Archives for category: Reflections

The Advent Time

Grass crackling dry like tinsel
and mozzies singing their carol-like tunes.
This is the season we have been waiting for,
counting off the suns and moons.
Expectation hangs like pregnant air
and plans go flying, calendars fill.
Even the atheist shopper knows
that the world is holding its breath until
the clanging of a baby’s cry matches the bells
and it’s time to be loving, giving and true,
as from splashes of red and green emerge
the purple hope of a life that’s new.
And we’ve only to notice the promise of joy
if we doubt that God could visit the earth.
As we blur in the rush and parch in the heat,
for one heartbeat away from Advent, His birth.

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YCW retreat

On my (metaphorical) knees

Apart from piled-up platitudes, space is peppered;
more than words, it is the stance I take on a precipice.
Wrapped around ruminations, rough and rude errs to real;
when life breaks in, I sigh, but is it gone?
Are attitudes passable? Acts are always framed
in my relationship with the one to whom they are directed.
Years of yielding petty frayed not yets, to cry in humility,
yet a lifetime on my knees leaves me vulnerable.
Tests are early endings, shame, bleeding and death,
though every moment it waits to break into life.
Returning to interruptions, reaped from boredom and repetition;
I crave it, forget it, it pierces me through.

Today marks the start of Lent – Ash Wednesday. I had a few comments at my circus class this afternoon, “Is that a mark on your forehead?” “You’ve got something there!” “I rubbed mine off as soon as I got it.” The mark of ashes is a reminder about what this season is shaping up to be: a public call, a public brand. This is our life – and Lent is a time of spiritual preparation for Easter. I wrote this poem for Lent two years ago.

Lent is In

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Down the trendy Op Shop
and the chants of children
in classes:
“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”
There are piles of other ‘re’ words
and they all apply.
The green season
– but violet is the new green –
when it is cool to be eco-friendly.
In the latest top tips for health and wellbeing –
refresh, rejuvenate,
rejoin the reason for being here at all.
Relight the flame that has gone out.
Rejoice and return
to find Him exactly where we last left Him,
struggling to the cross-
roads of busy city streets
where all have blank looks
and “BUY!” written in their electric-powered eyes.
Remember, reground us in the earth.
Let us join the tree-huggers
and deadline-less surfies
and medicine-free remedies.
I won’t even mention retreat, that goes without saying.
Renew, redeem the silence
from the noise
and the luxury
from what you cannot buy.
Receive the vegetarian Fridays.
Repose, relax, replace our worries
with prayers.
And, most of all,
repent
for the way this trashed-up planet looks,
for the scars left on every soul,
for our refuse not yet released.
Lent is In.

Apart from piled-up platitudes, space is peppered;
more than words, it is the stance I take on a precipice.
Wrapped around ruminations, rough and rude errs to real;
when life breaks in, I sigh, but is it gone?
Are attitudes passable? Acts are always framed
in my relationship with the one to whom they are directed.
Years of yielding petty frayed not yets, to cry in humility,
yet a lifetime on my knees leaves me vulnerable.
Tests are early endings, shame, bleeding and death,
though every moment it waits to break into life.
Returning to interruptions, reaped from boredom and repetition;
I crave it, forget it, it pierces me through.

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.

 

A few months ago I wrote this poem. It seems to fit today’s reading very well: “It is easier for a camel to go  through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God…But for God all things are possible.” Mat 19:24,26

What does all our wealth, even wisdom and advice, matter at that point in life?

The Rich Man Who Got Old

Blue heelers make good pets;
they care, and raise us all
to the pitch of a bark.
When onions are full grown
I’ve heard it’s best to hang
them to keep in stockings.
I browse the DVDs,
turn away, drunk instead
on sweet reality.
The lawnmower just needs
a bit of oil on wheels
spun ripe for the munching.
The full moon just come up,
red, hooks me into now –
a space I don’t dare leave.
When the heater is on,
don’t leave the door open
for cold to wander in.
Work and play is balance
I have not learned but ask,
“Can you both play and work?”

Blue moons bark at a bit
of oil in stockings, drip,
one sweet at a time.
Now not reality,
that came too late, hook
to wander in a bark.
Play and work, pet, instead
I’m drunk on what, forget
name and don’t you dare leave.
Don’t open on wheels, hang
it up, advice, munching
ripe for the space of full.
Stockings of DVDs
at Christmas no onions
keep lawnmowers away.
But ask, “What is this life
now I am leaving it?
What still glitters, cold, now?”