Tuesday, 12 February 2013


Today my Love has returned to me.
The Love that is Life
and can know no death, yet died
for love of those who know not love.

Today my Love has returned to me.
My heart now bursts with life and joy:
the hope which had fled
is born anew and will not fade again.

Today my Love has returned to me.
He holds me in His arms and will not let me go.
God, who bled
and died for me heals my hurting heart.

The Harrowing of Hell

Today Light invades the darkness.
The darkness has no power
it can not understand the Lighti
it has no substance nor form.

Today the gates of Hell are broken.
Today Satan’s conceit is shown.
Today his petty power is overthrown.

The souls of the just cry out with joy:
“Welcome to Thee, Oh Christ our God!
Holy Divine One,
Holy Strong One,
Holy Immortal One:
Thou art come to deliver us
from out the grave
and to have mercy on us!”

Their trials are over. 
Their hope is fulfilled.
Their joy is complete. 
The new bearer of Light,
the True Day-Star, the Faithful One
the Lord of Life is come to them.

i“And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” [Jn 1:3 KJV]

Judas' Lament

Thirty pieces of silver, a slave’s price,
I took for the life of the Lord of Life.
Not out of greed, nor drear despite;
but out of love: twisted, yet bright.

I cared to be noted. 
To be a part of His world:
preferring lambent hate 
(not to be ignored)
to dim indifference; 
for she’s the truly frigid
antagonist of ardour’s heat. 

He blessed my bread
then, with gentlest deference,
He urged me on my way.
So with Him then I could not rightly stay,
and I stepped into the night:
not out of spite, nor sweet revenge;
but out of love: twisted yet bright.
I desired to affect Him.
To constrict Him to react to my brazen act.
Not to reject me: but account me
as a relevant and worthy opponent:
He knelt in prayer, his soul alight with fear and pain.
I gave him my kiss:
not out of treason, nor harsh betrayal;
but out of love: twisted yet bright.

He called me friend.
For me He’s to die.
Of love there is no greater token:
not kind caress, nor gentle word.
Now my heart is broken.
The silver pieces I did return,
redeeming the life I’d sadly sold:
not out of anger, nor wish to slight;
but out of love: twisted yet bright.

Now He is mine, as He hangs on high
and redeems my life from the grave.
Not out of need, or hope of gain;
but out of love: faithful and brave.

Palm Sunday

Into the City He rides; 
but not as conquering hero.
He rides not in majesty, 
but in soul-felt lowly sorrow.
He rides on a donkey’s foal 
caught up in the flow
of acclaim: of shallow 
celebrity and mirth,
His passion’s start will show
this fame’s full worth.
The eve of His last dark 
Passover draws nigh
and His sweet soul 
does languish with a sigh.

He knows full-well the fate 
of those who enter by this gate.
The prophets stoned, 
or cast down wells
to drown in irksome mud.i
He knows full-well His fate 
that’s set by entering this gate.
His body scourged and strung on high
to drain its Precious Blood.
He knows full-well the fate 
of sinners held behind the gate
of Hades – bound awhile – awaiting Him
to ’claim their hapless good.

We welcome Him 
with cheers and hollow hoots.
We greet our own expectations 
and sallow hopes.
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Hosanna liberating Prince!
Hosanna provider of our need!
Hosanna social reformer!
Hosanna to God’s prophet deer!
Hosanna kind and good teacher!
Hosanna wonder-working seer!
We cast our rags before his feet,
hoping that He’ll stoop and put them on
and what we most desire He’ll then become:
be re-made in our image, accept the gown
of our threadbare renown:
and justify our empty fabrication.

He passes by, ignoring our desires.
His eyes are fixed on a far greater prize:
His countenance incipient with glory:
the kind that’s only won through travail,
pain, passion, death and betrayal,
He is the spotless host:
the Lamb of God.
He alone may pass the veil.
He willingly enters the Temple.

Showing Himself to the priest,
He bows his head
and accepts the garland wreath
of our disaffected thorny wroth.
The sacrifice is now chosen,
the oblation sanctified:
the offertory complete and done.
iJer 38:5-6.


You laugh and my gut churns. 
I cringe before your mockery.
Your ridicule cuts deep, 
severing the bonds of breath and life.
Your careless disrespect is more than I can bear.
I desire your love: the bloody business of your heart
but all you care to offer me is bile.
I need your affirmation and regard
but you would rather me revile.

Satan laughs and darkness churns,
the world lies in dismay.
His despite rings through all the halls of men;
greed and hate and soft conceit:
the comedy of error and of ill
which he does pen and close direct,
with force of iron will.
This vale of tears for us is his dire cauldron vast,
where he does compound fell
and noisome brews, his pain to sooth at last.

God laughs at the plight of men:
the sorrow and betrayal,
the sickness and the pain,
the hardships and travail.
God laughs, not with mirth, but from sympathy:
not that God can know our woe
in His Eternal Being;
but that He’s ever present in our sorrow
and absurdity.
In that laugh God exceeds Himself
and falls for man from Heaven to Earth,
becoming one with us
and taking up the very comic role
which you and I and all our kin play out
and that had first brought forth His laugh.

We laugh and hate is spent
error and pain are overcome.
The wounds we have inflicted close
and healing can begin.
Now grappling can become a form of play,
not strife,
and all our wanton ways
be shown in purest light.
Laughter frees us from our sin
and all that locks us in,
binding us with false wisdom
and denying our necessary freedom.

I laugh and the whole Universe stands still,
the absurdity of life bounds forth
and will not rest until its sympathetic force
is spent. Empathy moves my bowels.
My heart is pulled towards the trials
and sufferings of my fellow men. Perforce,
I must else laugh or yet weep copious tears
of bitter, stinging woe: so I do choose to laugh.

Angelic Confusion

The Angels asked their Father God,
why gave He them a will so bold:
to choose glad life and death between:
the fire of Hell and light of Heaven.
Confused, they pondered it were best
that they had been constrainèd fast,
and held to good and wholesome life;
protected from the pains of strife
as clockwork watch is surely bound
to tell the time when wound.

For choice implies the bane of ill,
and ignorant mistake and fall,
and pain and mis’ry tightly held
(for comfort’s sake, if truth be told)
and none of all the host would dare
(not out of fear nor want of care)
assert their certain sight of right
(for all their power and all their might)
beyond a thirst and hunger barbed
that’s not so soon denied.
Better, ’twould seem to have at heart
an instinct: knowledge to impart;
to speak and powerfully direct
the will to all that’s just and right,
and ’gainst all choices curst and wrong.
Then joys would surely ’bout them throng
and sin ne’re mar the spirit bold
but all would be in concord held
by fearsome chains and fastest bond
of tutelage so fond.

“But there’s the snag, my fiery folk,”
their Heavenly Father gently spoke.
“If I held fast your wills by might
(as is my power and is my right)
what space would be for you to know
for your own selves; to see and show,
by trial dire, the right and wrong
of life: to feel within so strong
its pains and pleasures oh so dear
its clarion call so clear?”

“All you would know was slavery
arrayed in shrouds, most drear and grey.
Autonomy would ne’re be yours:
automatons you’d be, wills fixed by laws.
No proper understanding you would have
of woeful hate or wealthy love,
the cost or prize of selfish action
the bliss of righteous satisfaction:
never sound merit to accrue
nor joy of knowledge true.”

“And so, instead, I set you free
and take the cost and pain to me
Creator and Saviour, both Am I:
no callous clocksmith deity.”

“Else trust my word, heed what I say
and learn yourself the righteous way
or shun that path and take your own
though it be sad and makes you moan.
You can have life or death, you know:
choose life, I urge you now!”i
i“I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.” [Deut 30:19 RSV]

All Souls Day

Black vestments
pierced with silver thread:
a sombre testimony
of better times.

Mourners gather in feeble hope,
round Mother Church’s altar;
clutching with faithful hands
the offered straw.

A promise of absolution,
cleansing and healing.
A promise of resurrection
and life anew.
A promise of death’s abolition
and life’s resolution.

The healing flames of purgation
bring a strangely purifying pain.
They offer an end to years
of spasming self-preservation.

Those who would save their life
must set their life aside;
must forget themselves
and drain the bloody tide.
All are welcome to drink this cup.
All are worthy of this blessing.
All are one in this endeavour.

Pray for your dead.
Pray for your beloved,
for those you cordially disliked,
for those you coolly ignored,
for those you coldly feared,
for those you copiously hated.
Pray for all your dead.

In this you will find grace.
In this you will find your peace.
In this you will find salvation.
In this you will find release.

All Hallows E'en

The clocks stand still.
Time awaits the presence of the dead;
for whom time is no more.
Up from their graves,
sad souls arise;
restless and forlorn,
gruesome and grim,
unshriven and bereft of hope.
One night of scarce half-life
in a year lost to their ken.
The clocks stand still.

Children laugh, unaware of danger.
For them Samhain is a frolic.
They dress as witch and warlock,
dance widdishins
and call on Old Nick,
reckless of all meaning;
for their lives have no meaning.

They know nothing
of the grave’s clammy embrace;
of death’s cruel finality.
Their schooling
has exorcised their thinking.
Incessant marketing babble
has dulled their loving,
and spinning political messages
have eroded their trusting.

Old folk cower behind curtains,
dreading the door knock,
the knell of the bell:
“Trick or treat – what’s it to be?”
No-one calls otherwise,
in this land without friendship:
where cities are anonymous
and harbour no neighbours,
just ghosts;
where fear and hate hold sway:
fear of paedophile and rapist,
suspicion of Paki and Yid,
hatred of asylum-seeker
and queer.

We the living
are more truly
the dead,
or will soon be zombies;
if we do not bestir ourselves
from our self-satisfied slumber.

All Hallows Day

Church bells ring,
calling the faithful to worship.
The few respond,
dragging tardy feet over hallowed ground.
Candles gutter, signalling life and hope.
The remnant kneel in prayer,
lukewarm of faith and unwilling in love.

High in the uncertain firmament
trumpets blast out their joyous triumph
flambeaux proclaim their fearsome testament
crownèd martyrs sing a noble hymn
albed confessors raise their prayerful hands
rank on rank of angels gleefully cavort
whirling before the Throne as fiery wheels.

The Church’s incense rises doubtfully;
blown aside by dissent and worldly affair.
Hardly a hint reaches the court above,
Hardly a sound of muttered prayer,
Hardly a rumour of half-hearted love.