When Shakespeare met the Psalm

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

But I, am I unfinished, sent before my time?

I wonder why, am I, so different

And when you spy this simple shape

Malformed despite my parents’ intent

What do you make of me?

What of me do I make?

 

You see I am; alive in a body

that sometimes malfunctions

while I sit in a place of honour in functions

I want to run, quickly and take respite

behind a door that closes and makes me sure I am safe,

my forties have become my winter of discontent.

 

I relent.

I smile.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

But why did God down his tools

just before he finished his work.

When he formed my inward parts,

did he just start, get nearly there,

then stare and think well

fair enough that will do.

 

I am.  Am I,

fearfully and wonderfully made glorious?

this son of yours.

 

Poetically Challenged

I have felt estranged from poetry recently. Not so much by choice as by capacity and I’ve not written. Today, however, I was listening to Harry Baker perform “Weston-Super-Nightmare” here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p034jyb9?ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbc_radio_4&ns_source=twitter&ns_linkname=radio_and_music and it got me writing.

I feel the need of poetry

Hearing words strung together so rhythmically

I recall poems of strangers whose tales have undone me

as their voices melodically took shape within me.

I cannot explain, if you do not feel,

what it is that makes sense of this.

I cannot heroically stand before you

and deliver the words of genius

their recitation that prophetically

tells stories of the ordinary.

I’ve listened to tales of failed loved,

unexpected babies,

hairy men and dinosaurs

of elicit encounters,

love described as a walk on beaches;

of bodies and birds and things more absurd

and I am humbled more by every verse and meter.

Who am I to somehow bring together

all the things that make me wonder.

While I feel I can never aspire to such linguistic heights.

sometimes my words themselves conspire and give me hope.

The Well Dressers

It’s meticulous.

Gathering up the shades of earth

they cover the dull grey

with a beauty that emerges in slow motion.

Theirs’ are the hands of the Creator,

though not from nothing does this world they make evolve

but from tender attention and patience

that refuses to be frustrated.

Petals settled into clay,

they form a movement in their stillness;

their obedience is astounding,

their applause rapturous.

Sand becomes walls.

Seeds gently detail, define

the end of one and the beginning of another.

Together, the picture unfolds.

And over days and through their hours,

the collected become again

regarded as something

they were never expected to be.

This is the tradition,

the well dressers’ mission:

from earth’s humble offering

to create a sign of thanksgiving.

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Imagine a Garden (Maundy Thursday 2)

Imagine a garden. Is it what you thought it would be

when the sun was stolen and the son knelt down

amidst the discarded leaves and unsprung life.

Your eyes close but not in prayer,

you stare into the void of night

and sight dims with fatigue.

You clasped your hands, the same hands

that had grasped the cup of wine

just hours before; they still tremble.

Your voice raises no cry to heaven

instead the melody of sleep permeates the air

as the heir to the kingdom searches God.

Take this cup, this suffering, this night and tomorrow

if only you will, but still your will not mine be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Will you drink from this cup? (Maundy Thursday 1)

It’s ruby sweetness is tempting,

for a moment at least,

until you remember the depth of this cup.

One quick shot will not drain it

as it runs over not with delight,

but with the possibilities of pain.

He gave it, it was not a trick

and yet he had let slip that this cup

was not one to sip from lightly.

To drain it would cost everything,

and so with trembling hands you receive

but can you yet believe?

And did those feet? (Palm Sunday)

O.K. I’m not writing prolifically at the moment but I have done a few poems for Holy Week. I’ve been working with a church member who is an artist and photographer in church and her work got me writing. Starting with Palm Sunday:
what if those feet had walked here,
on these cobbled tracks.
what greeting would have welcomed him
in the market place and street.
as those above and those below
watched his steady journey
could we have considered what part we’d play
with branches from trees barely budding
And as he passed the bank machine
and people waited for money
would anything have changed
still a closed sign on the Nat West building.
An empty glass of beer watches from a window sill
as the king of kings passes by
and church doors close
for a private morning ceremony.
Are there shouts?
Is there rushing and excitement
or just another passing moment
no-one quite noticed?
And if those feet in modern times
had walked not upon the mountains
but down the streets of our town
would his steps pass silent?
and in this green and pleasant land
what would be built by human hand
that will not decay, pass away,
as he goes on, leaving our Palm Sunday.
And the crowds did not gather for him,
no one welcomed or adored him,
but the cobbles cried his name
shouted his praise for no one came.

Saint Joyce

One of those Church Saints died this week, This is for her. 

She didn’t look like you’d expect

and she did not perform miracles to order

but in her company disorder

was re-ordered

into a kind companion.

Her voice was more the still small sound of heaven

on earth,

she did not shatter

but gently bathed her listener with the kindest of words.

She will not be recalled by the writers’ of history

and yet,

yet,

she is the saint who sat and watched

over a beloved community for God.

Not as mother superior but as a superior mother,

who does not pass unregarded.

Her seat sits empty and yet I look up and see her watching over,

praying for sister and brother.

Writer’s Block

For a long time now I have struggled to write poetry. A while ago I expressed this, with some irony, in a poem! I publish it tonight only because I have written again tonight in memory of a church member who died this week.

I’m looking for words

but they have slipped inside the sofa,

hiding beside the remote

my hand touches one before the others.

the words remain abandoned

in the accumulated debris until they are

accidentally,

with purpose,

dragged neglected into the woven dust and fir

that swirls.

I have a dyson.

Confused, they are choked then binned.

I sinned, I discarded them

and did not let them sit beside each other on the page

where they would have had a meaning

not before prescribed for them.

Providence would have lured these words,

these letters so arranged

to a new home.

Instead they are crumbs that will not be gathered

except by the bin man.