Monthly Archives: December 2011

Words (2010)

A word has been
The frailest thing that ever was.
The hooting ghost of thought
wind pushed over muscles, through mouths
faint pencil on paper, ink on internet
symbols drawn on air
writing on water.

In the world of feet and hands words are
Sounds warding off bullets
thoughts spoken against shrapnel
a poem to halt the booted feet
a phrase to break the power of money
stories of warmth and providence
against literal cold
and literal hunger
Books against beasts and bombs and cold steel bumpers

An idea for a home
the wind for a meal
Nouns for a shield

but they land, these little things
these sounds and shapes on paper
they slip into ears and eyes and hearts and minds
like ghosts
and hope
and filter in and dance about,
warm and glimmering
and filled with light
and they warm the cold places
and soften hard things
and succour weak things
and makes steady the wavering
and give bones of steel to half-held hope

And the eyes look once again to the horizon
and the shoulders set
the hands grip the tool
and the tool is lifted
as the heart remembers why
and oh God, Oh God,
the world is changed.


Advent (2010)

This is the season of evening
This is the dark of the year
Under the hammer of winter
When night is heavy and near

These are the days of the burden
The snow is deep on our hearts
For morning comes too late to us
and daylight too soon departs

This is the dying of the year
frost heavy on our bones
Our hearts beat slow within us now
and all creation moans

This the season and these the nights
we come to gather here
a little flock of candles come
to burn away the drear

A fire is lit, the door is shut
Against the howling dark
but night is long and deep and old
An ocean ‘gainst a spark

So while it beats against the door
and winter rings us round
we reach down into fastnesses
and bring out what we’ve found

The dearest and most sacred thing
brought forth at greatest need
the story that has rescued us
we’ve gathered here to read

To speak it and to sing it out
and to smell and taste it
wear its warmth and see by its light
and to be raised by it

That He who spoke all worlds to spin
And bade the heavens be
Came down into the winter dark
To live as one of we

To know the width and depth of night
To bear the weight of life
To lead his creatures into spring
to know dead winter’s bite

For now its jaws are broken
And now its strength will flee
For now the dying of the year
is made nativity.


Church (2010)

We are not hungry
we are not cold
we are not naked
on the earth

We have warm clothes
we have books to read
we have walls around our cities
we have money in the bank

we have sight in our eyes
strength in our arms
speed in our legs
shoes on our feet

we are armed and well-fed
we are safe and well-read
we will not be murdered
and we will not starve

but when we leave the house it is in disguise
but when we move it is under cover of darkness
and we take our meals as the deer
ready to be far away very soon

Because we are happy and in love
well-fed and taken care of
but we are not at home
and this land does not love our kind
our souls are seeking home
and our bodies are not safe here
and our hearts will be pierced by a sword

and so each week we meet here
and say hello, and I love you
and the Lord bless and keep you
but also we say “Look, I am still alive.
I have not fallen in the week.
My heart is still beating,
and the arrow has not found my breast.
And while I live I will be Church with you
And when I die I will be home with you
For many have fallen
and many will fall
before we reach the walls of Zion.”


Wedding Song (2009)

We are small on the back of the world
little you and little I
children of a far country,
foundlings in a strange land

but by the colour of your voice
and by the bareness of my feet
by the aching of our hearts
we found we.

Someone to cry with at the colour of the sky
someone to laugh with at these selves
and someone to remind us
when we forget

that the bowl of the sky is on our side
that the rushing of the waters knows our names
that the smell of the Fall has always been calling
“Come ye home, daughter and son.”

So take my hand, sweet friend
Among the birds,
the branches
And these beloved

We’ll start walking home today
and walk until our hair is grey.


Secret Ministry (2007)

I am a ghost story
A child’s abstraction
The ravens who feed her
The rain and the snow
The sun and the moon
I am the wind and philosophy
I am a myth
I am history
A book she reads
A mystery play
A story on the radio
The faerie footman
To the queen of the literal world
Where angels are more real
Than the six o’clock news.

Coming down the hall,
The Five o’clock haunting.
She does not comprehend what I do
Any more than I comprehend
What you do to me
When I cannot see what I am learning
Or where you are taking me
But you feed me every night
And wipe the shit from me
Wash me with warm water
And dressing me again for sleep.


Nelle In December (2008)

Wasteland baby
Far from me
Our second winter and cold is just cold
Unromantic but not fatal
At least not when we are huddled
One with the other
And we are huddled, under Heaven,
With the one who comes alongside.

And if I were alone I could run faster
I could get more shots off
I could pass undetected
And fit into smaller holes
I would live longer, and get my own way
And grow fat in the fearful parts of myself
A little kingdom well-defended
But if I were alone I would not be really living
Just eating
And running
And shitting
Because my life lies with you
To strive and to grow
To war and to discover
The conservation of all the things I love.


Kolkata (For Kyle and Ann-Marie) (2008)

Today is a bright and singing thing
Voices together we burn like stars
In the twilight of the spring.
A veil is lifted
As once was torn
And for one day the world turns as it ought
The will of the Father
Sets the pace of our hearts
And we remember the first and ancient things
Are as near as the rings on your fingers
That though the world has fallen
And we are a wandering folk
What was spoken over the waters
in the darkness before time
Has never stopped ringing true
And here today, in faith and hope and certainty
One small piece of Eden is redeemed
And what was divided is here made whole
Two embers joined and kindled
Dancing for a night in the Garden again
By the light of the Father
After a day of naming animals.

These two are one, and flying now
East from the altar
Not in exile this time
But in obedience
Lighter by a name
Heavy with our blessings
And never any more alone.
The old home, and the old days
Left in the care of the Father
To cross the sea by night as one.
May the honeyed moon
Shine golden on your flight
To Kolkata
On wings of God.