Advent Hope

Do you mean it?
When you say
‘my Lord and my God’
Do those words sink
deeply into heart
and soul,
or echo around
with hollow resonance
in a puffed up chest.

His call, His command
is seldom comfortable
but will drag you
kicking and screaming
from the security of delusion.
Away from the idolatry
that places at the centre
and nothing more.

This is not a scratch,
or pin prick,
or even an thorn in flesh
but an amputation.
You’ll learn to walk
striding in light
not skulking in shadow.

But first,
the heart must want
the soul to grow.
And grow it shall,
pushing through rocky ground
with tender shoots
of Advent hope.
Reaching, not upward,
but outward
to Him
who comes amongst us

(Written: 8.XII.17)



Advent One

Every time I look at you
I’m pierced by celestial gaze
of ancient time,
from afar,
but pause with expectation
in intimate knowledge
that soon,
you shall be here.

Bearing down upon creation,
snatching our humanity
to yourself.
Yet not clinging
but preparing
to give all up.

Before you come,
contained in flesh,
wrapped in glory
the corners of my soul
are exposed.
The cleansing breath
disperses cobwebs,
disrupts detritus,
with a blast of the divine.
The same breath
to be expelled from the lungs
of the Christ Child.
Awake, alive, incarnate.

(Written: 3.XII.17)
First Sunday of Advent


A Letter to my Brothers

they will call you
in anguish.
When the pains too much to bear,
when the cross He has given
crushes body, crushes spirit.
But like the saintly Cyrene
you cannot take it from them
but roll up your sleeve,
steady your chest.
Lean in and lift
that respite, brief, may be theirs.

They will call you
when mother falls,
her frail frame diminished,
her impending mortality
brings home their own
in full reality.
Wide eyed and scared
and guilty for selfish feelings.
Steady your shoulder.
Lean in and wait
that the tears, many, may be shed.

They will call you
when eyes have met
across a crowded room
and the springtime of their love
has bloomed and blossoms.
She will walk toward you
in white, and gleaming
to be given by you to him.
Steady your heart.
Lean in and smile,
that their joy, immense, may be shared.

They will call you
when full term is reached
and the agony of birth abates.
The pangs give way to wonder
through tiredness and trepidation
and he is to meet his family.
Steady your hand.
Lean in and pray,
that their child, glowing, may be greeted.

Reach into your cassock.
Produce ‘kerchief, prayer card and cross.
Reach into yourself.
Bring forth His wisdom, strength and grace.
Be present and be prepared,
to pour yourself out for them, for Him

They will call you,
They will call you Father

(Written: 30.XI.17 & 1.XII.17)

21st Century King


Fast paced
rushing by
distilling gossip
from glossy magazine,
downloading private lives
as office chatter,
focus fixed on false kings
of rock and roll,
or jungle tasks.
These twenty first century monarchs
regin supreme,
famed visage
selling material comfort,
as we race
to snatch that crown
and bestow it
upon our desire,
our ambition, our whim.
Anointing them king
above all.

In quiet church
Christ waits.
Whispered words
of coronation
announce His presence.
His subjects kneel
and cast their crowns
before His feet
and surrender themselves
and their makeshift monarchy
to Him,
for it is better
to be a vassal
of the heavenly state,
than a tiny potentate
of a personal principality
that shall crumble to dust.

(Written: 26.XI.17)




Meditation on The Holy Family


Meditation on ‘The Holy Family with S John the Baptist’ by Carracci

The child of prophecy
manifest in squirming babe.
The voice,
he who will cry in the desert
lays his eyes upon
the one of whom he’ll speak.
Child of God,
clutches the ripe apple
as though to snatch up
that original transgression,
taken to Himself.
The weight of glory,
in solid white halo,
sits heavy on His brow.
He shifts uncomfortably in the skin
of his fragile creation.
The delicate mother,
with cradled arm,
supports His humanity.
She who gave Him incarnate life
will teach Him how to live,
master becoming student,
a world turned upside down.
And then
His reflected glory
teaches her to live, forever.

(Written: 6.X1.17)

All Hallows

The flame that flickers gently,
in an otherwise dark church.
Muted congregation gather,
hushed anticipation,
that tonight, this night,
we might see the veil part,
for just a moment.

Outside in the street,
awash with miniature skeletons,
diminutive ghouls, tiny witches,
chanting Trick or Treat,
Bells ringing, doors knocked,
garden gates swing closed.

Some peek out through curtains,
artificially blacked out house,
lips pursed disapprovingly,
at this apparent pagan display.

Yet, the church has gathered,
to pray for those long dead,
to remember their love, their life,
to speed them toward the throne room.

There upon the altar,
held aloft in the priests hands,
is He who cheated death,
slipped out of the eternal grasp,
of the bony fingered reaper,
to rise, to live, to reign.

He who has look Satan in the eye,
is not perturbed by plastic skulls,
or monster painted faces,
So He will appear,
to greet His flock,
this All Hallow’s Eve.


(Written: 30.X.17)

Ordinary Saints

I sit and gaze
at those holy men and women.
They are not,
as you may think,
the pious pastors
or son soaked virgins
laying incorruptible
in venerated tombs
or leaping from
illuminated manuscripts
in ancient tomes
or those encased
in lead lined stained glass.

Not even are they
the collared priest
at the altar
uttering sacred verse
or the devout old woman
who clutches her  crucifix
on crowded tube train.

But it is him
who hurriedly signs on
with job seekers
save being sanctioned.

It is her
who makes the choice,
agonising as it is
to forgo her food
that her baby can eat.

It is him
who sheepishly steps out
from an addicts centre
having taken a tumble
off the wagon, again.

No outward devotion,
no luxury of time
to ponder higher things,
but every breath
a desparate prayer
for there to be
more to life than this.

They are the saints
of the ordinary,
for they dwell with Him,
Our Christ
of the breadlines

(Written: 6.X.17)

Memento Mori

I trudge
between granite markers
having strayed
from comfortable pathways.
I tread a fine line
between life and death,
between this world and the next.
My presence is nothing
but a haunting reminder
to those long dead
of a mortality
that was once theirs.
Carefully carved letters
upon these monument stones
call out to those still breathing
that those below,
bodies long gone,
shall be raised up
in the fullness of time.
‘He ran the race’,
‘He sleeps in peace’,
‘He is bathed in light’.
The memories of active faith
contained in dormant body.
This is not a testament
to the power of the reaper,
for these stones signal
the undying spark
of life divine,
waiting in darkness
for that glorious dawn
when we are called home.
Remember you must die,
to truly live.

(Written: 4.X.17)

Holy Cross

Ground breaks around the roots
the sky is pierced by mighty arms
sunlight impeded by rich canopy
hard bark preserving life within.

Axe and saw arrive,
biting and gnawing
at the time aged trunk.
Sap and sweat,
from tree and man,
visuals of destructive exertion.

Calm of the forest crushed,
beneath the toppled tree,
as the ground reaches up
to catch this fallen hero.

Plane and blade,
scurry across the surface,
eating away like swarming ants
Iron nails driven through,
wood conformed to unnatural shape.

Dragged from the forest,
cast to the ground,
now with body upon,
broken and bleeding.
More nails,
flesh and wood alike,
marred by their downward thrust.

Ropes and muscle pull,
once again the tree aloft.
Not life from seed,
but death from sin,
as the innocent force of life
is snuffed out upon that cross.

Darkened skyline,
masks the removal of flesh,
wood marked with blood.
With the dawn,
green shoots push through,
breaking out from crimson stains.
New life.

(Written: 14.IX.17)

Up ↑