Friday, November 17, 2017

My Freedom Found

My freedom found
In this one word
Like the tender thunder
Of the unfolded rose
Breathing out my name
In love.

My freedom found
In this one call
Summoning to the edge
Beyond my mapping
Beyond my understanding
Learning trust
In the silent halls of fear.

My freedom found
In this one hope
Blazing the horizon
When my eyes are blind
Spectral glory
To my tears.

My freedom found
In this one place,
In this one service,
One gladness,
One transcendent truth,
One gladness that has turned all sorrow
Inside out,
One life

Thursday, November 16, 2017

After Psalm 42

This is the dry land
Stretching beyond sight
And soaking up our tears

This is the arid land
Unfit for our survival
Desiccating joy
Preserving every skeleton
And the wind of time beats against our faces
Devouring all we are.
Into this land we are born.

But oh, the stars
Brilliant in this dry sky,
Calling our names, reminding us of more!

Let us not be satisfied with sand
Or call our thirst ‘maladjustment’.
Let our hearts be more than a shell,
A hollow place packed with dust:
Dry, shrivelled, dead,
Where skittering insects crawl across our minds.

Let our thirst become a prayer,
Let us know our need,
In our stumbling and our mumbling let us learn to weep
Even in the dry land.
Till His rivers flow
Deep beyond deep,
And carry us to Love.

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Change in the Weather

There is a change in the weather
There is a change in the air.
We don’t altogether approve it
Preferring a forecast of fair.
But the clouds settle down like a blanket,
The wind rises high in the trees
The rain’s pouring down like a torrent
And none of them ask, “if you please?”

Soon comes the thunder and lightning
Soon comes the fierce of the storm
We huddle right down in our comfort
Hoping to stay dry and warm.
But the wind is so fierce in our faces
And the challenge is blazed in our eyes
And we raise up our chins to the tempest
And shout to the thundering skies.

For we were born into the laughter
Of those who would dream and would dare
And a wild, wild blood surges under
The workaday face which we wear.
While the eagle screams out to the mountains
And our tears are washed clean by the rain
We shall not shrink back under cover
But stand up and try once again.

Monday Birds

Here, on a Monday morning,
A craziness of birds
Chirping fit to break the trees.
How can I tell
If this is music,
Or merely agitation?

Even so
Challenges always
My small discernments,
Stretching my little wisdom
To the place of helplessness,
To the place of choice.

May my confusions
Always lead to prayer
And a deep thanksgiving
That the birds make music still.

Monday, October 30, 2017

My Enemy

I hated him from the time I was old enough to know anything about the world and my place in it. He was everyone’s hero, the man who slew giants and defeated Philistines, the “sweet singer of Israel”, the golden king. He was also the man who stole the throne that had belonged to my family, the usurper, the destroyer.  My grandfather, King Saul had died in battle, so had my father, and it was said that David the usurper had mourned for them. But how could I believe that when the same man had so happily and willingly taken their throne, the throne that should have come to me as the only surviving heir. They said that God had given the throne to David, but what did that make God if he could just take the throne from one family and give it to another, without any just cause?

So I hated him, but, even more, I feared him, for if I hated him, how much more must he hate me, the only living heir to the house of Saul. Admittedly, I probably wasn’t much of a threat to him, since I am a cripple, and the mere thought of my leading Israel into battle would make us a laughing stock amongst the nations, but still, everyone knows that to be a successful king you must destroy all your rivals.

The day came when I was summoned to the house of David. “This is it,” I thought, “he has waited until I am old enough to care about, and now he will surely have me killed.” But I was determined not to shame my lineage, so I obeyed the summons and came. I tried to silence my maddening fear by telling myself that if I could just look into his eyes I would know the truth about his heart. Surely it would be easier to die if I could go to my death scorning the one who sent me there?

How ignorant I was! I came into his presence and bowed low, doing homage to the throne of Israel even while I resented the one who sat on it. But who is fool enough to antagonise a king? “Mephibosheth,” he said, identifying me by name.

“I am your servant,” I replied formulaically, but I was curious now. There was no condemnation in his tone at all. What was going on?

Then he turned my world upside down and inside out. For sake of my father Jonathan, he was going to restore to me all the lands that had belonged to Saul, and I was to eat at his table like an honoured member of his own family! A man does not go to the house of his enemy and find there his greatest benefactor. A man does not rise in the morning expecting to be condemned to death and finish the day rejoicing in riches and honour.

And I am left pondering. If David is such a man who would lavish love and generosity upon one who was born to be his enemy, in fact, take that enemy into his family like a beloved child, what does that say about the God whom David serves with all his heart?

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

The Kiss of God

This peace: the sun retreats, the air is still.
The light a golden chrism touching all
Soon the stars light their candles, one by one,
Soon I’m transfixed by their high silver call.
And, knowing only this is wholly good,
I tremble to receive the kiss of God.

There is a largeness in the air tonight
Where conversations gleam and dance and thrill
Where soul reveals a naked glimpse to soul
And is received in all its good and ill.
And, knowing only this is wholly good,
I tremble to receive the kiss of God.

Prayer, and the lifting up of little hands
Into their Father’s strong and sturdy grasp,
Knowing he listens to our every breath,
Knowing we’re safe forever in his clasp.
And, knowing only this is wholly good,
I tremble to receive the kiss of God.

Mercy, it breathes through every breath we take,
Grace that can raise our brokenness to bliss
He is my God who gives himself to me,
I, though I flounder, I am wholly his.
And, knowing only this is wholly good,
I tremble to receive the kiss of God.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

The Party

You think you know who your friends are, don’t you? Well, I thought I did, and by my time of life you would have expected to have it all sorted out. After all, it’s a long time since we were fickle children, quarrelling and changing playmates in a way that no adult could ever hope to keep up with. I knew, because I am a man of the world and not unobservant, that people can turn away from you when things go badly; I did not know, until now, that they can turn away from you when you offer them something good. It seems I do not understand people nearly as well as I thought I did.

I remember the day I first planned my banquet. Life has been good and I have been blessed with more abundance than I had ever dreamed of. I looked around me with pleasure, and then the thought struck: wouldn’t it be good to share all this with my friends? So I sent out my servants with the save the date cards, and everyone replied that they would be very happy to come. So I started my preparations, wanting to put together the best party that has ever been seen in these parts. Such scrubbing, such shopping, such planning, such baking! I even gave my servants extra pay for all their hard work helping me turn my dream into a reality, and I smiled to myself as I ran around busy with everything. What fun this was going to be!

Then the day of the big event arrived and I sent my servants out to fetch the guests. They went out smiling with anticipation, they returned looking downcast and forlorn. My friends weren’t coming! Every single one had returned an excuse of the sorry but I’m too busy” kind. And what flimsy, insulting excuses they were. One had just bought a field and had to go and check it out. Really? Who buys a field sight unseen? And, ahem, the field would still be there just the same tomorrow, since it can’t exactly get up and move somewhere else! Another said he’d just bought himself a yoke of oxen and had to check them out. Seriously? He’d just spent all that money on them without checking them first? I knew him to be a canny businessman; I simply didn’t believe it.

The last one to come back was the most insulting of them all. He couldn’t come because he’d just got married! He was supposed to be my friend and not only did he not invite me to his wedding, but he planned it to clash with my big party. I had some very dark thoughts then, imagining all my “friends” gathered at this wedding, laughing at my failed party.

But I am not a man to be easily defeated. If my so-called friends couldn’t make it, I wasn’t going to let it spoil things. I would find myself some other guests. So I called my servants back and told them to go out into the highways and the byways, the forgotten places that no one cares about, and give my invitation to the people you find there – the poor, the broken, the disabled, the rejected, and compel them to come to my party.

Well, they did, and they came, and we had the best night of my life. I have new friends now, people who actually want to come to my house. But as we cleaned up the day after, I gazed around, giving thanks for such a blessing, and a new thought struck me. Do I treat God the way my friends treated me, happily nodding and saying “yes, yes,” until he wants a real commitment from me?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Lewis and Hathaway

They walk together,
The kind man and the pilgrim soul,
Through the dream clad city
(Where the heart is always young,
And thirsty),
And every base desire
Is cloaked up in such sophistries
As dazzle Byzantium,
Confusing and alluring in a serpent dance.

Truth is always journey’s end
The difficult journey,
Obfuscated, obstacle,
And fraught with every fear.
All revelation
Reverts self-revelation just like Newton’s Law.
And who can bear such light?
Only humility
Can walk straight through the maze.

Here stars sing poetry,
Scientists meddle in subjectivity,
Historians flinch at facts,
We are all bent creatures,
Imagining the grasp of Sauron’s ring,
While Alice sits within the gliding boat,
And Narnia demands “Become a child!”

And so the kind man and the pilgrim do
What Oxford always does;
Sit, drink, and talk,
Until they reach the meeting of the minds,
The clarity which is felicity
And charity shall hold the torch up high.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

That was my Springtime

That was my springtime, then,
When tears washed my whole world clean
And watered in love made new.
Was that your springtime too?

That was my springtime, then,
When I first raised my eyes
And gazed into infinite blue.
Was that your springtime too?

That was my springtime, then,
Blossoms torn off by pain
But then new wonders grew.
Was that your springtime too?

That was my springtime, then,
Bleakness and shearing wind
And yet soft sun broke through.
Was that your springtime too?

That was my springtime, then,
All seemed so small and plain
And yet the wild birds flew.
Was that your springtime too?

That was my springtime, then,
When falsehoods thaw and wane
Learning that joy was true.
Was that your springtime too?

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Woman and the Whispers

Years ago she had learned to hold her head high amongst the whispers, even when her heart was breaking. They didn’t attack her directly, a priest’s wife had some status still, even a barren one, but she knew the hushed voices and the quickly averted eyes, the not-quite-hidden mockery. She knew it all, because her own heart was her fiercest critic. How could she have failed so badly when she had tried so hard? Why were her arms so empty when, every day, she saw careless women, shallow women, even pagan women, with babies in their arms?  Was there some secret sin for which the Lord had cursed her with an unfilled womb? There was a time when she had wondered if it were her husband, Zechariah, who was at fault, but he was a good man, who earnestly sought the Lord. It could not be him. Besides, hadn’t she been taught all her life that these things were a woman’s responsibility. And now that she was too old for any possibility of pregnancy it was all a settled misery that she showed to no one.

Then came the day when her husband came home from serving in the temple. His tongue was silent but his face was radiant, and when he tried to write out on a tablet what had happened to him, she wondered if he had gone mad. What was this talk of angels and babies, of unbelief and dumbness? She had no idea what to make of any of this, but it was troubling. It stirred up old wounds, and in the silence of the night she cried out to God.

But as the weeks passed, she noticed the changes in her body, changes that would have filled her with joy twenty or thirty years before. But now she was confused. How could she be pregnant now, when her fertile years had brought her nothing? Could she be imagining this, self-deceived by the very desperation of her longings? And what if she lost the child? Wouldn’t that just invite further scorn from the mockers, further whispers in the corner? For five months she hid herself away from public scrutiny, afraid; yet even as she felt the waves of doubt and fear roll over her, she felt something else as well – a whisper of joy that would not be silenced, but as the unborn child grew, it grew as well, a secret angelic hymn of praise in her heart. Despite her aching, aging limbs and the growing weight within her, she wanted to dance down the street and sing out to the gossips and the whisperers that her reproach had been taken away.

And when she was six months pregnant, the last whisper of doubt was silenced, for her cousin Mary came from Nazareth, with a story even more wondrous than her own, and at their meeting, the Holy Spirit came upon her and she understood, and cried aloud her wonder and her praise. And the child in her womb leapt in wonder and delight (could such a thing even be?), for he recognised his Lord and his messiah, and, even before birth he was committed to his role to be the forerunner to call Israel back to repentance, just as Elijah had done in his own time. For the King was coming.

And the two women, one old and one young, but both caught up into the glory of the same story, embraced and wept and went into the house together. There was so much they needed to talk about.

And the whisperers never troubled Elizabeth again

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Note to Abusers

Though you break them, they will rise
With stark knowledge in their eyes:
Terrible what they have seen,
Terrible where they have been,
But it is your soul that died,
Leaving raging lust inside.

Power is the drug you yearn
For the pain you won’t discern.
For the things you will not own
Play you like a gramophone
With a scratchy, broken tune
Howling to a silent moon.

Put in place your plastic smile!
It won’t hide the crocodile
Lurking just below your skin
Ravening for another sin,
This dark hunger won’t be fed
Till it eats you and you’re dead!

Every time you harm a child
You yourself become defiled

Friday, September 08, 2017

The Parable of the Plants

I was dreaming, and in my dream I saw a vast plain, stretching to the horizon.  A high wall of solid rock divided the plain, so that one side of the wall was in brilliant sunlight, and the other in perpetual shadow, with only a kind of twilight from the glow on the other side of the wall. All over the plain there were green plants. On the sunlit side the plants were not yet fully mature, but they were flourishing, and as they grew you could see that each plant was unique, bearing its own kind of fruit or flowers. Some were bushes, some were young trees, each of them had room to spread its branches, and all of them were beautiful.

It was different on the dark side. They had rigged up artificial lights to help them grow, but the wavelength of the light was wrong somehow, and the more they leaned towards these false lights, the more their growth was distorted. Some were taller, some were shorter, some were stronger, some were weaker, but none of them bore fruit. They blamed each other for their lack of growth. “You’re crowding me!”, or,  “You’re taking my space”, or “my soil” etc., were common complaints. Everything was competitive.

Every so often the word would go around that the only way to flourish was to be uprooted from the dark side and replanted on the bright side. Occasionally a plant would cry out “I surrender!” and a giant hand would reach down from the sky, pluck it out of the ground and transport it to the other side of the wall. Most of the plants around it would be horrified, it looked like a form of death, but sometimes another plant would be moved to cry out its surrender too, and be transplanted.

And as I watched, it seemed like time was speeding up, and the dark side was growing darker, and the bright side was growing brighter …

This was my dream, make of it what you will

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

I will thank

For the gentling of my days
For these moments in the sun,
Rainbow’s promise, spring’s caress,
I will thank the Holy One.

For hard truths that shaped my soul
Bitter tears and hopes undone,
Dreams that crashed and wings that smashed
I will thank the Holy One.

For the joy of simple things,
Gladness, merriment and fun,
Smiles like gifts across our days
I will thank the Holy One.

For the beauty of this world
Reaching out to pierce and stun,
Splitting wide my calloused heart
I will thank the Holy One.

For the promise and the peace,
All His suffering has won,
Mercy that will hold me fast
I will thank the Holy One

 For the wonder of such love,
Love that loved ere stars and sun,
Love forever and beyond,
I will thank the Holy One.

Monday, September 04, 2017

The Sad One

She had lost her freedom, and her honour, and now her child. Less than a year ago she had been a free woman, the honourable wife of an honourable man. But that part of her life was gone forever. One night had changed her destiny and ruined her hopes. And all because she was keeping the law …

It had been the time of her monthly purification, and she had been bathing herself, just as the law of Israel decreed. As she washed, she had been dreaming of her husband Uriah, and how she wished he was home with her instead of away with the army. But then, of course, he would not have been the man she loved if he had not put a high value on his duty.

She had barely finished drying herself and dressing, when there was a knock on the door. Surprised, she had run to open it (could it possibly be her husband?), only to find a messenger from the palace saying that King David wanted to see her. Bewildered (what could a man she had never met possibly want with her?), she complied. One does not disobey a king.

She should have known. In the months that followed she castigated herself frequently with those words. What did a man ever want with a woman? But would knowing have made any difference? One does not disobey a king. It was a night that shamed and confused her, but she resolved to think no more of it, especially since there was nothing she could do about it. But then she found that she was pregnant, and that changed everything. She would be disgraced if she bore a child when she had not seen her husband for months. So she sent word to the king. She did not know what he could do, but the whole situation was his responsibility, and he must somehow make it right.

She was not quite sure of the sequence of events that followed – men did not take women into their counsels. She heard rumours that her husband had been summoned to the palace, but he did not come near her, and she tossed through sleepless nights wondering what was happening. Then they sent her a message that Uriah had died in battle, and she was to come and join the king’s harem. Again, what could she do? Her honour might be saved (was there honour in a king’s harem?), but she wept for her husband, now lost to her forever, and that she would never again be mistress of her own home.  And she wondered what exactly David had done, though perhaps it was better not to know.

And now this child, whose coming had disrupted her whole life, was dead. She had lost everything.  Sure, there was every luxury here, but what was that compared to freedom? Her heart questioned and her soul wept. Her honour and her self-respect lay in tatters. She did not imagine that God himself would restore her and lift her up to be part of the lineage of the Messiah who was to come.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Way Back

One more step
Then another
No! This really is too hard!
Pause …
Rest …
But I can’t stay here,
Here is no place to stay,
And I don’t want to waste the steps I’ve taken.
Pause …
Think … yes, pray!
On a journey as impossible as this
Prayer becomes necessity, like breath,
I breathe in Hope, I breathe out all my fear,
And tears will wash the signposts.

See, a few more steps
Taken, that I hardly noticed,
Breathing, praying,
One foot following the other,
And look how far I’ve come!
But oh!
Look how far I have to go!
Breathe … pray … and weep …

Nobody told me about the angels.
I cannot name their faces, but I feel their touch,
In the helpless chasm of night
When serenity has fled
They are there beside me
And I know in my not-knowing.

This is a difficult climb!
Someone once said, “The descent to Avernus is easy”.
They forgot to mention
That the climbing back
Will scrape off all your skin until you quiver
Like a newborn creature, bare before the world.

Somehow I continue.
I have turned aside and then retraced my steps
Too many times to count.
I am all done in
And yet, each day, somehow,
I have moved forward
On this narrow path whose bourne I do not know
Except it is the only way to go.

Sometimes I see,
In dreams most glorious, my Father’s house,
Waiting there still,
But is there love for me?
But the stranger things become,
The more familiar
The path becomes.
I can almost taste
The bread on my Father’s table.
Why do I see
A nail-scarred hand hold out the wine for me?

And the angels whisper
I am almost home. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Some Lines on the Present Situation

Always, I want to run and hide,
To cover my eyes and my ears
To disengage
From the hopeless task of rebuilding the world in Love.

This is no time for silence
No time for averted eyes, walking past on the other side,
Caught in the moral vice, we must stand for truth.
And we must kneel and pray.

We must pray for our brothers
And sisters
Churned in the chaos of the times,
We must pray for them all,
For those who care, and those who can care no more,
And those who have never cared.
Seared to the heart by the flame of their own anger,
Calcified by fear,
Consumed, by themselves till nothing remains but pain,
We pray for them.

We pray for those who have never known justice,
The squeezed and the crushed, left bleeding by the side,
And no one stops to help,
The forgotten ones, embarrassing by existence,
Reminding us how shaky are our thrones.
We pray for them.

We pray for those whose skin or sex is wrong,
Forever despised for being who they are:
Broken like us, yet in God’s image made.
We pray for them.

We pray for those we will never understand,
Whose souls are set on an alien trajectory,
Whose words and actions confuse us,
Whose intentions make no sense.
We pray for them.

We pray for those who are vulnerable,
Who watch each story on the news
As the prey watches the predator
Hoping to stay unexposed.
We pray for them.

We pray for ourselves, that we will find fidelity
In a world that is wildly unfaithful,
That we will find that holy ground
Where Truth and Love are joined
And stand there while the waves of chaos swirl;
That we will find our voices
And speak out holy words,
Silencing our own fear to speak
The words that heal the world.
We pray, we pray …

And may God have mercy on us all.

Monday, August 07, 2017

The Vine

The sun beat down on him while he sat there, sweltering in his rage. The whole thing had been a fiasco from beginning to end, just as he knew it would be. That was why he hadn’t wanted to go in the first place. He knew that was how it would end up, and it just wasn’t fair. If Israel were God’s chosen people, why should God give second chances to their enemies? He had done everything he could to avoid this happening – running off towards Tarshish (that didn’t end well – for the rest of his days he would shudder in horror whenever he remembered that time in the fish’s belly!) and then giving the prophetic message as bluntly and negatively as he could. He need not have bothered trying to resist. The Ninevites had repented, and God was going to spare them. It simply wasn’t fair.

But then, feeling almost idiotic, he realised that if he just moved a little bit, he could at least be out of the fierce heat, which was already unbearable so early in the morning.  A vine had grown, and was providing lovely shade as the sun rose higher in the sky. He was sure it wasn’t there yesterday. Ah well, if it had grown overnight, miraculously, then God still had a care for him. Maybe if he waited a few days longer, God would destroy Nineveh after all? He stretched out in the shade and waited …

The next morning, the sun was hotter than ever, but where was his shade? He looked around and saw that the vine which had been so generous yesterday, had withered up and shrivelled overnight. He looked closer. Some insect, some hideous creeping thing, had gnawed at it overnight and destroyed it, and even now was happily munching at its base. He was angry: angry for himself that he was once more exposed to the pitiless, scorching sun, but there was something else as well. He realised that he was actually angry for the sake of the vine itself, which had been his benefactor, and, for its pains, had been remorselessly devoured.

It was then that God spoke, and the message was so clear that Jonah found himself weeping.  There he was, feeling a terrible pity for a mere plant, eaten up because that is the fate of plants. Meanwhile, if he, a mere human, felt such compassion for a mere vine, how did the God of all compassion feel about that great city spread out below.  Sure, there were sinful men and women there, given over to cruelty, idolatry and every form of depravity. But even if such a merciful God ignored their repentance, and God was always merciful to the penitent, they weren’t the only ones to be considered. What about the little children, too young to know their right hand from their left, let alone commit any evil? Even the domestic beasts of the Ninevites were worth more pity than a mere vine!

And Jonah bowed his head, there was nothing left to say.

Monday, July 31, 2017

This Silence (Be still and know)

This silence drips,
Cold and wet,
Like leaves after rain,
Like the rusted corners of gutters,
Softening the frozen core
In the centre of my heart.

This silence screams,
Through my quivered, straining senses,
Though nothing has moved,
At all,
In this breathless place.

This silence shines
Like a dark pool,
A catalogued mirror
To the chatter of my soul
Reflecting things that,
Never see the light of day.

This silence climbs,
Like a tearing vine
Across the crumbling edifice
I have to call my pride:
Demolishing, yet holding me,
At one and the same time.

This silence calls
A name I do not know,
A new identity.
I strive to hear,
Reaching down,
Falling deeper
Into silence.

This silence changes
The things I thought I knew.
My eyes torn
From the immediate,
While in darkness,
With a splendour that brings tears.

This silence holds,
And wraps me in your peace
I still don’t understand.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Jazz Concert

Notes like a beach ball
Tumbling and turning,
Stripping the silence,
Hard sound coruscates.
Splitting the spectrum
To shatter and sing:
Music in waterfall,
Dancing cascades.

Structure devolving,
A cubist re-forming,
Soft with sharp edges
And melody flowing
Through bottomless vessels,
Yet still holding shape.

 Then to rebuild
With layers of balance,
Negotiate gravity
In letting go:
Waiting complexity’s
Strange resolution.

Transcend the minor key
Echo of emptiness,
Streams that flow over stones
Seeking the sea.
Fulfilled in fullness
Go bold into silence
Fracturing angel songs
So humanly.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Beyond Hope

There was no hope, or so I believed. She was so ill, my sweet little daughter. My wife had already given up and hovered by the bed waiting for the final breath, wrapped six miles deep in gloom. It was stifling; it was unbearable. I have always been a man of action, a man does not get to my position by wishful thinking, and I had to act. When the usual things do not work, you try the unusual things, even the risky ones if you are desperate enough, and I was desperate. To see that precious life snuffed out would be like helplessly watching the sun set knowing it would never rise again. I have always been a pious man, a ruler of the synagogue, so I cried out to God, and, within the space of a breath, I remembered the Teacher from Nazareth.

I had heard he was nearby, so I flung on my cloak and went forth to seek him. It wasn’t difficult, I only had to follow the noise of the crowd, and there he was, unmistakable, at its centre, while the people thronged around him, each one wanting something from him. Well, I couldn’t fault them for that, I desperately wanted something from him as well. People recognised me and let me through, and before I knew what I was doing, I found myself prostrate at his feet, begging him to come and heal my little one – I who had never begged any man for anything before! He looked into my face as if he were searching my very soul, and immediately agreed.

We made slow progress through the crowd, with everyone wanting something from him as he passed, but he stayed focused on me except for one incident with a woman who touched him. I was inwardly screaming with impatience, so I didn’t follow exactly what went on, but I said nothing, because I didn’t dare offend him.

And then, when we were properly on our way, some of my own people met us, and told us we were too late, she was already dead. It was as if my heart left my body and plunged into an abyss of darkness. But the Teacher seemed quite unperturbed, he turned to me and said, “Don’t be afraid, only believe.” I wondered what I was supposed to believe, but I was too shattered to say anything, and simply, blindly, kept going with him. He let no one else, except 3 of his disciples, come any further with us.

He swept into the house and dismissed the mourners and all their cacophony, telling them that she was not dead, only asleep, and they laughed at him; but though they offered him only the bitter laughter that one gives to the lunatic pedlar of impossible hopes, they scattered when he told them, and I marvelled, briefly at his authority. Greater marvels were to come, though, for he bent over my little one, took her hand and bid her to rise. And it was as if the dawn came while the sunset still lingered in the sky, for she rose from her bed and walked, and hope walked into our lives again, a doorway into glory.

And then, in the most ordinary way possible, he told us to give her food.

And I began to glimpse that, somehow, in this one man, heaven and earth had joined together. It was much later before I fully understood.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Georgia O'Keeffe

How you disturb me:
The curve of your flowers,
The intimate spaces,
Where beauty detours;
The visceral spaces
Vicissitude traces,
Engaging. Engulfing
And yet love endures.

Through light and darkness
The spirit, not soaring,
But delving, in wonder,
To compass the small.
Near is the courage
And fearless the forging:
Owning, and gaining
And compassing all.

What are you saying?
To whom are you speaking?
How you do challenge
And make your paint sing!
Nothing is static,
Arrived, or arriving.
Journey to stillness,
But carry a sting!