Archives for the month of: July, 2014

Today is the feast of St James and we had the gospel reading about him and his brother wanting to sit on either side of Jesus in his kingdom. I have always felt a bit of affinity to these two brothers – at least they were honest about their ambition and selfish dreams!

So I have dug up a few poems on this theme. The first is from 2013, the second from 2009.

 

Self

Source of all my doting,
shall I look past you to the
underfed wisdom trapped at the horizon?
Shall you, little life,
be pleased to give way to the
freedom in a dangerous liaison
with what lurks beyond?
Oh, far beyond you is
what is most close, what only
exists to swell this heart,
to bring you undiluted joy
and pain. But though I think
I love you, my clinging hold
refuses this breach of the jail cell,
this cleansing bush fire,
this feeding of the sapling,
growing to encompass the whole of the universe.
This lust I have to love
only you, it strangles,
slow source of seductive suffering.
This is not love.
This is fear.
This is grasping what’s meant to be launched –
you face towards freedom, year on year.

 

Virus Undetected

Insidious, this…
seeking praise,
defending territory –
a virus in the system dodges our gaze.

Turning from God
to be needed
by the mirage
that good works have superseded.

Ambition, yes…
and stealing the light;
thunder of applause
is more sweet than the brownie working by night.

Explaining away
any defect;
what utter shame
should the truth-revealer decide to interject.

Insidious, this…
climbing the ranks
when the gospel points
to the only one who truly deserves our thanks.

 

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Today was a pretty quiet, ordinary day. In the middle of Ordinary Time. Back in 2008 I wrote this one…

 

Ordinary Time

When life plods along with aching knees, hunched back and drooping head,

when I forget to look at the scenery

and concentrate, pebble by pebble,

on the ground beneath my feet –

changing at a painfully slow pace.

When life’s data gets so boring that I no longer care,

when, day in, day out,

each day seems to come straight from the photocopier,

I feel that not even one word is new

and happy pages look just like the rest.

When meaning fails to greet me in the morning,

when purpose and passion go on holiday

and confusion sits around the table

with the Absence

of meaning, purpose and passion

and, together, we make a dull party.

When in these times

I am recoiling from the shouts of Ordinary,

I faintly hear a whisper in my ear:

“Be still and know that I am God.”

And this whisper grows louder

and louder

and louder

until I can not distinguish the shouts from those of Ordinary.

And I know

that they are one.

The confidence of the Ordinary is the confidence of God.

And if I listen well

I hear

God transforming the Ordinary

to the Extra-ordinary.

The rowdy shouts are becoming a triumphant song.

It sings of God’s presence

and nothing around me changes

except my perspective of it.

When life plods along,

God gives me thanks

that I don’t have to run,

or stop, uncertain,

but as I plod,

I can look up and enjoy the view.

When life’s data all looks the same,

God gives me thanks

that my pages aren’t black with crisis

or blank with amnesia,

but that I can enjoy

these words of calm.

When meaning, purpose and passion have gone,

God gives me thanks

that I can welcome the humility and childlikeness

of confusion

so that, once again,

I can run with open arms and mind

to God

who simply wants me to recognise

God’s presence

in this song of Ordinary

and to join in

through this magical time

to sing together.

 

Have been pondering on the meaning of the complex word we use ‘Trinity’. I wrote these three poems in 2010, expressing some of the questions, thoughts and ideas I am still considering.

 

Trilogy

i

Ah! My scribe.
Of course, you
must see that none
of this is real.
I do not talk.
I have no lips,
no tongue,
no throat.
I don’t even think.
No, how could I?
A brain, have I?
Or nerves?
Or blood?
In fact, all your
thinking beats me.
You have your reasons
for everything.
I just am.
Or am not.

Do you mind?
I do not have one.
Nor do I have wants.
Not like you. You think you
know. I have no knowledge.

ii

What is greater than one and smaller than the infinite?
A hole is torn in space.
How can all of eternity fit into a minute?
The unembodied’s face.

Though fraught through and through with divine impersonality,
a character appears,
evading comprehension yet clutching reality,
all that humanness fears.

One doubts if sign-language was never not misunderstood,
truth, love, paradise lost.
But if, then, a cast is moulded for our concept of good
and, prepared for the cost,

that one might expose the inconceivable, invisible,
true magic, under-priced,
and then splitting the atom once thought indivisible,
arrives present the Christ.

iii

Spirit is a subtle theme
we grow with.
At first a crisp history,
it blurs into mystery;
and life, myth.

In the end does it matter,
all these words?
We can know love through a kiss;
melodiousness, is this
not in birds?

Particular, today’s beauty
in the sun.
Here in this heart is a pain;
here, God revealed, and/or slain
in the Son.

postscript

Of course, a trilogy
can’t be split into four.
No – all estimation,
vague imagination:
a void to the core.

 

Perichoresis

If you, God, are relationship,
then why am I so scared?
Why does my heart recoil from love,
why is my giving spared?

If you, my God, need each of three,
then why am I alone?
Why is my heart still in one piece,
why is my soul unknown?

If you, my God, are truly one,
then why do I hold back?
Why do I label ‘better’,
why do I presume lack?

If you, my God, invite me in,
then why do I still see
a Trinity of love in you,
but not one within me?

 

Word Limit

Love in three dimensions,
Father, Son
and Spirit mystery tensions
in the One.

Maker, Liberator,
Parent, Child.
Sustainer and Creator,
wild and mild.

Eternal Wisdom knowing,
Mother, Daughter.
Fountain, ever-flowing,
Living Water.

Source of all that will be,
Only Wise.
Yet an earthling, still He
lives and dies.

Image, truly showing,
Holy Birth.
Air and water flowing,
fire and earth.

Holy Unbegotten,
not forgot.
Never unforgotten,
but Begot.

Lover and Beloved
and their Love:
once, in form discovered
as a dove.

Spirating or proceeding,
Voice Unheard.
Logos here is bleeding,
Living Word.

Presence and the Power,
Shekinah.
Alpha and Omega,
near and far.

Beyond our limitations,
good or bad.
Persons in relations,
Abba, Dad.

Feminine Sophia,
Caring Womb.
Holy Prophet, seer,
crib and tomb.

Circumnavigation,
Truthful Sea.
Riot, celebration,
Harmony.

Perichōrētic heaving,
round about.
Encompassing and weaving
in and out.

Family in reunion,
agapē of friends.
Mutual communion
never ends.

Words can play a game,
a Trinity too few.
And God, by any other name,
is not untrue.