Saturday, 19 December 2015


The nave is fields of flowers,
the aisles are snow and forest trees,
the transept is rippling wind on grass,
the altar rivers, tides and seas,
the stairwells are mighty mountains
leading to the attic sky
and music effortlessly resounds
from wave, bird, storm and soft wind's sigh.
The floating dome is decorated
with endlessly changing hue
of billowing white, scudding grey,
or deep ethereal blue,
and fleetingly in east and west
comes a stained-glass blaze of light,
after which the dome transforms
into star-studded velvet night.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Meditations on Suffering. 2. War

Vastly beyond individual sorrow,
this nightmarish beast
opens its giant maw, flares it nostrils
and creakingly rumbles, seeking
fresh blood on which to feast,
venting as it goes a putrid, reeking stench
from flattened cities, widow's tears,
mud, barbed wire, crater holes, shells, gas, trench,
killing and crippling down the tangled, twisted years-
unceasingly rapacious, insatiable,
pitiless, blood soaked, impervious to pain,
destroying that which it seeks to gain,
always howling and lusting for more
is this insatiable monster, War

Monday, 7 December 2015

Unnoticed Come Inside.

When grim old Mr Sorrow
unsuspectingly comes to town,
his suitcase filled with pain and grief,
wearing his mournful, heavy frown,

rapping with his leaden stick
on the front door to come in,
then spilling all through house
his pain, sorrow and suffering,

there is no holding him back.
It is futile to bid him leave.
He must come in and the heart
must sorrow, lament or grieve.

Notice though how in thoughtless haste
he leaves the front door open wide
and Hope, Compassion and Empathy
silently and unnoticed come inside,

and sit in patience waiting
for old Sorrow to tire or depart,
so that they can begin to strengthen
the heavily laden, grieving heart,

and when Sorrow will not leave
they still remain quietly in the room,
growing the tender heart in the midst
of suffering's pain and gloom

and though hearts can surely break
or darkly distort in bitterness,
from pain and loss the heart can develop
its sweet, empathetic tenderness

and the heart that is too protected,
wrapped in too cloistered a cocoon,
is a heart denied the opportunity
for beautiful things to blossom and bloom.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

There Came a Lilting Wind

Through the window on the wind
came a lilting voice
whispering sweetly through the room
to listen and rejoice.

I hear it murmur as I walk
in the dawn's soft pastel hue
and from the quivering grass
whisper in the fragile dew.

I hear it in the blue of day,
from the descending sun
and in the diamond points of stars
when day's mighty course is run.

I hear it whisper from the sea,
from the vast blue ocean's roar,
in and through the mighty rumble
of waves pounding upon the shore,

from the sea's deep canyons,
from inside the womb,
from the twisted helix of DNA
and rainforest's tangled gloom,

from birds that fly and sing,
from the springbok's speed and bound,
from ant and lion and dragonfly
I hear that self-same sound.

It's in the river, rain and cloud,
the wind and sun upon the sea,
whispering in a mighty voice
of one great sustained unity.

I hear the whisper murmur
earth is one vast intricate temple
in which in privileged wonder
I for a moment dwell,

not for digging holes,
or covetous greed and inequality,
nor the relentless brutality of war
or hardness against the refugee,

nor in the ignorance of pride,
or smug, self righteous vanity,
nor in oppression of the vulnerable
but desiring a unity

beyond our need for quantification
and cause, effect and explanation,
beyond the all too human horrors
of violence, greed and exploitation,

I listen to the whispering voice
in gentleness, praise and quiet devotion,
accepting that this temple time is
for love, peace and transformation.


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Hymn of Praise

Within the hidden silence of the womb
the foetus quietly grows,
cells dividing to variously become
eyes, ears, fingers, nails, toes,
soft bone, beating heart, brain and lung,
one of many miracles on earth-
the bringing of sentient life to birth.

From the flower comes the seed
that drops upon the forest floor:
humble, small, dull of colour
but carrying in its tiny core
tales of roots, trunk, flowers and leaves
from which even the sequoia can soar.

The fresh rain that waters the earth
in storm, drizzle or gentle shower
the sun has lifted from the sea
and suspended by its mighty power
in vaporous air or condensing cloud
until, in ceaseless, cyclical motion,
in rivers it returns to the great salt ocean.

I sense a power behind the rain,
a hand drawing plants from the ground,
a mind behind the light of the womb
forming this earth where miracles abound,
and before this greatness I bow my knees
in gratitude for life, beauty and love
and in awed and silent wonder
lifting my eyes to the sky above,
request that this life of mine can raise
in acts of learning, love and thankfulness
my own small humble hymn of praise.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Faces of Faith

There are many ugly faces of faith
for all the world to see-
black garbed murderers with hearts of hate,
cruel minds carrying faggots to the fire,
complacently unlovely self-elected ones,
the self congratulatory proud,
those quick to judge, scorn and condemn
whilst turning their backs on those in need,
abusive shepherds feasting on their flocks,
the sourly ascetic,
the argumentative and blindly ignorant
claiming the keys to truth-
too many with hearts obdurately hard
hiding behind a self-righteous facade.

Yet I have read of faces of faith
with a strange, unique beauty-

the harlot who dared invade
a Pharisee's rich feast
to sob at the feet of the Nazarene
in helpless flood of tears
so abundant they washed his feet;
who kissed them, loosed her hair to wipe them dry
and poured upon them precious perfume,
asking nothing but to give these tokens of love
whilst all around her in tight-lipped silence
uglier faces internally grumbled and condemned-

or the sad old woman
unable to straighten herself,
bent double for eighteen long years,
who one day in amazement
heard his voice bid her to come
and in simple trust shuffled her slow way
around the dividing partition,
across the gender barrier,
through the crowd of men
to stand before him in humble obedience
in the synagogue's scandalised hush-

or that man of little stature,
an ostracised, much hated tax collector,
denied what he so desired
by the elbowing, shoving, blocking crowd
and who in desperation rushed ahead
to climb a sycamore tree,
requiring for himself nothing more
than a momentary glimpse through the leaves
of the humble glory passing by.

Three outcasts,
who in simple faith each only desired
to love, to heed, to glimpse,
feeling that this was as much as they could expect
from a world that held them in contempt.
Yet it was to them recognition came.
They heard thrilling words
and their hearts surely surged.
Tenderly, to the sobbing harlot:
"Go in peace. Your faith has saved you"
Clearly, placing both hands on the bent back:
"Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity."
Looking up at the little, despised man in the tree:
"Come down. I will stay with you.
Salvation has come to your house."

Then, amid much ugliness,
there are true faces of faith
that grow as years progress,
perhaps, like those three from old,
beginning in recognition and humility,
developing in gentleness of mind,
compassion, understanding and mercy,
always desiring to be patient and kind
and putting on love, like a cloak,
in lives of simple praise,
not entirely motivated by the great reward,
but in purity of heart and adoration
and as an inadequate response for glimpsing,
momentarily through the leaves from a tree's branch,
the incandescent glory and wonder of the Lord.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

dance with me

come, dance with me
and let your palm lightly meet with mine
dance with me to this music
which plays in urgent time
dance with me in pastel dawn
and through the morning dew
look, the world is dancing
and surely we must too.

come, dance with me
and let our brimming hearts rejoice
as we surrender to the beauty
of music, colour and voice
oh listen carefully now
to how the music grows
and new melody upon melody
inevitably swells and flows

come dance with me
when change of key the hint of sorrow brings
when timpani resounds and tuba laments
to discordant plucking from strings
for fields of lament must surely come
but keep your hand in mine
and we will dance past sorrow and grief
in our own three four time.

So dance with me
through fields where flowers bloom in spring
dance with me
beyond the canyons that bitterness and envy bring
dance with me
past arid land of war and lust and hate
dance with me
past the blind and thoughtless ravages of fate
dance with me
to keep away the darkness of the night
dance with me
to bathe me in your beauty and your light
dance with me
as close and tightly fitted as a glove
dance with me and hold me
in this enfolding dance of love.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Pockets Stuffed with Hope

I'm walking, pockets stuffed with hope,
along this undulating track,
littering the trail behind
with weights unwanted from my pack.

I'm following that distant star.
I've got it clearly in my sight.
I hear its music and its dreams.
I'm guided by its light.

I hear the darkened river,
I feel its surging tide
and then I hear the music floating
from the unknown other side.

I well know that its great flow
must float all flesh away,
yet I dream as I lie down
of rising on the coming day.

and in my pockets that weight of hope
grows each day a little stronger
and I look both forward and behind
in awe and love and wonder,

filled with hope for the road ahead
which steadily rises as it winds,
enriched and strengthened for each day
by the long road stretching behind.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Is It Not Enough

flare of colour in the clouds
sun rising from behind the sea
restless rippling breeze gently
touching water, sand and tree

fragile freshness of sparkling dew
distant rumble from purple cloud
hint of heavy afternoon heat
night's silent dark shroud

moonlight lying on the swell
velvet wonder of the night
silent mystery of the deep
studded diamond points of light

I raise my eyes in wonder
towards evening's vast solemnity,
toward those distant fading stars,
great symbols of eternity

sensing that there is something
invisible, veiled from sight
that if I could but reach and tear
I could glimpse a realm of light

and revelations
words can never convey,
unutterable visions of life's
secret mystery of breath and clay

into such dimensions
only few have ever seen,
holy men in ages past
in prophecy, vision and dream

but all have the colour of cloud
the sparkle of the dew
the moon upon the water
the sky's ethereal blue

and is it not enough to gaze
in wonder and in awe
at the phosphorescence lapping
so close upon the shore.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

This Passing Day.

It seems to me that the brittle-bright morning
when we first loved
was the glistening shimmer of dew drop
when momentarily all the world's wealth was ours
and time seemed held in fragile crystal stop.

Now, in this late afternoon,
the sky is still clear and the sinking sun
more intensely beautiful than it was long ago.
Who can know if night will suddenly fall
or day stretch on past midnight
in muted, dimming, surreal twilight.

No matter. Each transient moment is rich with joy
and passing time has been our strange friend,
gifting us a plaited golden cord that twists and entwines,
tying us richly to each other
and to the present, past and unknowable future.

Its threads are love tested and tempered by fire;
children's laughter and tears;
shared faith, a vision of hope of a new day
dawning and dispelling the dark;
entanglement of other lives with ours;
ten thousand thousand little moments
unbreakably wound, twisted and plaited together.

So come, take my hand.
That fragile morning is long gone.
Evening must fall but the stars promise light,
an awakening from the darkness of night.
We have lived and loved together,
shared in glory throughout the long passing day.
Is this not enough? It must be enough.
It is much more than enough.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Love is a Torch.

Joseph's brothers threw him down a well
then sold him as a slave,
yet when he held them in his power
he hugged, he blessed and he forgave.
"I am Joseph, your brother!"
was his heart-felt, sobbing cry.

Love is a torch
to lead you through the dark,
a high and sunlit place,
a clear and cloudless sky.

Stalin sat up late at night
marking victim's names off a list.
Was it really twenty million who fell
beneath his ruthless, crushing fist?
"Lest one of them threatens me," he thought,
"they all must surely die."

The merry-go-round slowly turns
with its choice of horses to ride,
cankerous beasts of revenge, resentment,
folly, heartache and murderous pride.

The Pilgrim Fathers fled to a new world
in search of religious liberty.
There they tried and hanged their brethren
for the "crime" of blasphemy.
"Such abomination," they declared,
"can in no way ever be spared."

The merry-go-round slowly turns
with its choice of horses to ride,
cankerous beasts of jealousy, bigotry,
hypocrisy, greed and murderous pride.

The Son of Man healed, taught and blessed,
freely giving, never counting the cost.
He was betrayed, ridiculed and flogged
and then cruelly nailed to a cross.
"Father, forgive them" were His words
before he bowed His head and died.

Love is a torch
to lead you through the dark,
a high and sunlit place,
a clear and cloudless sky.

Monday, 20 April 2015

I don't fear the night

I don't fear the night.

-For my children and grandchildren.

I don't fear the night.
The ocean ebbs. The sun sets.
After the day comes the dark.
So too this body must decline,
yield, slump and fall
before the overlord, Time.
His reaper will come. He must.
The leaf falls, the stump rots.
All living things turn to dust.

I do fear the night in day,
the dying of mind, the slow decay
so that the hard-won gains of mind
are inevitably eaten away
and justice and love
are usurped by need
or, in sad pitiable display,
the dying mind without restraint
permits the primitive to romp and play.

I hold no fear of night.
Winter is followed by spring,
the ebb the flow, the dark the light.
The bare branch bursts into blossom.
From dust new plants bloom
and long ago men of practical bent,
fishermen, ordinary, unheroic folk,
witnessed a miracle, which they said
was for them a life-changing event-
their friend and teacher, a crucified man,
rose miraculously from the dead.

I don't fear the night.
In willing surrender I bend my knee
and bow before the Lord of Light,
desiring that transformed life be granted to me,
not through virtue, understanding,
or by meritorious serving,
for, too wonderful for words,
the resurrection of the dead
is freely gifted to the undeserving

No, I don't fear the night,
Yet if from the last sleep
I never in rebirth arise,
though the great gift be granted to other eyes,
then let it at least be said
that in this life of flesh and blood
he grew in spirit and mind,
judged none but self,
sought and strove to forgive,
desired justice, was merciful and kind
and grew in patience and in love
despite the ravages  of time.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Interim Report.

Interim Report.

Unseen, we hovered above the planet,
noted its beauty of air, land and sea,
grassed plains, high mountains, sky and cloud,
its spectacular displays of flower and tree.

Noted also considerable damage and scarring.
Floating islands of plastic and huge holes abound.
Grey smudges and stagnant water indicate
much pollution of air, water and ground.

Noted too the numerous dominant species.
They have a limited, self-centred thinking.
Their emotional state requires decades in becoming
and can be followed by rapid sad shrinking.

We observed their gifts and concept of beauty.
They have capacity to create and abhor.
Note though that a limited self-interest
often leads them to violence and war.

Problems demand altered consciousness.
Resource plundering, increasing population,
primitive energy sources, climate warming
indicate a need for global cooperation.

That this is possible is problematic.
Co-operation seems to be limited.
Wider sharing and empathy is, for them,
rare and difficult. However, there is hope.

Some thinkers have shown greatness,
have understood, written and testified
on the power of total love. Sadly, these they
ridicule, inter, and even once crucified.

We believe they slumber in partial consciousness.
Perhaps for them to fully awake
may require an apocalypse. That may induce
the required emotional and intellectual earthquake.

I think we could additionally comment that
they are inclined to waste their moment of life
in superficialities- pleasure, wealth, power or fame.
Worse, they frequently lapse into murderous strife.

We will return in a millennia or two.
The species has potential for distinction.
We conclude with the hope that their folly
does not ultimately lead to their extinction.

Friday, 3 April 2015


With thanks to Viktor Emil Frankl              

I read of a man who survived the camps,
those places of deep and monstrous  cruelty
where unspeakable crimes were performed each day
with callous, regimented regularity,

where children were not nurtured but starved,
where the fires burned and showers emitted gas,
where the spirit could so easily be lost
in a deeply incomprehensible, thick morass-

what he said was so extraordinary
it made my heart stir and spirit rejoice.
"There is one thing," he said, "they can never take.
It is yours alone and that is choice."

He said: "There were men who walked through the huts
and gave away their last morsel of bread,
proof sufficient that what cannot be taken
is the choice of which life to lead.

"The last of the human freedoms is
to choose one's attitude for every day.
No matter the given circumstances,
there is the  freedom to choose your way,

"to choose to submit or not to powers
which threaten to rob you of your humanity,
to make  you a mere plaything of circumstance
through your renouncing of freedom and dignity."

I knew then that if this man could so think
in such a scene of unspeakable tragedy,
then in choice there is power or degradation,
base horror or defining beauty

and we make choices about who we are,
to desire beauty, love, joy, kindness
or favour selfish power and desire
above patience, peace and gentleness.

Even then when fools or oppressors rule
we can choose to gaze upon the sky's blue light
or when thick darkness threatens to envelope
there is still velvet wonder in the night

and always the mysterious communion of hand on hand,
always beauty in endurance and  solemnity,
always the awareness of what can never be taken,
the human transcendence of love and dignity.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Still Time.

The day is almost gone.
It is the dying of the light.
Behind the last rays of gold
is the mystery of the night.

Yet amongst these fading fragments,
the remnants of the day,
is still the opportunity
to redirect the feet of clay;

time to walk a better way,
time to be gentle and kind,
time for beauty, love and truth,
time to grow in spirit mind,

and if there is a grand summit
existing beyond the night,
seen only by the eye of faith,
veiled for now from mortal sight,

there is still time to hope in faith,
still time to run the race,
still time to reach out the hand,
still time for God's good grace.

Friday, 20 March 2015



(for Ikeogu Oke)

Although they spread deep and wide
from before measured history,
these ancient anchoring roots
are still the one great tree.

Although it towers, twists and turns,
is marked and scarred for all to see,
this changing, gnarled and mottled trunk
is still the one great tree.

Although some bend to touch the earth
whilst others soar in elegant beauty,
this vast spreading tangle of branches
is still the one great tree.

Although they blossom, bloom and droop
in cyclical, never-ending creativity,
these flowers, fruit and seed
are still the one great tree.

So too we who dream and love,
who share the common bond of humanity,
who have hearts, minds, hands and voice
are still the one great tree

Some branches may be full of thorns
but others grow in truth and poetry.
They raise their voice to sing
that we are all part of the one great tree

and in singing, rejoice,
in pureness of heart and simplicity,
across the deserts and mountains of this earth
that we are all part of the one great tree.

Thursday, 5 March 2015



I sense beneath the skin of ground
a mighty heart in rhythmic beat,
feel its vastness and its strength,
a pulse of life beneath my feet,

Sense an exhalation of breath
scud the clouds and sway the leaves,
form the ponds, rivers and lakes
from deep communion with the seas.

I feel its wind song in my heart,
a slant of light inside my brain,
inhale scents rich like heady wine,
absorb the soak of steady rain.

Know it holds me in its arms,
hear its blended sounds rejoice,
and to the songs of bird and breeze
In simple praise add my small voice.

It holds me, sustains me, gives me life,
richly enfolds me all around
and will still hold me in its arms,
even when I am in the ground.

Yet deep within my heart and mind
I sense a greater, cosmic force
behind and through and in it all,
the one great true eternal source.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

This Ocean, So Deep and Vast

This ocean, so deep and vast,
Is rarely calm or quiet.
Rippling wind, zephyr and gale
bring troughs, crests or cliff-pounding roar.
What can we do who are held in its tide
but take courage and surrender to its flow,
knowing that in stillness and storm alike
richness and beauty abounds.
Let then this immensity
take me where it will.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Monday, 9 February 2015

I Know the Renewal in the East

I see renewal in the east,
the water rising from the sea,
the rain that falls from tumbling cloud,
the bright new flush from seed.

I see the momentary eastern blaze,
the transient dew of dawn,
the setting sun's fading glow
reflected in the morn.

I watch the river's rush and flow,
the rapids running free,
the current and the torpor,
the dispersal into sea.

I feel the dapple and the dark,
the sunshine and the shadow,
slanting columns, backlit clouds,
laughter, love and sorrow.

I sense the weight of night,
its embroidered velvet mystery,
the trek of stars across the sky,
the incomprehensible eternity.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Come, Hold Me

Come, hold me,
for the world is so mingle mixed,
so contrastingly, proportionally fixed-
pain flooded, beauty buoyant,
achingly sad, fleetingly joyous,
poignantly littered, pathos strewn,
touchingly tender, savagely hewn-
for under this blue, beauty-laden sky
we laugh, labour, mourn and sigh,
seek answers to an unknowable why,
see much to make the tender heart cry-
so hold me. Make all seem bright.
Tenderly grant me your sweet respite.
Bathe me in your wonder and light.
Momentarily wash away the night.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

The Gossamer Heft

Love is the chart for this twisting track:
the weight we carry upon our back,
a burden and a source of pain,
a leaden load within our pack.
Love is buoyant lightness and gain:
a zephyr touch, eyes that adore,
a torch to guide through darkest night,
feather wings to rise, glide and soar,
the gossamer heft of transforming light.

Friday, 2 January 2015

I Hear the Music

When these limbs were strong,
when ears were young and clear,
when each day was unblinkingly bright,
much grand music I could not hear.

Now they hear a vast symphony
from stars traversing the night,
and these declining ears hear "alleluia"
from vast pinpricks of cosmic light.

They hear it too from a drop of dew,
hear it from the falling rain,
hear it swell and hear it fade,
hear those motifs return again.

They hear it from a falling leaf,
hear it from the forest floor.
from soaring tree and fallen log
sound melodies that I adore.

They hear it too in baby's cry,
from rosy cheeks and shining hair,
hear from love's deep bond and union
songs with harmonies bright and fair.

They hear this beautiful, symphonic world
filled with the magic of sound.
Hear it swell, rise, crescendo, fall,
echo, harmonise and resound.

They hear it too within my chest,
they hear it from each tiny cell,
hear in the twisted helix of DNA
a great song rise and swell

and though these limbs no longer spring
these fading ears hear the throng
and raising my voice I cry aloud
"I hear the music! I sing the song!"