Saturday, 10 October 2009

The child in me

The child in me

Wrinkles expose the scars of time
ravishes of rampaging life,
the disfigurements of failure,
laughter lines of success.
These are not the projections
of childhood expectations:
sunshine for tomorrow,

Golden fields pepper the past:
trike rides in everlasting summers,
snow ball fights in Christmas holidays,
hiding in ambush for exotic strangers
with red skins and feathered heads,
reading comics in bed ‘til ten o’clock.
The long walk to school
risking footfall on pavement cracks,
hopscotch skip and jump,
the gallop of Trigger
or foot drawl of Blind Pew.
Always being the last pick
for the playground football match:
disappointed that no-one recognised me
Roy of the Rovers
one day…..

Spending ages pondering which angel
around the manger was Santa Claus
and why were there camels and not reindeer.
Walking with dinosaurs fearless of their magnitude
stalking Stukkas in a Spitfire,
Superboy, indestructible,
needing a bandage on a splinter
a kiss on the bruise.

Fantasies of constancy in a changing world
where ‘there is no success like failure
and failure is no success at all’.
Finding, between the manger
that has no Santa Claus
and the black pain of a Good Friday,
there is room for me
and I am not
the last

Thursday, 10 September 2009



To be in your presence,
as You plead before the Father,
we too, in sleepy ignorance of tomorrow
carelessly abandon today.
To be at table
sufficed with meal,
yet hungry for finer repast -
the bread of life
draws us closer
to You, to each other.
In communion care,
the stronger tie, the gentle grip
of ‘love that will not let me go’
broken hearts
held in broken hands.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Friday night

Friday night

And after the pain, more pain.
Deep and dark
loathful separation.
The black clamour of blindness,
the taut grip of death.
Time stopped: a different eternity.
Memories of friends and Father
the lifeline at fingers edge.
In this red-black deep
there is no passion, no joy, no light:
just the wailing of souls
and a tomorrow that never dawns.
The most recent of memories hold no respite,
the grip of nail and thorn
no gentle reminder of love.
And that last kiss
in the collision of kingdoms.
Yet I will wait in this gaping darkness
for the greeting touch
of a Father in tears,
three days of eternity away.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Devalued Green

Devalued green

Blue and yellow made love,
green was colour,
green was eyes.

You were pasture
greeting dawn with night tears.
Somewhere for sheep to graze,
for tumbles of careless lovers,
for last wicket stands
and the honour of the village,
for knotted streamers
of children and maypole.

You had an affair with feelings;
townsfolk jealously sentenced you “envy”
at a rigged identity parade.

On parole, in middle age,
you again heard the whisper of peace,
but, too old for romping lovers,
you waved flags for whales and seals.

When you entered politics
I began looking for other colours
in the grass.
You have emerald eyes.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

and the sound of a wind

….and the sound of a wind.
Acts 2 v2

For an instant it was quiet.
Then the sound of the wind
like an invisible gatecrasher,
a rush before the rainstorm,
filled the air
a powerful charge in the atmosphere of time.
But nothing stirred.
the days gleaning of dust
loitering of the floor
remained unmoved
in its silent vigil to the heat.
And there was the sound of the wind
a gathering tide rushing sea defences
an unstoppable movement in the flow of time.
The sound only, filled the air
a wind unsensed by eye.
No tell-tale genuflection of drapes
no bowing of stems nor wafting of smell.
There was the sound of the wind.
But there was a sign of this invisible guest
there were beach-crashing waves
there were cloud-rending, life changing,
burning signs.
There were tongues of fire.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Ravens come

Ravens come (1 Kings 17 v 1-5)

A piece of peace
separate, whole, a shelter.
Here is that healing calm
haven for the tormented tortured soul
an ointment on the wound
shade from stinging heat
and the quiet place.

The ravenous wind prowls outside
the quakes of life are just out of reach
and the glittering of storms do not penetrate.

Ravens come,
laden with their offerings of bread.

The journey to find this place
leaves littered baggage in its wake,
sprawling the used clothes
and worn shoes
battle wounded on the path.
Parting with unfriendly comfortable chains
sears with fear
stabs fingers in holed unhealed scars
grasps and releases nettled yesterdays.

Stabbed and bleeding,
naked, robbed, blinded
and accused
here, only here
the small voice is heard.

But this place is not the world,
nor is this place home,
this place is not tomorrow
but a shelter in today.

Ravens come,
laden with their offerings of bread.
‘We’ll be back.’
Say the ravens.

‘I’ll always be here.’
Says the small,
refreshing, voice.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

To be in black

To be in black

A dry and arid place
when the oasis is in sight
but held at a distance
by circumstance and happenstance
twin dictators of mood and heart.
To be in black on the Lord’s day
In a walled room devoid of light,
cringing within shadowed soul
wounds weeping
a hearts cry away from God.
To be in black on the Lord’s day.
When all the screams of life
deafen in tidal flood
blind in binding fear.
A dumb breath-sucked vacuum
where life is somewhere else
where reality is a God away
and these limbs are useless to move me there.
To be in black on the Lord’s day.
When the spirit battles to say its yes
to all things good and love-cared
and somehow falls under the weight of effort.
To be in my dark room seeing your light
its single ray stretching to me
And the heart makes its cry
on the Lord’s day.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Between waking moments

Between waking moments

Between waking moments
all I can hear:
my partner’s sleepy breathing
and the layered meanderings of thought
which take me on a journey.
A moment of quiet
with my boys at the earth-clothed place
where you mingle with roots and soil
saying “hello” in an accent of “goodbye”.
They do not know you,
all there is to show of your brief life
is the kissed tattoo
which ravages my chest
and this tiny plot of remembrance.
How can they know one heart beats for two?
One pair of eyes share this scene,
the other views the heart of God.
One soul conjures images of heaven
the other enjoys its reality.
Between waking moments,
when all things are possible
we share a tear and shed a smile.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Why does the silence seem so loud

Why does the silence seem so loud
when 'be still' is Your command ?
Why do colours drain from view
when seeping sadness encamps around ?
'Why are you downcast, O my soul ?'
Trust and sight vie for supremacy,
faith and life - arguing foes
giving no quarter sparing no peace.
The blood upon the battlefield
is tears upon my cheek;
constant cut and thrust of life
wounds and leaves me weak.
The only sword within my grasp:
a will to follow at Your call,
the only rod and staff to clasp
is an ensign that won't pall.
So all the blacks and blues and greys,
drab soul-mates of today,
in the light of faith and truth
begin to startle and amaze.

Thursday, 11 June 2009



You are invited,
nay commanded
to the starring role.
Come as you are.
You are the main attraction,
you are the V.I.P.

Yours was the flashing light,
the penetrating siren overture,
the abandoned kiss of life.

Even now the props are being prepared,
dates confirmed with minor players,
invitations written,
box last-lacquered,
handles polished,
name embossed.

shouldered like a football hero
at some final final,
you will go alone
to drink the fire
when the curtain closes.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Broken relationship

Broken relationship

the tie binds
a broken bind
binds us still
for separation
cannot steal remembrance
departure cannot kidnap love
care is held till
healing ransom is paid
on the nail
or thorn

and when they were done

and when they were done,

and when they were done,
they were done,
they stood and stared
at an empty cross
an empty tomb
with their empty eyes

their empty eyes
they began to create
and their creation
and invisible gods
with agendas