Tell me your Story

16 Mar 2023 | Believers | 0 comments

Don’t throw your arms around me in that way:

I know what you tell me is the truth –

yes I suppose I loved you in my youth

as boys do love their mothers, so they say,

but all that’s gone from me this many a day:

I am a merciless cactus an uncouth

wild goat a jagged old spear the grim tooth

of a lone crag…. Woman I cannot stay.


Each one of us must do his work of doom

and I shall do it even in despite

of her who brought me in pain from her womb,

whose blood made me, who used to bring the light

and sit on the bed up in my little room

and tell me stories and tuck me up at night.


R.A.K. Mason (1905-71), ‘Footnote to John 2 verse 4’, The Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse.

Notes from the Compiler

'God gives the desolate a home to live in' (Psalm 68:5). The Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse). The Psalmist's claim is a stimulus to questioning Christians who, like the New Zealand poet, struggle with their faith in a loving parent. Mason's poem says, 'Each one of us must do his work of doom' (fate or fortune). When the chips are down, I can learn so much from my memory of Mum, and the model she bestowed, and in Mary's case Jesus endorsed it with a miracle. Of his own work, Mason said, ‘I do not invent the words; I do not even repeat them from memory. I say them at the bidding of some invisible prompter far back in the dark stage of my mind.’ The touching sketch is the work of an old friend and retired Liverpool vicar, Chris Crooks.


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