Sunday, March 31, 2019

I shall not listen now

I shall not listen now
To the old song of my neediness,
That croaks along, slightly off-key.
There is so much better music:
The merriment of water,
The thousand whispers of the wind,
The beat of human hearts,
Syncopated laughter,
Susurrating leaves
The cold melody of moonlight.

But beneath
Even these
There sounds
A love song
So piercing
It breaks my heart
For all eternity:
That heartbreak that is gladder
Than the fiercest joy,
And holds all things entire.

Monday, March 18, 2019

A Long Way from "Kansas"

We’re a long way from "Kansas" right now,
And the fruit has long gone from the vine,
The water is bitter with dust
And there is no sweet, heady wine.

The loaf on the table is plain
But this is our own journey-bread;
As strong as the flesh that once died,
And then was raised up from the dead.

No carnival flaunting is here
No flags wave, no trumpets shall sound
We walk a strange path through the air
And find that we tread solid ground.

No fiction of fanfares, no feast,
The heart strangely miracle-blind;
And yet, as we hold to his hand,
All fullness, all solace we find.

We sing a new song day by day,
A song which the angels can’t learn
For theirs are the wings and the light
And ours are the salt tears that burn.

But we know the measureless grace
Which carries us right to the end:
We stumble, we falter, we fall,
Yet he is already amen.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Christchurch Shooting

Our brothers and sisters,
Our cousins and our friends,
We stand beside in the sorrow and the horror,
We sit beside the waters of Babylon,
And weep again
And weep again with you.

All history seeps with blood
From innocent Abel
To the latest ones,
Butchered in a place of peace,
And the shots ring out a challenge to our tears,
But the tears are greater,
Every tear a prayer.

We stand, we sit, we kneel,
We walk with you,
Through the darkness and the horror,
Carrying a light,
The only light we have
It is for you,
And the darkness shall never defeat it.

Hatred wears a thousand faces
Love wears one
Crowned with thorns for now, but finally,
The only victory.

Let us walk together

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Mid March

Mid March
And the new-crisp apples
Sing in the shops
The summer heat still lingers,
But the reeds in the ponds are browning
And the dragonflies
Forget their summer languor.

Mid March
And the skies are blue,
So blue
You could lose yourself forever into blueness.
The Japanese maple
Is sending its leaves, forthwith,
Into early retirement.
The world breathes in
And out.

Mid March.
And the workaday world looks back to the holiday season
And feet submit to stiffer shoes again.
Mornings are darker now,
And some kookaburra
Laughs, far too early, at our human folly.
The Lenten season coils around our hearts
All we see is autumn’s bounty
And nights grown cool enough to sleep again.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

On Saying the Creed

I believe …
And believing,
I stand together with the company of saints
Knit together, woven by his grace,
Across centuries and continents.

I stand with the martyrs
Of every generation;
The ones who strode,
And the ones who fumbled.
I stand with the clear-eyed,
Theologians and philosophers,
Who gazed into the deep places
And saw more than their own reflection;
And with those who could only mumble hopefully,
Choosing to believe that the mystery was real.

I stand with those who argued deeply,
Trying to decipher how it works,
Sometimes forgetting this, their common ground;
And with those who would rather reach out dusty hands
For the work that must be done.
I stand with the loved and the unloved,
The feeble and the fainting,
The highly valued and the overlooked,
All borne to the same shore.

They all crowd together,
Every nation, every language,
Linked in a mighty shout
That neither death nor hell can silence,
The word that undoes man’s kingdoms:
I believe …

We understand
As our frail crafts spin on roaring seas of doubt,
Tossed by the world’s winds’ sneering,
Our masts bent to a question mark,
That a nail-scarred hand holds the tiller,
And he shall steer us home.

Yes, I believe!

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Ash Wednesday 2019

Down the feathers fall
Petals drift lazy with no wind to stir
And we hear again the silence under chatter.

Was it for this he came,
To the stringent places
Straightjacket of the heart
More sere and lonely than the curlew’s call?

Was it for this he came,
Down beyond our measure
Feeling the air grow thick,
And tasting death all the way?

Was it for this he came,
For stuttered hymns
From dry, bruised lips;
Why would he choose our pale, dead words
Above the angels’ alleluias?

Was it for this he came
To the straitened place and time
The wilderness of wanting,
He who had nothing to repent?

Was it for this he came,
Was it for me;
The passion and the agony
That these dry bones might live?

When love became a solid thing
The earth could not bear his weight.

Friday, March 01, 2019

The Preacher

I have been poured like water,
My words gush forth like wine
Till the heart is sere and bloodless,
And my tears are pickling brine.

I breathe air thin and daunting
A higher altitude
As I strain my understanding
And my vision is renewed.

This is my price-of-paying
Hid from the eyes of all,
Love’s thorns pressed on my forehead,
Till my pride tastes like gall.

Not with the easy answers
Not with the slick reply;
Down like a rock in the ocean,
Never to come up dry.

Straight past the shallow places
Down to the beating heart,
Where a seabed like Procrustes’
Reshapes my every part.

Then, with lips blue and stumbling,
How shall speak the way
To that place I have no name for,
Where love burns bright as day?

Yet I rejoice to be there
Assumptions all unmade
By his scarred hand held tightly:
Broken yet unafraid