Category Archives: Poetry

Light in the darkness


Lord, how gloriously the moon reflects the light of the sun,
Dispelling the darkness of the night.
How dark the night is when the moon fails to pitch.

Lord you call us to reflect the glory of your Son.
How dark the world is when we move out of sight of you,
When we have no light to give but our own.

[This prayer was inspired by a recent full moon and a sermon on mission]

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I Hear The Softest Whisper


Another deeply moving offering from Flor at Circuspectives

Circuspectives

You must know that I love you
You must know that I care
Even if it feels sometimes
That I am far away
You must know that I am near
 
Your whispers may be soft and tiny
But even if they are as light as gossamer wings
They will reach me as sure as the snowflakes fall every winter
And summer leaves turn a golden red
 
You may think I am out of reach
If you picture me on a heavenly throne
But I am right here with you
So you can whisper in my ear
And know I will hear you
Like the flowers when they speak
So silky sweet

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Spring at the Edge of Winter: a Visit to the Mountains


We saw swallows skimming the surface of the pond,
kissing their reflection as their wingtips played ‘dare’ with the ripples.

We saw mountains huddled under blankets of snow,
reaching out hopefully towards the strengthening sun.

We saw trees, deserted by their leaves,
caught between Winter that had stripped them bare
and the promise of Spring’s new clothes;

Buds paused at the tips of branches
waiting for the warmth that would set them free.

We were onlookers;
revelling in the splendour that surrounded us;
re-created by the beauty of this time between seasons.

Oh to look, to enjoy, but not to touch;
because too much of what we touch turns to dust.

When we take what the universe is not ready to give,
we destroy and are destroyed.
When we receive the abundance the universe offers,
we are recreated and there is more than enough for all.

 

Sparked by a visit to Moorcroft Manor, Himeville in the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg.

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Stephen Hawking and Life after Death


Science is a wondrous thing, it questions how and when.
It tells us who, and what came first, and things beyond our ken.
Big Bangs and Quarks, Black Holes and such; the darkness is repealed,
And ignorance is banished by the evidence revealed.

Quite soon there’ll be no hidden things; Higgs boson will be found;
And closed doors will be opened by this ‘particle of god’.
One question still remains beyond where scientists like to go.
“It’s not important, quite absurd.” But still we want to know.

The question that’s ignored is, Why? What purpose could there be
In you and me, in life and death, and all we do and see?
Some think the universe is fickle, some think it quite benign.
But could there be behind it a creative force, divine?

Is love an accident, a love that lays no blame,
A love that’s unconditional, that has no selfish aim?
Love seems to contradict the laws of jungle, tooth and claw;
Love turns its back on Number One, puts others to the fore.

Survival of the fittest scorns a death upon a cross.
It makes no sense to suffer if it ends in such a loss.
Yet millions over centuries have claimed that death a sign;
And from that life of brokenness the whole world counts its time.

Inspired by Stephen Hawking who stated in a recent interview that “there is no heaven or afterlife… that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

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Too Busy to Listen


Listening is such hard work; waiting for the future to happen is so difficult. I struggle to get to retreats and quiet days. I’m too busy; there’s too much to get through; I want to read, to write, to learn, to do. But always, when I eventually do stop to listen, usually on a retreat or a quiet day, I am reminded (again) of how much I need to listen. The growth I strive for, the ability to serve, to preach, to be whatever God is calling me to be, will not come about by being pasted on to my life. It won’t come from reading more (although the seeds may be there); it won’t come from “wandering to and fro upon the earth”. It comes (for me at least) from within. It comes from listening.

I was privileged to spend a morning last weekend with Jim and Heather Johnston and about 30 or so friends at Beth Shalam, celebrating Jim and Heather’s ministry there over the past 20 years. The time has come for them to retire.  Many of those who were there had been to multiple retreats and quiet days over the years. Most had been through Jim’s Life Revision course (an eight-day retreat followed by two three-day retreats). All had been blessed beyond measure by the healing and nurturing that has been the mark of this home.

I have attended a couple of retreats at Beth Shalam. We are fortunate to be in the same city, just down the road, but I haven’t enjoyed the privilege as much as I could have. Then during last year (2010) I went through the Life Revision course. It was a transforming experience for me and, among other things, I began to write.

On this final, celebratory, retreat Heather pointed out that one can only harvest what has been sown; we bring out what is within us, what has grown there. I want my growth and my becoming to happen now, or at least by tomorrow morning. Perhaps one more book will do it….

Heather quoted from John O’Donohue’s meditation, “For One Who is Exhausted”. One line was particularly poignant for me: “The tide you never valued has gone out”.  Heather expanded on it saying that we often move too fast (in “the fast lane of nothingness”) and we get ahead of ourselves.

These thoughts distilled themselves into the following meditation during a quiet moment in the beauty of their wonderful garden.

O God of the mighty oak and the tiniest flower,
Of the soaring eagle and the wandering ant;
God of a future beyond my knowledge and beyond my reach,
Hold me to the present, its pain and delight.

I long to be an eagle, a significant oak,
But that longing consumes me and leaves me unfilled.
I am lost and ungrounded in a future that arrived too soon.
For the plant does not grow if the seed is not nurtured;
The harvest is barren and without any substance.

Lord, keep me from the fast lane of nothingness,
Hold me to the present, deep in the soil of your grace.
For it is here that the future takes root.

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Life in Desert Places


A Desert Meditation

Written during a Life Revision Workshop with Jim & Heather Johnson at Beth Shalam, Pietermaritzburg, August 2010

Isaiah 38:4b-8 GNB

“Be strong and don’t be afraid!
God is coming to your rescue, coming to punish your enemies.
The blind will be able to see, and the deaf will hear.
The lame will leap and dance,
and those who cannot speak will shout for joy.

Streams of water will flow through the desert;
the burning sand will become a lake,
and dry land will be filled with springs.
Where jackals used to live, marsh grass and reeds will grow.
There will be a highway there, called the Road of Holiness.”

Only in the desert,
Not in our self sufficiency and self reliance;
Not in our comfort zones, or our frenzied worship of the latest trends.

Only in the desert,
In the empty, uncluttered spaces;
Only in the desert,
A place of dying to the false self, a letting go of all that I cling to,
all that defines me, that gives me a sense of worth.

Only in the desert, when I recognise my blindness,
my inability to see, to understand, to be wise,
when I recognise my inability to speak, to bring words of wisdom, hope, and love,
when I recognise my lameness, my weakness, my need to be carried.

Only in the desert, when all that is false has died,
There in the depths of the desert,
The earth will rejoice,
Water will gush out of the rocks,
and sight and strength and speech will be given.

And what delight and celebration there will be
as we walk the path of life together;

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