Archives for the month of: October, 2014


I found this echidna up a mountain in Gariwerd (the Grampians) on my retreat last week. It was the only picture I took as I relished the chance to be away from the usual technology. But this post is not about animals, it is about fruits – specifically, olives and nard. I wrote these two poems after a fascinating reading of the gospels through ecological lenses, with our wonderful retreat director, Veronica Lawson RSM.

A Neighbour in Service

I am crushed / to the heart.
Beautiful, aromatic, sweet,
my essence streams away from me,
poured out as libation
to mercy.
I keep / for the time being
as all who wait on God’s promises,
as all who strain to hear
the whisper of a call
and flex slightly,
a promise to keep.
I travel / through new horizons,
vigilant with my partners
in the crime of mercy.
We see / a break.
It is an interruption,
an anomaly
in the fabric woven of our desire
for harmony
and the life that gushes eternally.
It is my moment / now.
The call whispers, tendril-like
around my guard of common-sense
to propose a toast to infinity,
a taste of the garden of paradise
and the certainty
of who I’m meant to be.
And so I am / the libation
poured out
in mercy, by mercy, for mercy.
And I am received
in gratitude
by the screeching scars.
As I flow / in dissipation –
traces kept by sore, to store,
most in the proud rubble neighbour –
I remember my source,
the belief of my parent.
My mentor, who planted in
me the seed
of the triumph
of being a sacrifice
of mercy
and who sent me to be crushed,
all the more to partner
that good, compassionate man.

(Luke 10:25-37)

The Cost of Remembrance

I have always been a risk;
hard to get and tempting.
Kings and courtiers know my name,
as I keep far from the lowly ones,
until their deaths.
Although I love to dance
in the warm sunlight
and stretch to tantalise
the nostrils,
I am more often kept,
afraid in the dark,
afraid to be spilled and wasted.
And so I sang my lonely song
until the She-who-would-do
came along.
And she carried me resolutely,
like one who knew freedom,
like one in step with the fuse of a bomb,
like one walking from a funeral into a birthing-room.
And then she stopped.
I shivered once
and waited
for the glorious, raucous, outrageous
shattering of the jar around me.
I tiptoed out, unsure,

and bolder then,
I let pour and pour
like pure surrender
I drained myself until there
was nothing more.
Over, through, under, around,
I caressed His head,
I let flow through His beard
with a sweet massage
and, in my gaseous form,
swam through His nose.
It was all part of the risk.
I knew what this woman needed from me.
My instinct for healing,
my bold proclamation of royalty,
my rising prayer in death.
And so my drops were tears
and so my voice sang of good news,
news that rose beyond death
to silent life.
And for She-who-had-done
I covered Him in love,
washing away the sense of
and preparing Him
to die.

(Mark 14:3-9)



Next week is Anti-Poverty Week and today I was amazed to hear that Australia has come out at the very top of Credit Suisse’s world rich list on wealth per person for the past two years running. We have so much, yet we (at least, at the government level) share so little with the disadvantaged both in our own country and overseas. I do hear that personally, Australians are very generous towards charities, but there is a mentality that solving poverty is someone else’s business. Where now is the Christian call to “bring good news to the poor”? Can we also bring news of relief from poverty? I wrote this in 2009, finding that we are all culpable in one way or another.

Someone Else’s Saviour

When resigned corporations
think that money turns the world
we fear
there’s enough to share it ’round.

When rice-fields, mine-fields, grave-fields
bury freedom underground
we pray
there’s enough to share it ’round.

When eking out a living
leaves no room for them to speak
we dream
there’s enough to share it ’round.

When tangled in this messy net
of interdependent responsibility
we feel
there’s enough to share it ’round.

When real stories shock and shame us
and we look into their eyes
we sense
there’s enough to share it ’round.

When the echoes of their voices still
haunt us in the market
we guess
there’s enough to share it ’round.

When burnt-out lives leave ashes
on our doorsteps
we regret
there’s enough to share it ’round.

Well, it’s too late, mate,
but the researcher has found:
we know
there’s enough to share it ’round.