Three loads I carry

Three loads I carry as I walk,
Three packs I balance on my back.
Each one I meticulously packed,
Each I carefully stowed and strapped down hard.
Not one I felt I could leave behind,
Not one could I do without.
Three weights I feel dig in my shoulder,
Each one present and distinct,
Pulling me in different directions,
Making my way harder than it seems,
Causing me to miss my step and trip,
Yet often they feel as one,
So tightly are they bound together,
So long have I carried them.
At times they feel alien jabbing and ripping me,
At times they are part of me.
They are things of great value to me,
Things that make me who I know I am,
Things that give me place and time,
Things that though at time they give me pain,
Are me.

One great sack carries all I hold of worth,
All that I think I love,
All that I hope never to lose.
How could it be possible to leave this bag?
I could no more cut off my arm or leg!
This I bind closest to me,
I wear it next to my back,
This load gives me stability,
It sures me when I feel feeble.
It is my frame, yet still it is heavy.

One carries all my certainty,
That which I have no doubt is ordained.
In each part a word or thought,
A prayer or poem which gives me purpose,
It is what keeps me on.
It holds my map, my itinerary.
How could I abandon all this,
For whom should I walk,
Which way should I go,
How would I know, how could I be sure?

One load binds all three,
It wraps around the other two,
At times holding them,
At times pushing them sharply into my skin.
My fears I carry in this last bag,
My fear of losing the others,
My fear of walking alone,
My fear of being lost.
My fear of being pointless,
Of going nowhere, of being no-one.

But,
All this speaks of me; my loves, my faith, my fears.
My scale of what is valuable,
My sense of what is good and right,
My insecurity.
I am content in each step and yet I count each mile,
I want to pass, to savour each view,
To go the places I could not plan to visit,
I want in each to leave something of me, something good behind.
Somehow, I don’t know how,
I know I must risk leaving parts of me by the road.
I must give up my load,
Lay down my pack.
Not in wild abandon,
But in faithful surrender.

Photo from https://unsplash.com/@tychoa

Pentecost

Poem

Waiting, Waited,

Flame Breather, Life Teaser,
Sweet Essence, Hard Presence,
Pulsing Blood, Sweeping Flood
Storm Force, Water Source,
Deepest Kiss, Draining Bliss,
Motivator, Love Creator,
Hearts Gripped, Conventions Ripped,
Fire Poured, Winds Roar,

Whisper, Whisper,

Blown Upon, Blown Away,
Burning Up, Burning Out,

Baraka, Ruach, Shanti, Shalom,
Life Spirit, Holy Spirit, Spirit.

Prayer

Kindle in us a love for the wild beauty of the creation of God.
Fan the flame of passion for community.
Heat us to white hot with yearning for culture to be transformed
And people to know the God who breathed life into them and the world they walk upon.
Spark in us a fire which rages with all consuming heat against injustice, oppression and evil.
Bright flame, for whom Aidan of Lindisfarne was named,
Passed on from generation to generation,
From winter to winter,
From day to day,
Set alight in us the love of the Christ who walks in the world,
Blow on us with the wind which filled the sails of the Perigrinati and spread the Gospel throughout the world.

Photo by Thomas Bormans on Unsplash

Unlocking

Unlocking, seeking, push my fingers through the gap,
searching for a surface on the space that is emerging,
listening for a rhythm that the life beyond is turning,
Morning
Mourning
Passing in the crack that now chases round the birthing,
Straining to a place where the edges fight the blurring,
To prey
To pray
Holding to the difference of a heart beginning beating,
Rushing to embrace what may be only fleeting,
A piece
A peace

Night Rain

The sound of rain falling in the deep night is a reminder that every now and then the world needs washing. The dirty streets littered with our selfish striving and strewn with the harshest words, dropped casually during the day, need to be cleaned. Hopes forcibly squeezed out and dreams stolen wait to be washed into drains, longing to be recycled and fed back in sleep’s stories. Prayers of the ones no longer here descend to rattle against our walls and fences, some seep through gaps and splits to water shoots of memory. Fall night rain fall.

We are only people

We are only people,
We tie our hands to straining beasts,
That promise only stretching goals,
Elastic expectations, Self imposed.
We cannot reach, We are no good.
We fail at what we set ourselves,
We cannot measure up.
So stop and sit and be.
And hear the voice inside release.
Let go the ropes that pull,
The one tied to what was,
The one tied to what won’t,
The one tied to the other you,
That whips the fear within.
Sit and share the tears and tears.
Stop and sit and be.
We are only people.

Peace

Peace is an action, it is not what is left when the noise stops.
Peace is a choice, it will not materialise miraculously from nowhere.
Peace is a struggle for change, not a passive acceptance of what is.
Peace must be made by the willing and the heartbroken.
Peace must be built by lives of grace and determination.
Peace must be grown from deliberate acts of mercy and justice.
Blessed are the peacemakers.

Margins

Ripping and shredding,

Torn from the top,

Wilfully separated,

On the altar of “Us”.

Sinfully split.

Painfully parted.

Barriers bolted and raised to the roof,

Lines strongly marked in the dust of the floor,

Cemented, constructed,

dividing, defined.

We built the walls,

we tore the flesh.

We pushed them over and slammed shut the gate!

We raised the flags.

We sang the songs.

We became us,

So they became them.

And now as we wane and struggle for breath,

We open the gates and we wave,

And we “save”.

We sure up our towers,

We repaint our walls,

We gild bright our faces,

And say, “look what we’ve got!”

I dream of contrition,

Of bloody, bent knee.

Of humble demolition,

Fading power released.

Father forgive us,

We know not what we’ve done!

Look deep

Look deep, my friend, look deep,

When you don’t know who it is you look for.

When the questions of the night survive the darks slow end,

And patience speeds away in breathing change.

Look deep,

for now might be the time it can be found,

Deep amongst the childhood tales,

Woven in the half sung songs of youth,

Pushing to be heard in loss and gift,

Seeking and reaching,

Hiding well,

In the remembered gaze of the loved.

In pictures painted with couldn’t care less strokes,

That had no fear of crossing lines,

And bleeding out.

Listen deep to what once whispered happy ever after now,

And span and ran against imagined skies.

Look deep, my friend, look deep.

For She may still sing.

Difference

When I see you,

I see the things that are me,

and I see things that aren’t.

We share so much and yet,

It is the things we don’t,

that give charge to the spark.

I often wonder why and how,

What scribed the roads you’ve walked?

What days have dawned and passed and set?

What fights you’ve left unfought?

And in the dark what spins your mind,

and weaves into your dreams?

If I could see your first light thought,

Would it reflect my own?

So when you look at me,

what image do you see?

Sometimes I almost wish I knew,

and then maybe I don’t.

If I was all of you, and you of me.

What would there be to wonder?

What would there be to seek?

How could we leap into the new,

and touch the sharp unknown?

If you and I were of one mind,

that edge would never hone.

Life would leak and seep and drain,

And fade in knowings dawn.

When?

When she looked she saw the same old view,

Different faces, even different places,

But still the same.

Still the same.

The breath inside her drove up and out in a sad exhalation,

Unplanned, unconscious, unthinking,

disappointingly irresistible.

Again they told her things have changed,

Its a brand new world, glitter strewn and crisp.

Whatabout, they said, remember when.

But she saw nothing fresh,

she looked hard, so hard,

there it was, not what she wanted to see, but there.

But we dreamed, she cried, we hoped,

You claimed to be on our side, we stood together.

Be patient, you said, the time will come.

But when?

But when?