Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rain at Christmas

Just a bit of fancy that, literally, came down in a shower ..

It falls so grey and drear. The light is gone.
And greyness conquers with fixed misery
And all the world is shrunk to bear this weight
Of water falling on our finity.

The soil must be prepared. I know, I know,
Without the watering no life can be.
Yet how can blessing wear so bleak a form
As water falling on our finity.

And did it snow in Bethlehem long since,
Or was it just this unremitting rain
Leaching the joy from every traveller’s steps
And adding damp and cold to labour pain?

Huddle humanity beneath the fall
Of the bleak soaking blight of Adam’s curse,
Wearing the weight of all our fallenness
Until the day breaks and the clouds disperse.

Until the day breaks in the midnight clear
Not with the sun but angel-glory bright
Here is the rest which Adam’s children yearn
Here is our hope, His dawn, the Light of Light.

Therefore I wait in this occluded grey
Knowing His certain dawn shall shine on me
For unto us, (to me!) a child is born:
His blessing falls upon my finity.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Anna at the Temple

Through the lean stretch of the years,
The thinning of the bones,
The flesh exhausted.

Hope fades, transmutes to prayer,
Prayer faint and regular as breathing,
In the waiting, aching flesh,
A breath that barely flutters,
Yet sustains all life, all thought ..

Beyond patience, into stubbornness.
Believing. What. God. says.
Holding still.

Remembering Sarah.
As the body dries its courses
And finds new ways to sag.
All beauty fled and vanished
Save the one who holds her heart.

Knowing His promise surer
When all history is against it.
Waiting still.

Here, with uplifted eyes
In the very house of prayer
Walking among the symbols of the covenant,
Past caring if this is a woman’s place.
Breathing in, breathing out,

And when He comes
She knows.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Marginalised

Just another family on the edge
Not quite our sort, the ones that we pass by,
The dwellers on the margins of our tidy world.

Item: an unwed mother,
A man, not the father, giving her his name,
A journey when all decent girls stay home
To give birth by their mothers.

Item: a squalid birth,
Not even a midwife there,
Not even a decent room.
Strange visitors at midnight,
Such a rough lot – shepherds!
And later foreigners that wore weird clothes,
And babbled about stars.

Item: a midnight flit
Just when they seemed to be settled.
Did they know the sharp cruel soldiers
Bringing grief that dripped like blood?

They went off as refugees
To go and join the heathens.

Not quite the family
For our cosy white bread suburbs,
Never a two-car garage
Or neat bedrooms all en suite,
We weigh hotels by stars,
And we book our rooms online.

But mud and dust and weariness,
Plans overturned by angels,
Pregnant with impossibility,
In the grinding tedium of life.
Chased by deranged royalty
To a foreign, lonely place ..

And bearing with them
All the hope we have.

Three sunsets and one sunrise -- Kimberley

Monday, December 01, 2008

The people who walked in darkness ..

For Advent ..

Long we have walked in the darkness
In the unlight of confusion
Whispering shadows
Our tenebrae of fear.

We have reached out and clutched the nearest hand
Trying to still the panic
Of the utterly alone
Who cannot see love
In any other face.

We light our own torches.

Strange fire, wildfire,
Sickly phosphorescence,
Flashlights under blankets and the heart’s auto da fe.
Any light, anyway,
Trying to see our way,
To see the way forward.
Make progress,
Invent our own way home,
As if the whole wide world were not in night.

To such as us, light comes.

Light we did not create, more terrible than beauty,
Searing as lightning, brighter than the noon,
To whom the very sun is a shadow, faint and pale
Whose embrace we flee from,. and whose love we crave

Light clothed in flesh,
Deep in the womb-cave darkness,
We are pregnant in our longing, and barren in our dreams,
Stumbling in the night.

Come to us in mercy, lest we die in dark.