The vultures circle
in cloudless sky,
glinting, beady eyes
fix upon the corpse.

But this is flesh
imbued with life,
not cast aside for scavengers
on a pilgrimage of plunder
but held, lifted, shown
to poor, to meek, to voiceless,
to those that would never ask
let alone take.

The golden surround
pales in the presence of His glory,
so small and white,
behind the glass
yet never contained.

It is the scaffold for my spirit,
in one moment, support
in another,
the place of my execution
as man must die
in His gaze
to be lifted, like Him
with Him.

(Written 18.VI.17)


The World

It clamours for attention
jostling an already whirring mind,
peering out from life’s train carriage
eyes unable to fix on a single spot
as the world zips past
all a blur.

There is nothing to do
but force eye lids closed,
breath deeply
and lean hard upon the static soul,
that pillar within,
rooting me to the spot.

Here is begins
the restoration of the divine image
tarnished by disordered attachment,
exhausted from futile attempts
to chase manufactured contentment

And all the while
ignoring the silent action
taking place within,
drawing this fragile human frame
back home

(Written: 1.VI.17)

Of your Charity

Before the blueprint was drawn
and the scaffolding erected
in the cosmos,
before the innocent infant earth
had made her first cry
as she birthed,
He whispered through time
through the chaos,
carefully corralled,
and endowed me
with my vocation.

The universal calling
to join the anarchy of love,
fierce and unrelenting,
in the face of self-preservation.

But how?
who can achieve
so great a command?
What school can teach me?

None but He
who builds love
with his own flesh and blood.

(Written: 26.V.17)

The Annunciation

Whispered words
that shatter childhood innocence
she could not understand
let alone conceive.
Winged stranger,
scarce comfort.
Do not be afraid
but quake
the life you live
the life you bring
shall make nations fall.
Your heart breaks
pierced, torn.
Light burns,
aglow in the simple yes.

(Written: 25.III.17)

From the ashes

This is not a kingdom
sculpted from the ashes
but a Holy bastion
preserving the fire
of generations past.

God fearing men and women
who crucified their will
upon a throne of thorns
for Him, and Him alone
deeply held, richly lived.

To walk through gutters,
to stride through palaces,
to the rebuke of the powerful,
to the comfort of the poor.
The citadel of hope.

(Written: 14.III.17)


an absurd vaudeville
that aspires to dignity
yet flails in the shallows.
A tired cliche
of dog eat dog.
To grasp the sceptre
of manufactured power,
to attain the status
of superior illusion.
In to this,
this chaos
born, lived, died
He spoke truth
masked in riddles
that those blinded
by their own clawing fingers
may never see,
truth told in story
offered freely
costing everything

(Written: 22.III.17)
This was the first poem I ever publicly shared to a wider audience of more than one person. It was the first to be analysed as part of a poetry series. A very strange moment, reading back what someone reads into words yo have written. 


Solitary crow
on grey, slate roof.
Small speck within creation
loved by Him
beyond your means
beyond rank, or status or station.

Effortlessly you glide through life
under His watchful eye
safe in the knowledge that
creation returns to Him
when at last you die.

You do not know it
and yet you feel.
When I do not feel
but to me, it is known
you speak the divine language
of being made His very own.

(Written: 18.X.16)
On retreat in Belgium

A Monks Picture

Fence posts frame,
sturdy, strong
A gateway
to a world beyond.
Sprawling grassland,
broken by curtain of trees,
peeled back
to glimpse a city.
Water tower
grasps for heaven,
reaching to the heights.

First glance,
a simple image
yet somehow, more.
The monastic soul
Stable rule
guides chaotic soul
to heavenly realms,
to freedom…

(Written: 14.I.17)
Esther De Vaal lead a reflective day on Thomas Merton and brought some of his photographs with her. The image at the top of this post was the one I was given to reflect upon and write about. Holding one of his pictures in my hands was incredibly moving, and while I had to return it, this is what it left with me. 

Cathedral of the trees

Cathedral of the trees
the earths sanctuary
carpeted with moss,
birdsong offering worshipful chant
wearing preened feathers
of choir-dress plumage.
Dandelion acolytes,
ferocious sun-drenched yellow
carrying natures flaming torch.
No congregation gather
with forced acts of piety
but every passing creatures call,
each rustle  of leaf
or crack of branch
lifts a voice,
so often silenced by man,
to the creator.
Unseen acts of devotion
revealed  to those few
who walk the wooded cloister,
punctuated by the ordinary.

(Written: 19.V.17)
While on a pilgrim walk in Sweden

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