Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The dark cup


Take up the dark, dark cup,
Wine purpled, swelled with tears,
Bitter with haunted fear
The burden of the years.

Drink it, drink down the dregs
With sword-sharp shuddering,
Pain that congeals like ice
Screams through our muttering.

Pain? Yes like drinking thorns
Cruelly to lacerate,
One part our nightmare fears
One part is rage and hate.

One part the jealous soul,
Whipped by another’s joy,
One part the monstrous lies
That steal, kill and destroy.

Yes you must drink it down
In its entirety
Courage, and faith made bold
Name its mortality.

Here is compassion born
Here love is made complete
When death is swallowed up
There is no more defeat

Monday, October 15, 2018

Apple Blossom


I wore that perfume then! How it evokes
The memories of a night! Near fifty years
Have passed, and still I feel the things I felt.

The time was nearly Christmas; summer night
Laden with languid heat, the party held
Down by the water, in a dream-lit yard.
(The dreams, as I remember, were all mine,
Inchoate, helpless, fresh and sharp and strong,
And innocent as newly-mint sixteen.)

So little I recall: what dress? What food?
Only the perfume, and the magic sense
Of entering a world I had not known.

No, nothing happened, not a prince was there,
(At least not mine); only the summer night,
The velvet darkness sequinned with small lamps,
The heady mix of freedom and soft dreams,
The first toe stuck out into life’s glad stream,
And all the joys and sorrows yet to come.

The river of the years has borne me on
Without regret, for she still lives inside:
The dreaming girl who sees the beautiful
In every moment’s gift, still tender-glad
To be and to become: to reach, to love.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Let Their Cry go up to Heaven


Let their cry go up to Heaven!
Let the earth hear it;
Let the sea stand still in its writhing,
To gather in their tears.
Let the clouds weep in sympathy
Upon this thirsting soil.
Let the grass blades supplicate,
And the sun scorch our clamour to silence,
So that we might hear their cry.

Let their cry go up to Heaven!
Let the angels pause to listen,
Lifting up the terrible pain.
Transmuting it to glory
As only Love can do.
There shall be a day of reckoning.

Let their cry go up to Heaven:
The broken and the tortured,
The disregarded, robbed of human worth
(Precious beyond our counting),
The misused, the throwaway people,
Thrown away, like rusted-up spare parts,
Or viewed as merely vermin
By some cold, Satanic glaze,
The sneered-at, the despised ones, who crawl with broken hearts:
Let their cry go up to Heaven.

Let their cry go up to Heaven!
Strip our ears
From the self-talk of our comfort,
Our cotton wool pretences,
The Machiavellian melodies
That politics sings loud.
Let us kneel down in the dust
And join our tears to theirs!
Let their cry go up to Heaven!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

All is well


Emptied within the night, and the soft rain falling.
Lean back against the wind, feel the tendrils blowing,
And whisper, in the darkness, “All is well.”

Gentle, my heart, my heart, feel the glow of sunset
Warm in your deepest places. Do not fear the stars.
They are heralds of becoming. All is well.

Let the grass speak to you, it has borne all weathers.
Or be strong as the blossom, unafraid of fragile,
Dying to bring forth fruit; and all is well.

Lift up your face, drink of the light. Its promise
Sings over clouds, bedecking them with rare beauty.
Welcome both sun and shadow. All is well.

Hurricanes hurl you, and the wild torrents toss you,
Still he walks on the water, walks towards you,
And he is all your stillness. All is well.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Incomplete

I am poet without a poem
Song without any voice.
Breath breathing out and in
In stillness I rejoice.

I am feet without a path,
Prayer whose hands can’t clasp.
Whispering I cannot shout
That which I scarcely grasp.

I am tears in eyes too dry,
Laughter without a sound.
Yet, though I scarcely walk,
I go the whole world round.

I am the might-have-been.
I am the yet-to-be;
Waiting to be complete,
Tuned to Christ’s harmony

Saturday, September 29, 2018

And the sun shall warm them


And the sun shall warm them,
And the cold of night embrace them
Down to the very bones,
The skittering, chittering skeleton,
Of whom we have no fear.

And the grass shall grow, wild and free,
And the mountains stand in all their solemn majesty;
While the small streams laugh at their folly
And the birds sing
A tune for every hour:
And everywhere a holy place
Under a sheltering sky.

Let us be unafraid
Of the burden of mortality:
The fading and the slowing,
And the terror of the dark.
For we are held and carried
By one who went before us,
Who bears us in his palm prints
And never lost one yet.

And beyond is only love

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Birthing dreams


Beyond the futile dream, reality
Breaks through the mist, sword-sharp, and spear-tip bright.
Life with hard edges knocks against the soft
Of hope unfounded on the solid light.

A dream is not enough, unless we wake
Still holding fast, and bear it into day,
And plant it in this bitter, frost-bound earth,
And let the burning sunshine have its way.

And water it with tears, such tears as fall
From the deep sorrow of all that we are,
The toil of laboured hearts, till sweet-winged grace
Purges the stones and rips apart the scar

Of all our digging. Then the fresh-turned earth
Sings a new song, a melody of light;
And dreams become our wings, and raise us up
To shine into a world that’s steeped in night.