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

Black Friday

Black Friday

‘You will not sleep, if you lie there a thousand years, until you have opened your hand and yielded that which is not yours to give or to withhold.’ ‘I cannot’, she (Lilith) answered, ‘I would if I could, for I am weary, and the shadows of death are gathering about...

The Peace of Wild Things

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild...

Made for Joy and Woe

Made for Joy and Woe

Man was made for Joy & Woe And when this we rightly know Thro the World we safely go Joy & Woe are woven fine A Clothing for the soul divine Under every grief & pine Runs a joy with silken twine William Blake (1757-1827), Auguries of Innocence...

God’s a Phone, Maybe

God’s a Phone, Maybe

...say God's a phone, maybe. You know you didn't order a phone, but there it is. It rings. You don't know who it could be. You don't want to talk, so you pull out the plug. It rings. You smash it with a hammer till it bleeds springs and coils and clobbery metal bits....

The Bible: Bestowed Word of God

The Bible is dynamite

You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilization to pieces, to turn the world upside down, and bring peace to a battle-torn planet. But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of literature. Mahatma Gandhi...

The rare herb of silence: and the Word comes

The rare herb of silence: and the Word comes

When the doors of the house are shut, Eyes lidded, mouth closed, nose and ears Doing their best to idle, fingers allowed out Only on parole; when the lovely holy distractions, Safe scaffolding of much loved formulae, Have been rubbed away; then the plant Begins to...

The abstract answer and the incarnate mystery

The abstract answer and the incarnate mystery

The windless northern surge, the sea-gull’s scream And Calvin’s kirk crowning the barren brae…. The Word made flesh here is made word again, A word made word in flourish and arrogant crook. See here King Calvin with his iron pen, And God three angry letters in a book...

This book of stars lights to eternal bliss

This book of stars lights to eternal bliss

Oh that I knew how all thy lights combine, And the configurations of their glory! Seeing not only how each verse doth shine, But all the constellations of the story....   Such are thy secrets, which my life makes good, And comments on thee: for in every thing Thy...

Jesus Christ: Crucified God in Person

The Second Coming

The Second Coming

Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank...

Let me go there too

Let me go there too

And God held in his hand a small globe. Look, he said. The son looked. Far off, as through water, he saw a scorched land of fierce colour. The light burned there; crusted buildings cast their shadows: a bright serpent, a river uncoiled itself, radiant with slime.   On...

Human and divine

Human and divine

No one can come to spiritual delight in the contemplation of Christ’s godhead except he come first in imagination by painful identification, by compassion and steadfast thinking on his humanity. Walter Hilton (1343 – 96), Toward a Perfect Love.      ...

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

When fishes flew and forests walked And figs grew upon thorn, Some moment when the moon was blood Then surely I was born.   And monstrous head and sickening cry And ears like errant wings, And devil's walking parody On all four-footed things.   The tattered...

Humankind: Sinful, Rebellious and Faithless

Endless Carnival

The endless carnival... constitutes a dramatic affirmation of power, wealth and virility, in which 'victory' is accomplished by many abusive exploitations, all in the pursuit of winning and being on top of the heap of the money game.   Walter Brueggemann (1933  -...

Anthem for Doomed Youth

Anthem for Doomed Youth

What passing bells for these who die as cattle? Only the monstrous anger of the guns. Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle Can patter out their hasty orisons. No mockeries for them from prayers or bells, Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, The shrill,...

Man was made to mourn

Man was made to mourn

A few seem favourites of fate, In pleasure’s lap carest; Yet think not all the rich and great Are likewise truly blest:   But oh! What crowds in every land, All wretched and forlorn, Thro’ weary life this lesson learn, That man was made to mourn.   Many and...

My Seasons

My Seasons

This is the weather the cuckoo likes, and so do I When showers betumble the chestnut spikes and nestlings fly And the little brown nightingale bills his best, And they sit outside at the Traveller's Rest, And maids come forth sprig-muslin dressed, And citizens dream...

The Grace of God: Justifying and Converting

Spring is Not our Mating Season

Spring is Not our Mating Season

I will not kiss you, country fashion, By hedgesides where Weasel and hare Claim kinship with our passion....   This bare clay-pit is truest setting For love like ours: No bed of flowers But sand-ledge for our petting.   The Spring is not our mating season:...

Naked in Your Sty

Naked in Your Sty

Take off the business suit, the old school tie, the gown, the cap, drop the reviews, awards, certificates, stand naked in you sty, a little carnivore, clothed in dried turds. The snot that slowly fills our passages seeps up from hollows  where the dead beasts lie;...

I will lament and love

I will lament and love

Ah my dear angry Lord, Since thou dost love, yet strike; Cast down, yet help afford; Sure I will do the like.   I will complain, yet praise; I will bewail, approve; And all my sour sweet days I will lament, and love.   George Herbert (1593-1633),. Bitter...

My Trumpetry

My Trumpetry

From all my lame defeats and oh much more From all the victories that I seemed to score; From cleverness shot forth on thy behalf At which, while angels weep, the audience laugh; From all my proofs of thy divinity, Thou, who wouldst give no sign, deliver me.  ...

Christ-likeness: Progressive Christian Living

Song of a Lesbian 

Song of a Lesbian 

All my life’s been lived in fragments, Just a part of me was shown, A part I shared with friends, And a part I lived at home, A part I showed my work-place And a part the church could share, And a part of me was hidden In closets of despair.   Marsha Stevens...

My bottom  dollar

My bottom dollar

Two mites, two drops (yet all her house and land) Falls from a steady heart, though trembling hand. The others’ wanton wealth foams high and brave. The others cast away, she only gave.   Richard Crashaw (1613-49), The Widow’s Mite.   

Contemplation’s door to wisdom and virtue

Contemplation’s door to wisdom and virtue

Virtue could see to do what virtue would By her own radiant light, though sun and moon Were in the flat sea sunk. And wisdom’s self Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude, Where with her best nurse Contemplation, She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings That in...

Compassion

Compassion

We in our prideful counting are answerable to you: Facing the cost of our pride, we choose you; We choose you and your compassion; We choose you, because we trust that, You do not deal with us according to our sins, Nor repay us according to our iniquities. So we...

Holy Spirit: in Christian Experience

Unless I catch fire

Unless I catch fire

Unless the eye catch fire               The God will not be seen. Unless the ear catch fire               The God will not be heard. Unless the tongue catch fire               The God will not be named Unless the heart catch fire               The God will not be...

Pure beauty

Pure beauty

The memory of a glorious moment, My soul was stirred And once again you came, A passing vision, A glimmer of beauty pure. In fullness beats my heart, feeling once again The resurrection of divinity, And inspiration, and life, And tears, and love.   Alexander...

Beauty beyond reason

Beauty beyond reason

… here you stand, adore and worship, when you know it not, pious beyond the intention of your thought, devout above the meaning of your will. Yes, you have felt, and may not cease to feel, The estate of man would be indeed forlorn If false conclusions of the reasoning...

I am the live God

I am the live God

              … These people know me only in the thin hymns of the mind, in the arid sermons and prayers. I am the live God, nailed fast to the old tree of a nation by its unreal tears. I thirst, I thirst for the spring water. Draw it up for me from your heart’s well...

Believers: Assured, Called and Prayerful

Glimpses of Truth

Glimpses of Truth

Open my eyes that I may see Glimpses of Truth Thou hast for me; Place in my hand the wonderful key That shall unlock and set me free. Silently now I wait for Thee, Ready my God, Thy will to see, Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine.   Clara H. Scott...

A Mother’s Instinct

A Mother’s Instinct

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...

Sabbath Rest

Sabbath Rest

Whatever is foreseen in joy Must be lived out from day to day. Vision held open in the dark By our ten thousand days of work. Harvest will fill the barn; for that The hand must ache, the face must sweat.   And yet no leaf or grain is filled By work of ours; the field...

You Yourself In Me

You Yourself In Me

Lord, grant me to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely upon your holy will. In every hour of the day, reveal your will to me. Bless my dealings with all who surround me. Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of...

The Church: Provisional but Necessary

Heaven in ordinary

Heaven in ordinary

Prayer the Church's banquet, Angels age, God's breath in man returning to his birth, The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage, The Christian plummet sounding heaven and earth; Engine against the almighty, sinners' tower, Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing...

How to listen to a sermon

How to listen to a sermon

Judge not the preacher; for he is thy Judge If thou mislike him, thou conceivs't him not. God calleth preaching folly. Do not grudge To pick out treasures from an earthen  pot. The worst speak something good: if all want sense, God takes a text, and preacheth...

How to go to church

How to go to church

When once thy foot enters the church, be bare. God is more there, than thou: for thou  art there Only his permission.... Resort to sermons, but prayers the most: Praying's the end of preaching....   In time of service  seal up both thine eyes, And send them to...

Love You to Death

Love You to Death

I am beginning to understand I saw a sign once; outside a church.  It said Are you really living or just walking around to save the expense of a funeral?  I didn’t know that Love is real life, and everything else is just a more or less entertaining way of dying, and I...

The Mission of God

The words of the prophets

The words of the prophets

People talking without speaking People hearing without listening ‘Fools’, said I, ‘You do not know Silence like a cancer grows.’  The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls.   Paul Simon (1942-), 1964.

Seed Planting

Seed Planting

This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, Knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.   We...

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...

Moral Justice: a Vision of God’s Kingdom

The writing on the  wall

The writing on the wall

Silence like a cancer grows And the people bowed and prayed To the neon god they made. And the sign flashed out its warning, In the words that it was forming, And the signs said, ‘The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls And tenement halls, And...

The just man does ‘what in God’s eyes he is’

The just man does ‘what in God’s eyes he is’

I say more: the just man justices; Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces; Acts in God’s eyes what in God’s eye he is- Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places, Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his To the Father through the features of men’s...

Too close to the shore?

Too close to the shore?

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves,        when our dreams have come true,                     because we have dreamed too little,                when we have arrived safely,                    because we sailed too close to the shore....

Human Being!

Human Being!

Human beings are members of a whole, in creation of one essence and soul. If one member is afflicted with pain, other members uneasy will remain. If you have no sympathy for human pain, the name of human you cannot retain. Sa'adi Shirazi (d. c.1291/1292), On the wall...

Glory: Now and Then, Here and There

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...

The Pain of Falling Leaves

The Pain of Falling Leaves

And if, as autumn deepens and darkens I feel the pain of falling leaves, and stems that break in storms and trouble and dissolution and distress and then the softness of deep shadows folding, folding around my soul and spirit, around my lips so sweet, like a swoon, or...

Together truth and beauty are  one

Together truth and beauty are one

I died for beauty, but was scarce Adjusted in the tomb, When one who died for truth was lain In an adjoining room.   He questioned softly why I failed? ‘For beauty,’ I replied. ‘And I for truth, - the two are one; We brethren are,’ he said.   And so, as...

Son Worship

Son Worship

To long for the unsettling, unsetting Son is dangerous. Saints and Starets, sinners and seekers have found that Christ takes them at their word who say that they want, or would like, to know him.   Holy Fools have met him in the derision of sophisticates....