Monday, December 07, 2020


I sit in darkness in the brilliant sun

Deep in the shadows of an ancient fear

And I shall taste its bitter, salty cold

Till you are here.


All of mortality sits in each breath,

I cut myself on every broken thing

And wonder that my soul has life to bleed

Or nerves to sting.


How does this desert squeeze out frozen tears,

While my whole self is tensioned into prayer?

 I raise a candle in my inmost heart

Till you are there.


Still mercy holds and weaves each shaking strand

Into a cloak to wrap my fearful heart

A place of safety till this wait is done,

No more apart. 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Suddenly Spring


Suddenly spring –

Sing like the birds of promise!

Lunatic angels, revel with new-found hope,

As soft as under-feathers,

Yet as sure

As little beaks that drink from gurgling streams!


Suddenly spring –

Sun, be no more a strange!

Flirt with the breezes, laugh with the ever-sky!

Hold fast to empty air, and find it lifts you

Above the doldrums of a deadened sea.


Suddenly spring –

Flowers remember music,

Bending each perfect petal in a curve,

Chattering songs as old and new as morning,

While bitterness departs into the gloom.


Suddenly spring –

Taste, o my soul, the perfume:

Symphonic jasmine cascading delight

Into our blossomed senses, our skin yearning,

For the bare warmth of air, sweet in its tasting.


Suddenly spring –

This is the dance of ages,

Stepped out afresh, even age does not weary.

Tumbling with laughter, we are become as children.

Suddenly spring.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Prayer for Today (3/6/20)

Holy Word of God, be our breathing.
Rock of ages, be our anchor point.
May mercy infuse us,
Grace reclaim us,
And may justice flow like a mighty river.

Teach us to listen to you, and to one another.
Open our ears to the stories of the least,
And the tears of the exhausted,
And the whispers of the fearful.
Open our eyes and our hearts, and teach our hands to do righteousness;
And may your cross point out to us the road to peace.

Monday, June 01, 2020

I will sit and listen

I will sit and listen
You do not need my words to speak your pain.
Who am I to commandeer
A place I have not been?
Who am I to appropriate
A path I have not walked?
Who am I to presume
To make this about me?

Your words are strong words
Etched deep by the acid of corroding grief,
Scored upon hearts and bodies
By wounds with too-long history.
Let me listen
Let me learn
Till I can earn the right to weep with you,
Acknowledging my privilege
Even as I claim equality
(A claim you have rights to scoff.)

Let me learn from your anger,
Born of too-long patience,
Needing a Samson
To topple down the pillars
Of all that imprisons you.
Show me where I take away your power.
As I sit and learn,
Let us breathe together
The promises of justice.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Mercy Flows

Mercy flows
Down through the streams of earth;
Mercy flows
Through the warp and weft of our being
Through our breathing
Our breathing in and out.
Mercy flows
Through our laughter,
Brittle as crystal,
Robust as flesh
(Hearts that can break and heal,
Hearts that replenish)
And through our tears
(Acid or clear pure water).
Mercy flows
Through touch that is reverent, gentle,
Touch that is holy,
Touch that touches us
Down in the secret places.
Mercy flows
Through words grace-chosen
Shaped with a jeweller’s care
For precision healing,
Gentle as mercy’s self.
Mercy flows
From the stars in icy glory,
The life-burn of the sun,
White-opal moon,
And shadows under trees.
Mercy flows
From mercy’s self,
Holding all aspirations
In one transcendent love.
Mercy flows
From mercy unto mercy
Breaking us,
In order to replenish and to heal.
Mercy flows.

Monday, May 18, 2020


The door is standing open,
Come, Holy Spirit come!
Bread of my heart here broken
For you, and locks undone.

Here, in the chrismed silence,
I wait your slightest word
To silence my heart’s chatter
(Profundities absurd.)

These bones that creak their dryness:
Bid them arise and sing,
Sing of the love that made them,
Blessing through everything.

Undo my false assumptions,
Shatter timidity,
Weave ragged threads with mercy
Until I can stand free.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

O Let us Sing of Turtles

O let us sing of turtles
That flourish in the deep
And rise like ships of wonder,
Bring joy-dreams to our sleep.

O let us sing of turtles
With wisdom in their beak
Complete within their silence
Amazing if they speak.

O let us sing of turtles
O let us dance and sing
And open up our living hearts
To joy in everything.

O let us sing of turtles
Who glide green through the sea
For they have added magic
To the world of you and me.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Chaos theory

They say,
(Or so I am told)
That the tiny flapping
Of the wings of a butterfly,
Somewhere in the Amazon,
Leads to the mighty chaos
Of a wild tornado.

But when I see a butterfly
Move like a blossom’s heartbeat
I see all chaos
Resolved into a moment’s beauty,
Light quivering.

Monday, May 04, 2020

The Rejected

She pulled her old coat tighter around her as she stood there in the bitter rain. Through the window, misted with rain and her breath, she could see them inside, warm and dry, seated at long tables laden with food and drink. She so badly wanted to be inside, but she did not dare. She remembered the times she had tried before, different rooms but the same sort of scene. She had stood there, forlorn, alongside the diners, but they had crowded up together and refused to make room for her. Once or twice, in those painful memories, she had dared to take a vacant seat, unnoticed until she reached out for food. Then they had turned on her. Who did she think that she was? What made her imagine she had any right to be there? She had no answers, and under their onslaught she had retreated outside where only the darkness could see her tears.

Why would it be any different this time? But she had to try, she was so, so hungry! Her wet, trembling fingers could hardly turn the door knob, but desperation drove her. Timidly she crept into the room and stood against the wall, taking in the scene. At least it wasn't raining here, but as she looked at these warm, well-dressed people, she realised how bedraggled and unkempt she looked by comparison. Who would want to sit next to her? At the nearer end of the room there was a table with several empty seats. If she sat down at the end, surely no one would mind? At least she could rest her legs, and there would be just a little food within reach.

But just as she reached that forgotten seat, there was a commotion at the other end of the table. A man was rising from his place and walking towards her. Was she going to be thrown out again?. But no, he was smiling at her like no one had ever smiled at her before. "Come with me," he said, "you belong up here." Too astonished to protest, she let him take her by the arm and lead her to the seat next to his own. Only then did she notice that his chair was a throne. And as she sat down beside him, he tenderly reached across and wiped the tears from her eyes. 

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

COVID at Easter

This is an Easter like no other!
We cower, solitary,
Without fellowship or celebration,
With fear and grief in too many eyes.

Remember the first one?
They cowered too,
Quarantined in the upper room,
Afraid for their lives,
Afraid of being targets,
For the viral hatred of the day;
Feeling hope drip helplessly through their fingers
Like a broken egg,
Making a mess of their hideout,
Without any expectation
This loss could be restored.
Until they heard a rumour,
Too amazing to believe,
That the world had changed forever

Are we so different then?
Is our faith greater than theirs?
Do we live in holy expectation
While we flounder in our fears?
Remembering death is dead,
Do we take hold of hope’s coattails,
Or paralyse our grasp?
Do we let salvation penetrate
The heart’s cold corners?
Do we still sing hymns of wonder
When our voices rasp?

He who hung in darkness
When the midday sun was gone
Is the light of all the world
And of our darkness too.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Cleansing the temple

He comes to overturn
The tables of our dealing,
With ruthless, ruthless grace
Devoid of proper feeling.

He comes to strike undone
Our comfy compromises,
Allowance for the times,
And cunning mind-devices.

He comes to manifest
This kingdom of his Being;
To rip our blinkers off
And show us what we’re seeing.

He comes to challenge all
Our easy ways of living;
Call us to costly love
And drown us with forgiving.

He comes to liberate
From all false sacrifice.
The love, his love, is free,
And his the given life.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Palm Sunday, 2020

The streets are strangely silent.
No crowds now,
One solitary walker passes by,
And no hosannas split the air.

We don’t expect a rider down the road,
Except, in nightmares,
One on a pale horse,
And fear and loneliness wage silent war
Beneath the screeching of the cockatoos,
And the strange magic of the magpies’ call.

It is not the season now for resurrections.
This autumn draws us in with gloomy arms,
And whispers, tantalising,
“Do you have ...

I have the birdsong, I have the grass,
Green from the blessed, sweet, restoring rain.
And I have shelter, clothing,
I have food.

And I have mercy’s benison each day,
And joy because a king once rode for me
Into the streets of far Jerusalem,
And he rode further on,
Right on to death,
To that strait place where no one walks with us,
The bitter isolation of the tomb,
And flung it wider than a city’s gate.

Therefore, it matters not if no crowds shout,
Or if our Lenten season is prolonged,
Or if we walk on silent, empty paths,
Or if we stand apart, wider than breath,
And cannot mingle in our Easter songs.

The cross he rode to holds all time and space,
And every shattered hope, and every tear
And every aching for the skin’s embrace,
And every stuttered prayer, and every sin,
And every broken moment of our lives,
And every shame and terror, every doubt,
He carried them all with him and atoned.

And, though the streets lie silent under cloud,
For him with ears to hear, the stones cry out.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

This is the time

This is the time of silence,
The in-spinning,
When leaves fall quietly,
Turned into a carpet
By some internal breeze.

This is the time of no-time,
The unravelling
Of busy obligations;
Should and oughts
Are shed away
To fall down like the leaves.

This is the time of waiting
Of ingathering
To brush off dusty,
Half-forgotten harvests,
And find the golden wheat
That lies there still.

This is the time of cherishing,
Of remembering
Moments of Midas’ touch
That turned to gold
The ordinary things
Of everyday,

This is the time of praying
Of re-learning
The simple gratitude for common things,
For little stones,
For weeds that grow in streets,
For love that has no measure
And no end.

This is the time of knowing
In unknowing,
Holding the present moment
In both hands,
Because it is the only thing we have
Or ever did.

This is the time for resting
For back-leaning
Into the arms of him who carries us
Through all the years of our mortality,
To birth in us
More glory than we dream.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

This little ship

This little ship must sail, it must go forth
From the familiar harbour to the lonely sea
Committed to the rhythm of the waves
The long, heartbreaking, crying of the gulls
The churning of the waters.

This little ship must say farewell to shore
Must leave behind the view of soft green hills
The peaceful ebb and flowing of the tides
The laughter of the children on the shore
The safety of its rope.

This little ship must bear its cargo forth
Not knowing if its freight has any worth
But facing down the sea-wrack and the storm
And here be dragons in uncharted places
Alone beneath the stars.

Monday, February 03, 2020

The Knowing is the Peace

Grant me the peace of knowing

For the knowing is the peace
The understanding
That all things come home to your hands,
And that you hold them
Safe in eternal being,
Safe in love
Where the love and the being are one.

Here, a scent of flowers
Drifts to the sense
And memory, soft, awakens
Past the rub and the nub of things
To the heart that is waiting, waiting,
In the touch and the breath of its springtime,
Though we walk through all seasons and years.

Time is heavy, heavy,
And mortal shoulders droop,
Done down in the burden of being
Where love feels a little like drowning
And the birdsongs retreat into silence
That falls like the twilight of life
As harsh as the clashing of stones.

Only love can carry
Through the loneliness of our breathing
To the peace on the other side,
Where hope has wings,
And the kiss and the promise are one,
And the peace is forever.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Today i grieve ..

Today I grieve for beauty gone
For loveliness made desolate:
All gone, and only ash remains
With bitterness to desecrate.

No trees to rise in majesty
And build a haven sweet and green,
No ferns, no grass, no bushes left
Where little creatures rest unseen.

No bellbirds chime, no whipbirds call,
No little streams go whisp’ring by,
No magpies echo through the leaves,
No kookaburras joyous cry.

No gentle, solemn sanctuary
Where we breathe in creation’s breath,
But just a black and dreadful waste
The acrid, weary land of death.

We grieve with prayer, we sow with tears
And bowed by horror, wear the pain,
And wait still for the miracle:
The blessed benison of rain.

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Learning ...

We sit together
In a darkened cave,
Raising up our lanterns
To shine
On one another’s faces.

We leave the sheltered waters
And set forth,
Defying wind and current
On the sulky seas,
To steer true to our star.

We still ourselves to listen
To the song and to the silence,
Hushing our chatter
Until we hear
Whispers of broken hearts.

We love as the wind loves,
Moving mountains of air
Across continents
So that a breeze might caress
One tear-stained face.

We take off our blindfolds
With slow and trembling fingers,
Facing our terror
Of our own nakedness
Until we see glory.