Holiness is not innocence
Though characteristics converge
 But the hard won response
 To redemption.
 It is the road less travelled 
Marred with ditches and shingle 
To catch the ankle, to cut the foot 
Twisted, strained, cut, bloodied
It is the aggressive pruning 
When the vine fails to flourish 
Or fruit
Ripping out weeds by the root 
Diverting their stolen nutrients
Back to growth 
It is the antiseptic 
Running amok in the infection 
Of the wound. 
It it is not mine to grant 
But His 
But I must lift my voice 
Cry out with heartfelt sorrow 
For my sins of the flesh
 For when I’ve followed 
Too closely 
The ways of the world
 and danced with the fallen 
Without  fear or thought. 
So I scream 
And tear out All that draws me, 
Has ever drawn me, 
Away from Him. 
There is no magic 
To repair the ruts and rifts 
Made by my own action 
That lacked merit or moral 
Or kindness or courage
All I can do 
Is repent 
And make new



The silence of sacrifice
Before the altar, in flickering
candle light.
Your gaze and grace
cast large across the ordinary
elements of bread,
true flesh, of wine,
pure blood.
Saints stock still in
mortal fragments,
sentinels of sanctity
guides to eternity.
Whispered prayers of the chapel
echo in haven, in orchestral majesty
as winged seraphs dance
in defeat of the Devil,
as holy light routs
corrupt darkness of clandestine foes.
For this moment is more,
more than mere seconds
of escaping time, but
a fraction of, a glance into

(Written: 2.IX.20)

Our Holiness

Well worn images of bonafide saints
or white haired women, wizened and wise
with wrinkled hands on bibles or beads,
grandmother, godmother, Our Lady.
little churches, gathered community,
coloured clothes, high hair and cook outs,
hushed anticipation, before the Mass,
before the word, between the devotions,
seeking, ever seeking, to become
like God, the God of love, pure.
His voice, cutting through the chaotic
calming calumny and raiding the depths,
Sanctuary lamps that flicker
in spaces, beyond the edge of the present
in His perfect desire, for us.
Morning prayer as dawn breaks,
evening prayer at the close of day,
the forming of holy habits, rhythms of peace
Embodied in the ordinary, overflowing from their hearts,
Popes and paupers, Ryle and Newman,
the Wesley’s words to His melody.
True beauty demanding attention,
A constant crazing to gaze at God,
to glimpse His face, His ways, His Kingdom.
In pursuit of the seemingly impossible
and yet with Him, within our grasp,
our call, our mission, our baptismal gift,
in total difference to our surroundings.
The hard won joy or pure peace,
so simple to see and complex to achieve.
But bare feet before the tabernacle,
dwelling with Him on holy ground,
and perambulated pilgrimage paths
This is it, our holiness.
Ours because of Him.

(Written: 7.VII.20)

My Lady

You throw your mantle over me
that I may
be invisible, to him,
who prowls and seeks my soul.
So he sees only you,
and dare not approach.
I am safe, swaddled,
as you have done before
that night, that most holy night.

When I stumble, which I do
and fall, you leap
from your throne and grab me,
hauling me aloft, nothing broken
nothing lost
my pride soothed by your humility
true lessons of a mother.

What I have failed Him, which I have.
and been the ambassador of my ego
rather than standing in the court
of the king, and the palace seems far-off
You point the way and stride ahead
dragging me to heaven by your hem.

And so I cling, to you, to Him
Blessed Lady, Holy Mother.
Help me, Help me to enter in.

(Written: 23.VI.20)

A Still Moment

(Picture: ‘A Still Moment’ by Michael Cook)


Alone, she stands
Head bowed, and hands
upon the womb the bore the Word
The folded linen of life,
hallowed by her touch,
sanctified by her care,

The crisp, white sheets
once wrapped around an innocent babe
will mop the blood, dropped,
from broken skin and tattered flesh.
Discarded in the dirt.

Wind whipped washing,
and her eyes close.
She hears the child’s cry
for the breath of the world
she hears the man’s cry
screaming for its salvation.

Cloth dabbed knee,
tussled hair of weeping boy.
Dusty from his fall.
Limp lank hair of a silent man
lifeless in her lap, caked,
in hallowed blood.

Cloth bands of necessity
make hay his home, as,
he softly sleeps.
grey hewn rock, hastily,
a temporary tomb, for
He shall return.

Delicate smile plays,
across her grief worn face.
clean clothes, stain free.
Hallowed life, sinless, pure.
Both transfigured, both in Grace.
In the domestic chapel
of her heart.

(Written: 10.V.20)

This poem is inspired by the beautiful picture ‘A Still Moment’ by the artist, Michael Cook.  His website is http://www.hallowed-art.co.uk where prints and originals are available of many of his artworks.

Upon the Holy Mountain

God of rock,
of stone and clay
of craggy outcrops
and sun drenched valleys,
of wild grass
and ripe peaches.
Of artisan handiwork
carved in stone,
hammered out in metal,
polished in precious gem.
God of stitched velvet
and spun silk
of deep purple,
and royal blue.
God of letters
with unique monastic flare,
elaborate covers
and calf skin pages.
God of heavy set features
stoic in the face of uncertainty
but beaming in welcome.
Of hospitality
of fresh vegetables
and warm bread.
God of domed churches
Cross shaped
pointing heavenward,
of sacred chant
and simple decor.
Of candles and images
and the Blessed Virgin.
God of mountains.
God of Armenia.



(Written: 13.IX.19)

Upon the Cross I gazed

I gazed upon your cross today
upon your body,
writhing in torment
frozen in time.
Your face in perfect agony,
your shoulders slumped
under the weight of a fallen world.
Arms outstretched
in the ultimate embrace.
I gazed upon your cross today
the cross that casts its long shadow
over my very life.
That all I am,
all that I could be,
is somehow fixed upon it.
My own arms outstretched
in priestly blessing
and Eucharistic sacrifice
to relay all that you have done.
I gazed upon your cross today
where at the foot your mother is
clinging and crying
her broken sobs for her broken son,
and your words hand heavy in the air.
Behold your mother
My mother, Our mother
and my heart breaks, with her
for her, as she becomes my own.
I gazed upon your cross today
and then in shame
I had to look away.
I had to look away.

(Written: 4.IX.19)

To graze sacred cows

Voices of children
heavy with mirth, with laughter
mingle in the air and cascade
into my ear, punctuating my prayer.
The lush green park
of their rejoicing
holds a mirror to my soul,
the playground of humanity,
in which he slinks.
The enemy of all.
Who drowns our silent music
with the noisiness of sin
and disturbs solitude
by grazing sacred cows,
their lowing, a hallelujah
to fallen faith.
But in the cool of the day
there walks the saviour,
barefoot, brazen,
scant regard for the trickery,
the deceit, the lies.
And I see Him.
All at once I am nothing
yet because I see Him
I am everything
as He demands.
The mirror shatters
and with it
the illusion
of the false self,
with cultivated superficial
prayers to the god of ego.
And all is undone
as life becomes
a true hermitage
of Holy Joy.

(Written: 2.VIII.19)

(This poem is inspired by Thomas Merton’s work on the false self and his understanding of contemplative prayer, as truly practiced, as opposed to merely being quiet)

A Woman Bleeds

The woman
betrayed by blood
life force bringing death.
In desperation,
flings herself
into the dust
upon His mercy.
Stretching, reaching
that one finger tip
might brush a single strand
of His cloak.
That power may leap
from the sanctified to the sinful,
to wash her, clean her
with His own blood.
And not because she touched,
not because of
but by her faith,
her ardent desire
to reach Him.

(Written: 8.VII.19)

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