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.