Poems and readings to reflect on and shape your faith

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Latest Posts

My Dragon?

The times are nightfall, look, their light grows less; The times are winter, watch, a world undone.... And I not help....   Or what is else? There is your world within. There rid the dragons, root out there the sin. ’’Your will is  law in that small commonweal....

Homecoming

Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back, Guilty of dust and sin. But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack From my first entrance in, Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,      If I lacked anything.   ‘A guest’, I answered, ‘worthy to be here.’ Love said,...

Grow Younger

My heart leaps up when I behold     A rainbow in the sky: So was it when my life began;  So is it now I am a man;  So be it when I shall grow old,     Or let me die! The Child is father of the Man; And I could wish my days to be Bound each to each by natural piety....

Holy Island – What Me?

Leave me alone with God  as much as may be, as the tide draws the waters close in upon the shore, make me an island,  set apart, alone with You, God, holy to You.   Then, with the turning of the tide, prepare me to carry your presence to the busy world, beyond...

You’re Welcome

You're welcome until you're homeless. Until you're drugged up, or drug dealing. Welcome until you're angry, or angsty, or anything other than sane....   Welcome until it's harder to let you in than keep you out. Until the questions you carry are a gospel of...

Tents are not Homes

This wilderness falls on my way and though a wanderer like Jacob  of old here I cannot stay. I remember John the Baptist who chose for his home the wilderness;   I remember too the wild sweetness that I have tasted there in these seasons and the temptation to...

Our Saving Victim 

In making victims we are judged, until we turn to the saving Victim. We are insistently and relentlessly, in Jerusalem, confronted… with a victim who is our victim. When we make victims, when we embark on condemnation, exclusion, violence, the diminution or oppression...

Icy Inscape

The times are nightfall, look, their light grows less; The times are winter, watch, a world undone; They waste, they wither worse; they as they run Or bring more or more blazon man's distress, And I not help....   Hope holds to Christ the mind's own mirror out To...

Down to the World’s Cradle

Down to that littleness, down to all that Crying and hunger, all that tiny flesh And flickering spirit – down the great stars fall, Here the great kings bow. Here the farmer sees his fragile lambs, Here the wise man throws his books away. This manger is the universe’s...

Our Father: Hallowed on Earth as in Heaven

Flood our Hearts

Flood our Hearts

God of time and God eternal, God beyond millennia; God whose fingerprints reveal you In the atom and the stars:           Flood our hearts with hope and wonder,           Fill us with your healing love.   God, in Jesus, you have lived life, Shared constraints of...

In Our Hands

In Our Hands

No wife, kids, home; No money sense. Unemployable. Friends, yes. But the wrong sort - The workshy, women, wogs, Petty infringers of the law... ... his end? I think we will make it Public, prolonged and painful.   Right, said the baby. That was roughly What we had...

God is a Surprise

God is a Surprise

What is belief? A recognition? Who knows of what? If any say He knows, he lies. Who knows what never was begun And will not end? God is a way, And a surprise.   And in that way we cannot choose, For choice deceives us, as it must. We live in sense, Certain at...

Walk with God

Walk with God

The Lord of all, himself through all diffused, Sustains, and is the life of all that lives. Nature is but a name for an effect Whose cause is God. He feeds the secret fires By which the mighty process is maintained, Who sleeps not, is not weary; in whose sight Slow...

The Bible: Bestowed Word of God

This book I read

This book I read

This book I read Floats in my hand like a water lily, Coming out of the nutrient waters of thought And light shines on us both, The morning’s breviary. Diane Wokoski (1937-).

Word of life that fires me

Word of life that fires me

Lord, for the years your love has kept and guided, Urged and inspired us, cheered us on our way, Sought us and saved us, pardoned and provided, Lord of the years, we bring our thanks today. Lord, for that word, the word of life which fires us, Speaks to our hearts and...

God’s love-letter

God’s love-letter

A man who loves his wife will love her letters and her photographs because they speak to him of her. So if we love the Lord Jesus we shall love the Bible because it speaks to us of him. The husband is not so stupid as to prefer his wife's letters to her voice, her...

Born among the trees and leaves

Born among the trees and leaves

O who will show me those delights on high Echo. I Thou echo, thou art mortal, all men know. Echo. No Wert thou not born among the trees and leaves? Echo. Leaves. And are there any leaves that still abide? Echo. Bide. What leaves are they? Impart the matter wholly....

Jesus Christ: Crucified God in Person

Happy Tree

There was a bright and happy tree; The wind with music laced its boughs; Thither across the houseless sea Came singing birds to house.   Men grudged the tree its happy eyes, Its happy dawns of eager sound; So all that crown and tower of leaves They levelled with...

Unclear or Nuclear God?

Unclear or Nuclear God?

It is not clear that he can't speak; who created languages but God?   . . . We call him the dumb God with an effrontery beyond pardon. Whose silence so eloquent as his? What word so explosive as that one Palestinian word with the endlessness of its fall-out?...

No Shore in Sight

No Shore in Sight

If you can stay in the midst of the turmoil unperplexed and calm because you see Jesus, that is God's plan in your life. Not that you may be able to say, 'I have done this and now it's alright.' We have an idea that God is leading us to a certain goal, a desired...

Christmas Check Out

Christmas Check Out

"I'm not looking forward to Christmas,"   The lass on the store check-out cries, Pinging the goods on the rumbling belt - The bread, and the wine, and the pies. I watch, as I stand in the fidgety queue As the lassie enlightens us all.   "The fuss and the...

Humankind: Sinful, Rebellious and Faithless

My Valentine

My Valentine

The sun itself, which makes times as they pass, Is elder by a year now than then it was, When thou and I first one another saw; All other things to their destruction draw, Only our love hath no decay; This, no tomorrow hath, nor yesterday. Running, it never runs from...

A no-where Person

There is no-where in you, a paradise that is no-place and there you do not enter, except without a story. To enter there is to become unnameable. Whoever is there is homeless for he has no door, no identity with which to go out and to come in.   Whoever is...

Twisted Religion

Twisted Religion

I have pretended long, in loyalty. I had a childhood hurt for five harsh years, I let it wound my good fragility And over decades I've shed many tears And sometimes wished that I were wholly free Of faith because it was to me all fears,   Unhappiness and, yes,...

Stop the Clocks

Stop the Clocks

  Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone. Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead Scribbling on the sky the message He is...

The Grace of God: Justifying and Converting

Held Fast

Held Fast

I threaten'd to observe the strict decree     Of my dear God with all my power and might;     But I was told by one it could not be; Yet I might trust in God to be my light. "Then will I trust," said I, "in Him alone."     "Nay, e'en to trust in Him was also His:...

Passiontide

Passiontide

Thus far I did come laden with my sin; Nor could aught ease the grief that I was in Till I came hither; What a place is this: Must here be the beginning of my bliss? Must here the burden fall from off my back? Must here the strings that bound it to me crack? Blest...

On a Friday Morning

On a Friday Morning

It was on a Friday morning that they took me from the cell and I saw they had a carpenter to crucify as well. You can blame it on to Pilate You can blame it on the Jews You can blame it on the Devil But it's God that I accuse           'It’s God they ought to crucify...

God’s Better Beauty

God’s Better Beauty

To what serves mortal beauty? Dangerous; does set dancing blood....   What do then? How meet beauty? Merely meet it; own, home at heart, heaven's sweet gift; then leave, let that alone, Yea, wish that though, wish all, God's better beauty, grace.   Gerard...

Christ-likeness: Progressive Christian Living

Not My King! Then Who is?

Not My King! Then Who is?

Love that gives, gives ever more, gives with zeal, with eager hands, spares not, keeps not, all outpours, ventures all its all expends. . Drained is love in making full, bound in setting others free, poor in making many rich, weak in giving power to be. . Therefore he...

The pinnacle is a very lonely place

The pinnacle is a very lonely place

The pinnacle of the temple is a very lonely place. You will not be waiting for me there. Your way, your prayer, Your disclosure of God Takes the lowliest path…. I must come down like Zacchaeus If I would have you dwell with me; On the roads, and on the shore; In the...

Lasting friendship

Lasting friendship

Such love I cannot analyse; It does not rest in lips or eyes, Neither in kisses nor caress. Partly, I know, it’s gentleness   And understanding in one word Or in brief letters. It’s preserved By trust and by respect and awe, These are the words I’m feeling for....

Forgiven and Forgiving

Forgiven and Forgiving

History teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves - from our recklessness, or our greed. God sent into the world a unique person - neither a philosopher nor a general - but a Saviour, with the power to forgive.   Forgiveness lies at the heart of the...

Holy Spirit: in Christian Experience

God’s fantastic move

God’s fantastic move

Tripping over Joy What is the difference Between your experience of Existence And that of a saint?   The saint knows that the spiritual path Is a sublime chess game with God And that the Beloved Has just a Fantastic Move   That the saint is now continually Tripping...

Ageing happily

Ageing happily

Who would have thought my shrivelled heart Could have recovered greenness? It was gone Quite underground; as flowers depart To see their mother-root, when they have blown; Where they together All the hard weather, Dead to the world, keep house unknown….   And now in...

Open to surprise

Open to surprise

Sometimes a light surprises The Christian while he sings; It is the Lord, who rises with healing in his wings; when comforts are declining, he grants the soul again a season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain.   William Cowper...

Hope in the storms of life

Hope in the storms of life

Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without words, And never stops at all. And sweetest in the gale is heard; And sore must be the storm That could abash the little bird That kept so many warm. I’ve heard it in the chilliest...

Believers: Assured, Called and Prayerful

In the Night

In the Night

'Honest Doubt'? You say, but with no touch of scorn,          Sweet-hearted, you, whose light-blue eyes          Are tender over drowning flies, You tell me, doubt is Devil-born. I know not: one indeed I knew          In many a subtle question versed,          Who...

Morning Preen

Early every morning the eagle preens its feathers for more than an hour. Sitting on the side of its nest, the eagle passes each feather through its mouth, something like steam cleaning while depositing a liquid that makes its feathers water repellent. This is...

Scaffolding

Scaffolding

Masons, when they start upon a building, Are careful to test out the scaffolding;   Make sure that the planks won’t slip at busy joints,   Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.   And yet all this comes down when the job’s done Showing off walls of...

Icy Inscape

Icy Inscape

The times are nightfall, look, their light grows less; The times are winter, watch, a world undone; They waste, they wither worse; they as they run Or bring more or more blazon man's distress, And I not help....   Hope holds to Christ the mind's own mirror out To...

The Church: Provisional but Necessary

Darkness Comes

Darkness Comes

What isolates me here in frozen clay But that same tidal shock which fell First upon England in your day? Betrayal of the truth is no new thing Within the fellowship of Christ, yet new Was the cold glare whence alien ripples flashed....   The darkness comes as...

Religion is over

Religion is over

The last quarter of the moon of Jesus gives way to the dark...   Religion is over and what will emerge from the body of the new moon, no one can say. But a voice sounds in my ear: Why so fast, mortal? These very seas are baptized. The parish has a saint's name...

The way into church!

The way into church!

I see a door, a multitude near by, In creed and quarrel, sure disciples all! Gladly they would, they say, enter the hall, But cannot, the stone threshold is so high....   But see, one comes; he listens to the voice; Careful he wipes his weary dusty feet! The...

Tree of Life: Upside Down

Tree of Life: Upside Down

There is a tree grows upside down, Its roots are in the sky; Its lower branches reach the earth When amorous winds are nigh.   One lone bough there starkly hangs A Man just crucified, And all the other branches bear The choice fruits of the Bride.   When...

The Mission of God

Saved to save others

Saved to save others

Are you content, have you no higher aim Than just to gain admittance at the door, In faintest characters to trace your name Among the list of those who die no more?   Do you not feel that you are saved to live? Do you not know you are saved to save? Forgiven that you...

An old age is out, time to begin a new

All, all of a piece throughout; Thy chase had a beast in view; Thy wars brought nothing about; Thy lovers were all untrue. ‘Tis well an old age is out, And time to begin a new.   John Dryden (1631 – 1700), The Secular Masque, 1700.

Let all the world sing

Let all the world sing

Let all the world in every corner sing, My God and King ! The church with psalms must shout, No door can keep them out ; But above all the heart Must bear the longest part. Let all the world in every corner sing, My God and King !   George Herbert...

Far From Home

Far From Home

All day long we’ve walked, my little boy so fretful, turning in my arms to stare behind us, back along that dusty road.   It’s as if he hears a distant sound, he’s listening, it seems, but much too young to know the dreadful things we’ve heard.   Now it’s...

Moral Justice: a Vision of God’s Kingdom

War Wounded

War Wounded

Across our planet earth there bleed the wounds of war, with livelihoods destroyed and cherished homes no  more; the people flee, abused and scarred and travelling far, poor refugees.   Across our planet earth the wounds of war go deep with generations taught...

His choice and mine: Justice and mercy

His choice and mine: Justice and mercy

Do not face us, O living God, with the future of a world without justice or a future without mercy; in your mercy, establish justice, and, in your justice, remember your overflowing mercy in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen   Michael Vasey (1946-98).    ...

Victory?

Victory?

Professional Sports   The endless carnival of those sports constitutes a dramatic affirmation of power, wealth and virility in which victory is accomplished by many abusive exploitations, all in pursuit of winning and being top of the heap of the money game....

Glory: Now and Then, Here and There

Deathbed

Now, when the frail and fine-spun Web of mortality Gapes, and lets slip What we have loved so long From out our lighted present Into the trackless dark We turn, blinded, Not to the Christ in Glory, Stars about his feet, But to the Son of Man, Back from the tomb, Who...

No Eulogy Please!

No Eulogy Please!

There was something defiant about his funeral, as if he had decided from the start to resist the eulogy....   The eulogy would be merely what he did in the waiting room: life's see-sawing of one foot onto the other, which is nothing, in comparison to the light so...

Tents are not Homes

Tents are not Homes

This wilderness falls on my way and though a wanderer like Jacob  of old here I cannot stay. I remember John the Baptist who chose for his home the wilderness;   I remember too the wild sweetness that I have tasted there in these seasons and the temptation to...

SKYLIGHT

SKYLIGHT

You were the one for skylights. I opposed Cutting into the seasoned tongue-and-groove Of pitch pine. I liked it low and closed, Its claustrophobic, nest-up-in-the-roof Effect. I liked the snuff-dry feeling, The perfect, trunk-lid fit of the old ceiling. Under there,...