from another.
We all need the body, we're not one alone.
It's all parts together that make up the one.

Can't be a Christian without other Christians.
Can't have a hotline of Words from the Lord.
In Church we are priested, tested, corrected, 
all interdependent, for the many are one.

 

 

 


 

6th October 2015

 

Ahm Gannin Doon the Toon

 

Ahm gannin doon the Toon the dee,
Ah hope the weather's fair
Ahm gannin doon the Toon the dee,
Me marras will be there
Ahll see Earl Grey and have some play
and buy myself a beer
Ahm gannin doon the Toon the dee,
Ah hope the weather's fair.

 

Look at the bridges, the River Tyne Bridges,

the engineers’ skill and Tynesiders’ pride.

Look at the river, the wonderful river

flowing so free and so wide,

flowing so free and so wide.

 

Ahm gannin doon …

 

Gone are the shipyards, the ship yards and coal wharfs,

the sound of the hammer on rivets and steel.

The pits have all closed down now and in many a sad town now

you’ll see how the poor people feel,

you’ll see how the poor people feel.

 

Ahm gannin doon …

 

But I’ll always stay here, yes I’ll never leave here,

the North East’s the only home place for me,

for the love and the craic, between every man Jack,

is impossible elsewhere to see,

is impossible elsewhere to see.

 

 

 

 

 

Words and music David Grieve

Literacy in Geordie has not been authenticated

 

 

 


 

6th October 2015

 

He is Good Enough

 

Unspeakably awful, unrestrained violence 
(restrained, so it is intended, by violence), 
not in one country alone, 
nor one continent, 
nor in the areas covered by news reports and cameras, 
but in schools and cities, 
homes and workplaces 
and by the conscious decision of the human mind.

Yet,

"Discretion and tongue and eyes,

ears and a mind for thinking he gave them.

He filled them with knowledge and understanding,

and showed them good and evil.

He put the fear of him into their hearts

to show them the majesty of his works."

 

The world consumes its very self by violence. 
No possible end to all this, 
no permanent restraint, 
no laying down of weapons and of hate, 
no return to the Garden, 
but through that single-minded, sinless, selfless man 
who came preaching peace

and embodying peace

and bestowing peace, who,

submitting to sickening violence

with forgiveness from heart to mouth,

opened up a way, 
showed the way, 
made it possible to be changed and forgiven, 
restored and regenerated, 
to be ruled by love not violence.

There was no other good enough. 
He is good enough.

 

 


 

7th October 2015

 

How Dark, How Bright!

 

Where were the men on that black, black day in Jerusalem 
when darkness covered the earth 
as a shroud is wrapped around a corpse?
Fled, fled, every one, except John, dear beloved John, 
the comforter of the Mother of God.

 

Another man, a rough pagan soldier, 
recognised Christ as he breathed his last, 
although he did not know the prophecies, 
he did not know of God's Covenanted promises.

 

The band of friends, all the other men, 
in panic and fear ran and left their leader; 
only the women, the several Marys and the others, 
stayed to be with him as he died.

 

It was men, who so often jostle for the seats of power and glory, 
who could not keep their nerve. 
The women served to the very end.

 

But when Jesus gave that last harrowing cry, 
in the Temple the priestly caste of men saw the curtain torn down, 
from top to bottom, 
and the ground shook around them, 
changing for ever the landscape of the old, failed way.

 

The one man who died for all, men and women, 
catching up all our failures and strengths in the only pure offering, 
sent the clouds of darkness scattering away.

 

The dawn from on high broke upon us
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,

and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

 

 


 

7th October 2015

 

Dancing with Joy

 

Joy is the property of Creation; 

each creature in its own way 

lives in the dance of God, for God is joy.

 

He is all the virtues for which we have to strive, 

seeking help from him.

God is. 

He is complete in himself, 

not in need of anything, 

and he is joy.

 

There is an icon, and many icons, which show us God at table, 

God the One and One in Three, 

displaying the beauty of love, for God is love.

 

His love is active. It is joy. He will get up from the table and dance

(having, of course, drunk a cup of tea). 

He doesn't just sit there.

 

Like him, creation is always on the move, 

from the outermost star to the core of the earth,

moving as he has ordained yet always creation, 

never in essence changing, yet dancing the dance of joy, 

reflecting its Creator.

 

Created things obey and by their existence dance with joy.

How wonderful, how marvellous that to humankind, 

whom he has made little lower than the Angels, 

God has given understanding, 

has given them to know meaning in the dance, 

and purpose in the joy.

 

Humankind, everywhere fallen, broken and breaking 

yet so capable of loving and knowing,

come to the table and enjoy the dance.

 

 

 


 

8th October 2015

 

Being Horny

 

Locking horns in the annual display of bragging rights,

to win the females and to lead the herd,

this species roars and trumpets with all

the hormonal strength it can muster;

the conference politician is so like the male deer.

 


 

8th October 2015

 

Heavy Cost

 

Strong memories of a woman in the 80s,

black-eyed on a Saturday, frequently, 

because a husband drank his wages 

and demanded his rights after the pub.

                                              

Memories of feeling helpless to prevent it, 

but aware of female support and love for her, 

of an oasis for young wives appearing in a desert.

 

Memories of astonishment at this part 

of the culture there, then.

It was, perhaps, dying out but it was still alive for her.

 

Memories of one underground culture all too visible, 

And of others in denial, covered over 

until breaking point had been reached.

 

Memories of domination, intimidation and verbal violence 

even within the Church there, 

of many wailing about it but complying 

and of others paying a heavy cost for making a stand.

 

 


 

8th October 2015

 

When Do You Get What You Get from a Sacrament?

 

Well, like a meal it takes time to have its effect,

that is, apart from the sensation of the moment.

A good English Roast Beef Dinner will give you

the joy of the institution; the energy gain is later.

Isn’t the dart of eternal love a bit like that?

 

You’re already in love when you marry.

You may feel anywhere between leaving and cleaving.

The blessings of marriage will appear later,

and marrying is the result of different strands

pulling this way and that. And God’s grace.

 

An Ordinand is the same person

the minute after Ordination as before.

She does not instantly have all wisdom or all holiness,

though she is on the road, and God has called her.

 

A baby cries just the same after Baptism as during.

He may not wake to his identity in Christ for many years.

But God has started something.

 

If you’re a Christian blessed by sacramental actions and grace,

change takes time.

God has promised. You have accepted.

What did you expect?

 

 


 

10th October 2015

 

Morning Glory, New Story

 

On a morning of autumn sunshine still with power to heat,
I sit in my trysting place. 
I listen to the dog grring outside 
and prancing with annoyance and frustration 
at whatever it is that does not acknowledge his lordship, whilst I, swathed in incense and candlelight, 
listen for God's voice though hearing it already.

With thanks for yesterday's blessings, 
I look for ways to express sonship in servanthood, 
but without the flamboyance of the now racing dog.
The cat returns, not mindful but living nonetheless in the present tense.

 

 

 

 


 

10th October 2015

 

Tense and Not

 

In the past, present and future tenses 
I prayed, am praying and will do, 
am saved, being saved and will be, 
because I am loved and known and cherished, 
and am being and will be, 
and have been churched, and am being and will be, and in this faith I have sought to serve, and am doing and will do.

And all because of a tenseless grammar of 
One in Three.

 

 


 

10th October 2015

 

Just a Sentence about Them

 

Benn, Healey, and Howe

have all gone and left us now,

heroes of post-war politics,

and giants of sundry dry old sticks,

but men who came from a time

of laying your life on the line;

on opposite sides of the Mace

In the Commons debating place,

determined nothing else would suffice

than having the powers of elected office,

very particular in how they proceeded,

sometimes they lost, they sometimes succeeded,

but dead now in old age after high office

and they did it all without a Wi-Fi device.

 

 


 

12th October 2015

 

St Wilfrid's Day

 

Wilfrid, Wilfrid, please don't make a scene.
We'll keep our customs as they've always been.
Are these benedictions not enough?
Just why are you so prickly and rough?

My brothers, you who call me haughty, 
you're the ones who are clearly faulty 
for opting out of the Church Universal, 
and I shall strive to make a reversal

So all in Britain adopt the Roman Rule, 
and nuns and monks, of Benedict, Holy Fool.
So be it if I must bully and chide you. 
Into better ways than yours I will guide you.

Now God be praised, on Wilfrid's Feast, 
for awkward, itchy saints, not least 
because in zeal they stand alone.
God accepts each and makes us one.

 

 


 

12th October 2015

 

A Feeling Strange?

 

It must be a feeling strange,

life now requiring you to rearrange

who you are; like a stranger in a foreign land,

some familiar sights, and some you can’t understand.

 

What now to do? More pressing, who now to be?

Identity can be role-played, and that’s a currency

that flatters to deceive. How then to feel strange,

to discover what to grow into in the process of change?

 

Feeling requires taking care; using senses; combining touch

with sniffing the given scents; following a trail much

trodden yet peculiarly yours, snowflake-real, unique.

It’s vocation; a call to continue looking, ever to seek.

 

 


 

13th October 2013

 

What This is Not

 

I’m tempted, oh! how I’m tempted

to write an Ode extolling Peanut Butter,

but this would be wrong, oh! so wrong.

 

It would just give away my gluttony

and my inordinate desire for

this delicious fatty spread with its crunchy texture

(a smooth variety is available)

that just jumps out of its jar

onto my slice of bread or toast,

and thence to be savoured in my mouth,

but quickly, to make room for the next bit, and the next.

 

Approximately 18 servings per jar, it says. This much I contest.

 

I know of people who will only eat it on a spoon.

Oh I say!

Though of course it is permissible this way to clean out a jar

heading for the washing up.

Or they eat it in biscuit form.

Chacun a son gout, I say.

 

As this is not an Ode to Peanut Butter,

I shall spend no further time extolling

this Prince of Spreads, this Comely Comestible,

this drool-making, mouth-watering tempter!

Get behind me at once!

 

Or inside me, of course.

 

 

 


 

18th October 2015

 

Brass Tracks

 

You can hear the drums and the pipes there

in the stories that are told

of Border wars and invasion fears

in the fearful times of old.

You can walk along the ramparts where

the militias used to run

and train their armoury out to sea

at armies that didn’t come.

You can happily enjoy the Heritage Trail

in a country that doesn’t exist.

But Berwick’s portion of the Holy Grail

is what you spend as a tourist.

 

 

 

 


 

19th October 2015

 

Dawning Prayer

 

From the depths of sleep slowly, slowly 
I awake to another granted day, 
into an ordered dawn as Creation sings praise to its Maker.

Empty me, I pray, of all that seeks to be God. 
Fill me with all that can make me good.

Let me know my place in the fading, resurging rhythms of Creation. 
Let me share its joy and be a part of its renewal.

Let me be in tune with the song of your Word, 
an instrument on which he plays.

Let me continue in faithfulness and joy 
till I enter the depths of final sleep, 
and wait in expectation of the new dawn.

 

 

 

 


 

19th October 2015

 

A Completed Day

 

For a quiet night I pray,

turning my soul, and the day’s effects, over to you.

For you have redeemed me, Lord God of truth.

 

While I have been occupied you have been busying

about your business of love,

and have sustained me as always you do.

 

Now as day ends already deep into night,

I entrust myself to you as a servant to his master

but more, as child to Father. Into your hands.

 

I delight in the love song

Lord bless, watch, shine, be gracious, be kind, give us peace.

 

As creature and as child, as servant and as son,

I commend my spirit to you,

because in waking or sleeping I shall be with you,

and you will let your servant depart in peace.

 

 

 

 


 

20th October 2015

 

Hiatus

 

The old man, lonely, bereaved,

past his sell by date,
has come to the edge.
Only the tree is further than him
from the inclusiveness he seeks.
Its life is apparently vanishing
but it leans towards society, 
towards friendship, 
towards love.

As it leans it covers him in protection
but also as if to say Rest a while,
and then when you are stronger
retrace your steps.
Go and find now what you thought
was forever lost.
Life has not ended, just changed.
There is work only you can do.

 

 


 

21st  October 2015

 

Any point in prediction?
In the future it will be past 
worrying about what is now present,
but not as feared, hoped, expected, planned for. 
Not an exact likeness of what actually does happen.
The excitement generated is similar to 
prophecies of doom that titillate 
and generate cash more than peace.

Time yet to happen is best left to God to whom all things are known. 
There is peace obtained in forward planning, 
but security comes from the unshakeable, 
not contingencies that may evaporate like morning mist.

Learn from the rest of Creation living in the present, actual now.
For humankind hurts itself in taking thought for the morrow, 
thought that shifts from the rock of the trustworthy 
to anxiety's shifting sands.

God with us, the prophecy fulfilled, is the sign for our times.

Top of Form

 

 


 

22nd October 2015

 

Loving-Kindness in the Morning

 

Overnight wind has spread a carpet of leaves 
over our newly dug flower bed,
dying's manure for future's living.

Early sunlight rises through the trees 
as I make my journey to hear the results of recent examinations. 
No pass, no failure, just a reality check on the state of my body, 
and suggested ways forward. 
I leave feeling treated with respect and dignity, the care I would expect.

Today's Psalms speak to me of God's faithfulness 
through every change, his being there for me 
as the King who has bothered with me. 
The wisdom of the ages is as helpful as ever. 
I have seen it portrayed in Nature and care.

 

 

 


 

24th October 2015

 

Lament for Shame, Seed of Hope

 

Weeds in the garden, thorns in the heart.
Winter kills the first by Nature's art.
But the human will by itself is too poor 
when corruption comes knocking on desire's door.

Buried for ages sinful deeds may be 
in a well-turned border of respectability.
And until the owner comes to the right 
how hard it is to make darkness light.

For the shame of the crimes diminishes all, 
yet all have sinned and are blighted by Fall.
Only the Perfect, who still intercedes 
can deal with the shame and pull out the weeds.

Can the Church face its demons, can it recognise 
that sins that entrap must be cauterised 
deep within a surrendered desire 
before religion is cleansed by holy fire?

It's obedience to Christ that enables a death 
to deeds of darkness, and the Spirit's breath 
in a cross-bearing imitation 
will heal the disease and cleanse the Garden.

 

 


 

25th October 2015

 

This Year Commit Mayumn

 

This year commit Mayumn.

If you can (please try), drop all the inessentials and be a human being, not a human doing. 
Don't live to work; be to live. Hunt for the really important things and be a Spring person. Love May.

You can. A machine must. 
Rebel against what tyrannises the soul. 
Downsize your have-tos. 
There will be a ready market for them.

Let love motivate duty, 
so that it becomes a freedom. Inhabit your soul space with voluntary neighbours. 
And, when you're in habit, 
make sure you give it good talking to about its status. 
It's your servant not your employer.

Commit as much mayhem as you can among all the predictable patterns you have learnt since your Mother's knee. Evaluate them carefully and with a red pencil. 
But you won't be stupid, will you?

Remember, this season is Mayumn not Autumn.

 

 


 

25th October 2015

 

The Soul of the Dark Night

 

We talked about it, she and I,

(I forget her name now),

about how January and February

can be the worst of all for those whom

the darkness drags down, down and down

when the daylight (if no snow) is not so much dark as brown.

 

We found common experience a help,

as so often people do, for no man is an island

incomplete in itself; until you are incomplete

stranded on Desert Island Depression.

There, purveyors of light and offers of greyness gain no access.

Those in the dark stay, of course, on their own islands of blackness.

 

So, I thought, knowing what darkness is able to do

whether in January or February, but it might be June,

feed its soul now. Yes, that’s right, darkness needs soul

just as soul needs dark, light’s opposite terminal, for earthing,

and soul in light draws deep on reservoirs scratched and clawed,

always incomplete, for joy, even joy, is temporal and flawed.

 


 

26th October 2015

 

Glimpses are All You Ever Get

 

Consider the Acer in its fiery mystery,

burning for a while yet not alight,

stirring though static in its rootedness,

a bush grown into flame that draws me aside.

                                                                                        

Along with all its tribe it is in the squeezing

between life and death that beauty displays

its wonder, its causing to wonder.

I wonder. We wonder and we wonder why.

 

Blind and dimmed as often we are

since the clouds ceased to trail for us,

we need cataracts removed, lenses corrected,

mercy’s touch restoring our sight.

 

Glimpses are all you ever get,

even in the best of times,

earch for him,
God the Father of our Brother cannot be possessed,
leashed, treated as an already explained discovery.

 

It is we who are to grow towards him,
to continue our exploration from the once-given,
veiled in flesh and blinding light, so that we may yet see
as the yearning search continues its way.

 

 

 

 

 

We found common experience a help,

as so often people do, for no man is an island

incomplete in itself; until you are incomplete

stranded on Desert Island Depression.

There, purveyors of light and offers of greyness gain no access.

Those in the dark stay, of course, on their own islands of blackness.

 

So, I thought, knowing what darkness is able to do

whether in January or February, but it might be June,

feed its soul now. Yes, that’s right, darkness needs soul

just as soul needs dark, light’s opposite terminal, for earthing,

and soul in light draws deep on reservoirs scratched and clawed,

always incomplete, for joy, even joy, is temporal and flawed.

 

 

26th October 2015

 

Glimpses are All You Ever Get

 

Consider the Acer in its fiery mystery,

burning for a while yet not alight,

stirring though static in its rootedness,

a bush grown into flame that draws me aside.

 

Along with all its tribe it is in the squeezing

between life and death that beauty displays

its wonder, its causing to wonder.

I wonder. We wonder and we wonder why.

 

Blind and dimmed as often we are

since the clouds ceased to trail for us,

we need cataracts removed, lenses corrected,

mercy’s touch restoring our sight.

 

Glimpses are all you ever get,

even in the best of times,

because the best is yet to happen.

The fire that has thus far fallen from Heaven

pervades wherever you look if you look.

There is quite enough other stuff to overlook,

to not allow to blind us to the beauty that passes,

shaped by the maker’s skill in the kiln of this earth.

 

 


 

27th October 2015

 

Belonging. Be, Longing

 

He spoke, unexpectedly, and, turning to him, 
I started to realise that he had always been there, 
though it took me a while to catch up. 
That's so often how it is.


I had taken for granted what he showed me, over the years, 
was granted, not deserved. 
It was mercied, loved, attracted, called.

 

Trouble was, it started to turn all the wrong way round.
It became a bit hedged around. 
It took on the apparatus of a necessary system 
to operate correctly if I was going to make it.

A lot of tension was released that day when I knelt on a College floor,
and joy came flooding in wave after wave 
as a tongue once tethered started to wag giftedly.

Freedom lasted for a while, until the tongue became 
tied to the new norms. In the end I resigned my membership, 
not of him but of the club.

I find I keep on having to do that. To decide that to be free 
means to be tied to him alone.

And only then am I able to live out what, 
in the very beginning, I was signed up to be. 
I long to stay that way.

 

 


 

28th October 2015

 

Every So Often it Must be Spoken Of

 

Taboo or not taboo. 

That is the question.

 

People, for all sorts of reasons, take their own lives. 

For some, it's the best, most honourable way. 

Rather than be humiliated in battle they fall on their swords.

Or the loaded revolver or cup of hemlock is handed to them.

The impulsive self-killing for love's sake

carries a cachet of wept-for, vicarious romance 

'brightening up' someone's screen.

Others drink or drug themselves in a fatal choice.

 

The breaking apart of the mind's ability to cope 

when one straw becomes too many 

is the last earthly act of a process, 

though never the final word on their worth.

 

The man drawn to a cliff edge that entices and befriends 

has a mind whose dense mass no one else can understand, in truth.

You have not been there, not where he is at that precise moment.

To empathise is not to know. 

 

Anger, yours at him, yours at the reasons why,

is an emotion part-profane, part-holy. 

The hush of the sotto voce gossiping 

is drowned by the thunder from heaven, 

a voice calling This, also, is my beloved child.

There was no more that she could do.

 

 


 

28th October 2015

 

A Challenge to Any Who Read This

 

7Poetry says more in less.
Unless, that is, you're spouting the form of it that is an Ode or anything ending in -thallium, or an interminable Ballade about a Romantic Highwayman, or just don't know when you should shut up, which would have been pages ago.

Poetry says anything about anything.
It has the same root meaning as to make, 
so there are many of my correspondents who already have this string
to their bows.

I suggest that for the soul's sake
you put into verse a description of your life
as it currently is. Be honest and real and make 
a go of it. You can even sing the praises of your wife 
or husband, part of your story, part of your take 
on life.

You have a voice to employ, still, perhaps, to discover.
You can be a poet because you are one.
The world needs poets even more than it needs lerts.
But you can also be a lert to the real and latent grace and beauty of living, beyond the sordid, grimy face that is worn by the Estates of the Realm, or fractured families.

So, if you have been, thank you for reading this.
I challenge you to reply in poetry.
It will be good.
It could be verse.

 

 


 

29th October 2015

 

Whatever the Outcome of the Day

 

A day of new felt blessings because fresher, 
wilder weather tells a different story from yesterday. 
Other work can be done, adding to the progress of settling in, 
within and outwith the house.

Morning prayer, anchored in Scripture on a Martyr's day, 
tells of the faithfulness of God, and how good it is to entrust to him:

I have said to the Lord, ‘You are my lord,
all my good depends on you.’

Dependence and getting on with the requirements of living, 
these are elements of my ordinary day, 
but a day long ago when someone far away gave his life 
to glorify God and to seed the Church.

Just now I heard a pheasant cry, 
adding its voice to the response that

all Creation makes to its Creator, 
whatever the outcome of the day.

 

 

 

 

29th October 2015

 

One Single Light

 

One single light in surrounding darkness.
In a place of prayer, here is oil in a Church-shaped container, 
lit and lighting, being consumed as Christ was 
who is light from light,
light in the Church for the world.

By his light all seeing was commanded into being, 
whose speech is the mind of the Father, 
whose consent to be enfleshed contracted Heaven into a space, 
whose complete obedience illuminates what sinful sight may not see.

Little light in my space, 
burn away what in me denies you, 
and grant me restored vision 
with whose focus I may look at you in your world 
and, looking, see you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30th October 2015

 

Masks Shall Not Terrify Us

 

How good of God to replace our fears for the dead,

of the dead and of death with the news that

nothing can separate us from his love in Christ Jesus our Lord!

 

So what if All Hallows is a mask to place over Samhain?

What better mask could there be, if masks we have to have

and masks we have to wear?

 

Pity that so many do not have their fears addressed

and relieved by play acting, but still that remedy for sin and for fear

remains visible in the human face of God. No mask that!

 

It is in the deep but dazzling darkness of God that many are found by him whom they did not know they were seeking,

for no darkness is so deep that he has not already penetrated

and unlocked it, who on the cross and in the shades proclaimed that it, his work, is finished.

 

Come, allow his hand to grasp your wrist. Be drawn out and up, out of the clinging darkness towards the unveiled glory.

 

Sure, we will remain dazzled. How could it be otherwise?

But in that blinding light we shall see, and his penetrating gaze at us

is where for freedom we shall be set free.

How good of God!

 

 

 


 

27th October 2015

 

All Saintstide Song

 

 

Save them all, guard them all,

the long and the short and the tall,

the winner, the sinner,

the one who found grace

that moment of crisis when he saw your face.

God our friend, right to the end,

by the prayers of the saints that you send,

help us to continue to love and to serve you

We'll follow right on to the end

 

 


 

8th April 2007, for All Souls

 

When Our Hearts are Wintry

 

When our hearts are wintry

and death’s savagery still

attacks and cheats us of the

joys we were meant to embrace,

              

Lord, draw near and walk beside us,

risen, conquering Son.

 

When the soil of our sorrow is

hard to break and ice surrounds

our souls, keeping them numb,

 

Lord, draw near and walk beside us,

risen, conquering Son.

 

When our future looks black and senseless,

and we don’t know how to begin again,

because light has fled from our lives,

 

Lord, draw near and walk beside us,

risen, conquering Son.

 

Meet us, greet us,

take us by the hand and

pull us to our feet

so that we may walk with you

in the way that leads to eternal life.


 

1st November 2015

 

Fog

 

We find ourselves, at times, in a fog not of our own making, 
scary, disorienting, limiting. 
Panic, frustration, turning back are all quick to set in, 
as walls close in around us, walls that make us feel in danger, 
and at risk from ourselves, let alone others.

That may be the case out on the roads as well as in the mind, 
that mysterious tethered-to-the-brain-and-memory instrument of ours.
When it hurts, as it does so often for so many, then fog descends.
You feel isolated in a crowd; that is, if you haven't locked yourself away.
You feel unknown, because no one else is having your particular experience, which is very particular.
You cannot believe that the fog will ever lift; 
not this time, even if you acknowledge that previously it has.

There are not always warnings that the fog will appear.
Life has been 'normal' until the blanket begins to smother you.
Time passes unexperienced as enjoyment.
And then, without warning, as on my car journey home last night, clarity returns, and with it relief. 
The reassurance of the visibly familiar sets the mind at rest.

 

 


 

5th November 2015

 

Light from Light

 

Piercing, piercing light from transfigured Jesus,
touching with fire all who turn aside to look, 
setting hearts ablaze and hands to work.

You have blessed me today, 
and have invited me inside the mystery 
to join with the Apostles, St Cuthbert, 
the Archbishop and theologian.

The sick and breaking, the men and boys 
who work in the danger of earth's tunnels 
and who may well die there, 
the child oppressed by epilepsy,
hurling himself into fire,
to these comes Jesus, as to all.

Still the pilgrims come in wonder. 
Still St Cuthbert, St Bede and St Hild
urge on the whole company of heaven 
to pray for and with us.
And light from God, transfiguration light still pierces, 
touches and sets hearts ablaze.

 

because the best is yet to happen.

The fire that has thus far fallen from Heaven

pervades wherever you look if you look.

There is quite enough other stuff to overlook,

to not allow to blind us to the beauty that passes,

shaped by the maker’s skill in the kiln of this earth.

 

 

 

8th November 2015

 

New Ministry

 

On this day when he rose

Jesus shows

That he knows

The way we should go.

 

And because of this day

We hear him say

Follow in this way

Wherever it leads.

 

Seeds have been sown

And lives have been grown

So let it be known

That Jesus is Lord.

 

The harvest is ready.

Christians, be steady.

This new wine is heady.

Let us worship and serve.

 

And Jesus says, Great!

I can hardly wait

Let's all celebrate

And let the kingdom come!

 

 

 

 

 

 

19th November 2015

 

Visible and Indescribable Love

 

Glancing up, there is a break in the clouds

as strong winds push them quickly across the sky.

Azure blue is shining, trumpeting God's wonder,

the mystery of eternity,

the coloured enclosure of our limited vision

which ensures our very existence.

 

Knowing too much too soon would destroy us.

Yet the longing to know, implanted at the Creation,

spurs on our hunger.

 

Christ the King over all draws us to seek him,

and to find him in the lost and the poor.

To live out what we can see,

him in them and him in us,

calls us to silence and awe, and indescribable love.

 

 

 

 

12th November 2015

God's Signs

This day, the last of mildness before the onset of winter?
The storm Abigail approaches. What will be in her wake?
Yet she is as much an instrument of God's creative will 
as are leaves falling off trees to give place to next season's renewal.

My dog is alert, watching for something to chase. 
So be ready, my heart, for the given signs. 
For the young woman was with child, 
a child to be named Emmanuel.

There is madness in the world, permitted but condemned.
Free agency alone can choose the way to go.
But a highway in the wilderness was prophesied, 
and rivers in the desert, and the child was born.

He rode the storm with glory in his wings, 
yet submitted to the lash and the nail.
His breath will revive our hearts and fill the sail.

 

 

 

18th November 2015

 

St Elizabeth of Hungary

 

I shall not be beaten.
I was cast out from my home, 
and all that was mine by right.
I took refuge, and my Confessor abused me.
But I shall not be distracted.

I have renounced my Royal status, 
and have become like a subject.
For in the sick and in the poor I see your face.

My heart goes out to you in them, 
and I will fulfil my vows, 
vows that spur me on to serve 
without thought for myself, 
as the Friars and Sisters do.

I care for you, blessed Lord, 
who was washed and anointed for burial 
by those who loved you.

I place into your hands all that has been 
and all that may be, 
for you alone are my hope.

 

 

19th November 2015

 

Back Here Again

 

My heart stirred, is stirring now.

I had been elsewhere, marvelling at Cotswold stone Colleges,

fine churches, and exquisite villages with thatched cottages, 

and I was blessed.

 

Then I came back here. 

I saw it on my journey in, standing in majesty.

Through the traffic I drove, and turned up the Bailey, 

and my heart stirred with home-coming joy.

 

This, for me, is a Thin Place, ever moving. 

The veil shifts as the wind blows it, 

and I am differently blessed each time I visit. 

For God, in his building and in his people, 

is always speaking, always disclosing, always touching.

 

There is endless space in a Thin Place. 

That is the paradox of mystery, 

and the encounter with what is beyond our grasp 

denies that faith can be reduced 

to mere culture or dismissed as fable.

 

 

 

 

23rd November 2015

 

Paris, Mali, Syria, Elsewhere

 

The blast of the bomb,

terror all around.

The rat-tat-tat of the gun,

murder’s horrific sound.

 

Screams of wounded and dying,

confusion reigning all round,

bombers determined to die

for murder’s horrific sound.

 

Derangement aimed at disruption,

crime and sin all around.

Bombers hunted down, prevented

from murder’s horrific sound.

 

Bravery, sacrifice, solidarity,

refuting terror all around.

At work and at play, nations renounce

murder’s horrific sound.

 

Yet, still, force wars against force

with terror all around.

There must be peace that brings to a halt

murder’s horrific sound.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4th December 2015

 

Why?

 

Why was it that we were in danger that day,

high in the mountains, Jane, Christine,

Sister Hilda and I?

 

Was it because we lingered long,

laughing, in the Lodge at lunch?

 

Was it since Sister seized some seconds

to see to something so simple

 

That later in Lesotho’s lofty heights

from our left lurched a heavy enemy

 

Yet a mere donkey foal, untethered,

slamming our car nearly off into clean air

to spin down to death?

 

Randomly, it seemed, we escaped where, before,

others had not, but had met their end there.

 

If there is an answer to my questions I do not know it.

But God was with us.

 

 

 

 

5th December 2015

 

Christmas Prayer

 

Mind of the Father put into Word,

who used human lungs to cry Good News,

baby in Bethlehem, man for the world,

now, in shared Glory, you are still the Word;

use our human lungs to cry Good News,

peace for Bethlehem, reconciliation for world

 

 

9th December 2015

 

Forever and Coming Presence

 

The dog looks out through the windows

to see if there is anything to chase,

listening to wind that he does not understand,

but quietens himself, snuggling up in his easy chair.

All is well.                                                                                

 

At Morning Prayer, Scripture tells of the power of God,

greater than the strength of armies and idols;

it tells of the coming consolation of Israel,

because He is faithful;

it tells of the renewal of hearts and minds from the inside out.

 

Wait on God alone in stillness, O my soul; 
for in him is my hope.

 

He alone is my rock and my salvation, 
my stronghold, so that I shall not be shaken. 

 

Stillness as the wind blows,

known but not understood by the dog,

is offered to my soul as another day begins. 

 

The light of God's presence, forever in glory,

soon to be celebrated for his coming in human flesh.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

11th December 2015

 

Ah, The Squeak

 

Ah, the squeak of a hinge sets off a train of thought.
Thought of how friction is a part of living, of existing.
The body itself grows and degenerates 
as its parts move against each other and strength, 
stress and pain result.

We live far beyond our forebears' lifespan;
our minds may have expanded, 
but not our bodies' inbuilt programme.

The very planet exists because friction makes it keep alive.
There is a tectonic plate that God's Word inserted into 
the created order, and this is mystery. 
We know how but not why.

People are killed, species vanish, 
the core of the earth spills 
out and over in terrifying heat.

Selfishness makes us consign others - 
other people, other created things - 
to consequences that were not Intended.

Ingenuity allows us to seek and find the remedies.

As our world warms and the waters rise, 
the frictions between its tribes carry on regardless.
We may go out not with a bang but a squeak.

 

 

12th December 2015

 

Not a Profound Pome but One I Had to Write Though I’d Like a Better Title

 

What a hairy man was John.
Met a hairy end, did John.
Herod, he thought, was not up to scratch,
but he was put in jail, on watch
until he lost his head.

Now Jesus was a stinker too.
After a month in the desert, so would you.
A King, yet a peasant's life he had, 
loved by the good and feared by the bad.
In the end, he was dead.

Except it wasn't the end for Jesus,
and because of him it's the same for us
isn't it? That's the wonderful Christian faith.
Love after sin and life after death
and a crown upon your head.

 

 

14th December 2015

Sign, John of the Cross

Surrounded by fog, we sit in the warm place of prayer.
Robin Redbreast perches briefly on the fence, 
sign of death and life.

On St John of the Cross Day, with the darkness of night 
still persisting,
his warmth and strength that could not be kept locked away 
reflects the Messiah's work of liberation, 
and throws light on the Advent hope.

Shine, Jesus Daystar, through the confusion of the world.
Make our planet breathe in safety, 
throw away its weapons, 
and come on pilgrimage to worship you.

 

New Year’s Day 2015

 

At the Lam’a Sabach’thani

 

Agony yet Glory in the bent back,

the contorted body but uplifted head,

his Lam’a Sabach’thani a cry not just for himself

but for every tortured shout before or since,

his It is Finished the moment in history

when atonement ripples over

the very edges of time itself

into Eternity’s ceaseless stream.

 

Jesus Christ, Alpha and Omega,

then incarnate now ascended,

once slain forever risen,

first in the form of a slave

now crowned as King,

pray always for your disintegrated world

till that day comes when its crucifixion is finished,

and you accomplish its shining healing.

 

 

Feast of the Epiphany 2015

 

God

 

God is patient all of the time,

but is no doormat that doesn't see the dirt done in his name.

All of the time God is kind.

 

God is kind all of the time,

but not the kind that pretends not to notice the abuse of love.

All of the time God is truthful.

 

God is truthful all of the time,

but does not trumpet the wrongs of others, preferring to endure.

All of the time God is there.

 

God is there all of the time,

but not in a way that cramps our freedom to do without him.

All of the time God is good.

 

God is good all of the time,

but not merely because we experience his great goodness.

All of the time God is.

 

God is, all of the time.

God just is.

 

 

9th January 2015

 

Please Read This Poem Responsibly

 

Salutations be to Tuica,

a fabulous drink if you seek a

nightcap or apperitif.

I know not if it rots your teeth,

but it can surely rot your liver.

 

So the Government seeks to deliver

Romanians from over-consumption,

and therefore it's a fair assumption

that Tuica is a Romanian drink.

It's sometimes stronger than you think,

up in the villages fifty five per cent,

but not in the shops.

 

Of course, what I meant to tell you is that

it is pronounced Zweeker in Romanian,

in case you are a seeker after it.

After a glass or two, you will certainly feel hit.

Please read this poem responsibly.

 

 

11th January 2015

 

Grating John, Greater Jesus

 

O hairy stern man,

founder of the Camelite Order

which found its way as far as Ephesus,

your no nonsense raging at discouraged people

was just what they'd wanted to hear

as they weren't doing at all well

in the perfection stakes run

by the Top Men in Jerusalem.

 

Oi!, you shouted.

You filthy lot, repent and get clean.

You're no good.

I'm disgusted at what you tell me you've done.

 

Leather-belted John was prepared for wilderness.

Born to it, he was, and always a Nazirite.

Maybe he lived a sheltered life?

 

What he wasn't prepared for was love.

But Jesus, when he came to make a start,

got told how delightful he was

and how much his Father loved him.

 

He humbled himself, did Jesus.

He died in the water, did Jesus.

He breathed alive, did Jesus.

He got the Spirit touch and push, did Jesus.

 

John was right! What Jesus was was more power-full.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18th January 2015

 

New Year’s Day 2015

 

At the Lam’a Sabach’thani

 

Agony yet Glory in the bent back,

the contorted body but uplifted head,

his Lam’a Sabach’thani a cry not just for himself

but for every tortured shout before or since,

his It is Finished the moment in history

when atonement ripples over

the very edges of time itself

into Eternity’s ceaseless stream.

 

Jesus Christ, Alpha and Omega,

then incarnate now ascended,

once slain forever risen,

first in the form of a slave

now crowned as King,

pray always for your disintegrated world

till that day comes when its crucifixion is finished,

and you accomplish its shining healing.


 

Feast of the Epiphany 2015

 

God

 

God is patient all of the time,

but is no doormat that doesn't see the dirt done in his name.

All of the time God is kind.

 

God is kind all of the time,

but not the kind that pretends not to notice the abuse of love.

All of the time God is truthful.

 

God is truthful all of the time,

but does not trumpet the wrongs of others, preferring to endure.

All of the time God is there.

 

God is there all of the time,

but not in a way that cramps our freedom to do without him.

All of the time God is good.

 

God is good all of the time,

but not merely because we experience his great goodness.

All of the time God is.

 

God is, all of the time.

God just is.


 

9th January 2015

 

Please Read This Poem Responsibly

 

Salutations be to Tuica,

a fabulous drink if you seek a

nightcap or apperitif.

I know not if it rots your teeth,

but it can surely rot your liver.

 

So the Government seeks to deliver

Romanians from over-consumption,

and therefore it's a fair assumption

that Tuica is a Romanian drink.

It's sometimes stronger than you think,

up in the villages fifty five per cent,

but not in the shops.

 

Of course, what I meant to tell you is that

it is pronounced Zweeker in Romanian,

in case you are a seeker after it.

After a glass or two, you will certainly feel hit.

Please read this poem responsibly.


 

11th January 2015

 

Grating John, Greater Jesus

 

O hairy stern man,

founder of the Camelite Order

which found its way as far as Ephesus,

your no nonsense raging at discouraged people

was just what they'd wanted to hear

as they weren't doing at all well

in the perfection stakes run

by the Top Men in Jerusalem.

 

Oi!, you shouted.

You filthy lot, repent and get clean.

You're no good.

I'm disgusted at what you tell me you've done.

 

Leather-belted John was prepared for wilderness.

Born to it, he was, and always a Nazirite.

Maybe he lived a sheltered life?

 

What he wasn't prepared for was love.

But Jesus, when he came to make a start,

got told how delightful he was

and how much his Father loved him.

 

He humbled himself, did Jesus.

He died in the water, did Jesus.

He breathed alive, did Jesus.

He got the Spirit touch and push, did Jesus.

 

John was right! What Jesus was was more power-full.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

18th January 2015

 

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