Night

The noise changes,

amplifying the empty airwaves.

Distances shrink,

exposing stories the Sun failed to tell,

Tales hidden by the beating sounds of life.

The fingers of today relax and release,

Now liberated happenings float up into the deep,

Rising on earths cooling eddies.

Conversations had and hoped for,

Hard words reluctantly spoken,

Now regretted too late.

No more time to give to anxious possibility,

That moment faded with the light.

Now be still,

Hear the far away as it sings,

Hear the strange discordant silence,

Hear the night stretch its creaking frame,

Hear it quell cacophonous day,

And break the spell of busyness.

Watch as the weight of dark falls

and eyes can close.

There is no more,

No air for regrets left,

now is for sleep,

And for dream and for stillness,

Change is coming on the broken sky.

My feet

My feet are sore,

Too long standing,

Too long waiting for change,

For direction, for a road.

Heel scoring thin grooves,

Shifting loose grit,

Exposing the ancient solid,

Chasing the hard cracks,

To unexpected places,

Long time baked brittle,

resistant to gentle softening,

But friable, daring a stamp to shatter.

Still waiting, not risking the blow,

Not sure what lies beneath,

What might be revealed,

Wrapped in roots of whatever grows,

Whatever we allow to grow.

My feet are sore,

Too long standing.

Too long balancing the options,

Foot to foot, toe to toe.

Feeling the blow, the punch, the slap.

Facing the challenge,

uncomfortable on my soles.

Curling, rolling, bending,

in anticipation, in waiting,

To stand un-moveable in my place.

As the air moves around me singing,

Pushing and provoking.

My feet are sore,

Too long standing.

I’m still waiting, waiting for myself.

Waiting.

I know I should be moving,

Stirring the earth into new ways,

Painting fresh paths with my momentum.

But I fear the cracking ground,

I fear the hardness and it’s brittle future.

I fear the roots that rise and twist and catch,

Me.

I fear me.

My feet are sore,

Too long standing.

In the night

The pictures that I paint myself in the sleepless dark,

Keep building, resolving, repeating,

brush strokes finding one another,

Testing and reapplying,

with no light to shine upon the stretching surface.

No way to see the edges.

Or touch the gilded frame.

In the deep alone again,

stories twitch and nag for attention,

Poetry forming, shaping,

answering this days unmentionables,

Layering pregnant verses,

That in the seeping dawn deep drain.

The story’s happy ending gone,

A night of grappling angels,

Leaving only aches and waste,

Nothing but the bruises,

and the grief of certainty.

Another sleepless night,

Another dreaming black,

Another carried scar.

Tomorrow rest may come.

Finding…

Finding is only the end,

It’s the aching arrival,

The ceasing exhale,

The stretching of never.

Feeling the blood pool,

The earth creep up tired limb,

Sit they say, sit.

But there is peace in the in-between,

In the swing between planting,

Foot after foot.

Peace in the movement,

Peace in the progress,

Peace in the stretch.

There is peace in not knowing what comes next,

Only that next is inevitable,

Next is coming.

Next is yours.

Peace is in the search not only the finding.

Blessed are the survivors

Blessed are the survivors, those who drag themselves out of bed each morning and just because they have to. For they show true heart and guts and they will know admiration.

Blessed are the bruised, those who carry the scars and wounds inflicted by the jealous and the angry and yet keep going. For they will leave their attackers behind them and find clear road ahead.

Blessed are the strugglers, those who fight each day to shake of their doubts and fears just to give themselves a chance to breathe. For they will draw deep on their true spirit and will feel the touch of the divine.

Blessed are those who set their face to the future in desperate hope and determination, for they will know themselves and they are seen and known and loved.

Are we insignificant?

Sometimes I feel so insignificant,

When I look out across great horizons,
See how simple water shapes monumental lands,

A breath of air cuts rocks to ribbons,

A few degrees smashes our hardest endeavours.

Sometimes I wonder whether we are just hitchhikers,

Parasites crawling through the coat of this planet,

Irritants yes, but specks of sand easily blown.
Insects with exoskeletons grown from misplaced pride,

We make this world twitch and writhe but for how long?
We dig deep though, rooting our egos in the earth.

Sucking nourishment from its core,

Hammering piles into its substructure,

Fighting to control its rhythms, regulate its pulse,

Make it beat to our time signature.

If we cannot make it dance our dance,

We will not be insignificant,

We will blame it when it fights back,

We will name its ways horrors,

We will drink it dry and sup it bare,

We will not be insignificant,

We cannot stand it.

We will kill it for our convenience and say it doesn’t matter!

We will look out across the great horizons,

And say the sun will rise, the sun will set,

What are we but creatures, tiny creatures,

What are we but passengers on this mighty beast.

I wish that we were insignificant.

Psalm 139

You search me and know me,
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

There are many parts of my story that I race past,
holding my breath lest they raise their heads
and show me up for who I fear I am.
Small things that grow from my hidden corners,
swelling, filling, misshaping me.
Things I am told, looks that I catch in the eyes of another.
The leaping of my heart as heat rises and dizziness flows.
They grow and overwhelm, forcing me back into their dark places.
Deep into my shame I have sunk.

You search me and know me,
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 

In the night my spirit wakes and taunts me,
The voices that tell me I can do no good, that I have no value,
That remind me of my failings, of my weakness,
of my splinters and shards.
The faces that stare with eyes which condemn and dismiss me,
That look with disdain and judgement, that puncture my faith.
The sneers and comparisons, the taunts and the jokes.
Deep into my shame I have shrunk.

You search me and know me,
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

In the morning I face myself in the mirror and see what I have done.
My past actions overwhelm me and change what I see,
They tell me I am wicked, they tell me I am ugly,
They drown my goodness, they suffocate my beauty.
They fight to own and define me, and too often they win.
They become who I am and what I may be.
Deep into my shame I have grown.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

Your eyes search me,
You know my heart.
See through my shame,
See deep into my hidden places,
See through my deepest fear and pain,
Show me what you see,
Show me the me you created,
Show me the goodness you know is there,
Show me the strength I cannot feel,
Show me the beauty I cannot see,
Show me the light in my darkness,
Show me the music in my soul.
Help me to release the things I have done which I have let define me,
Help me to release the things that others have done to me that crush my spirit,
Help me to know the difference I make for others,
Help me to trust the difference you make in me,
Help me to be the me you see,
Help me to be the me you love,
Help me to recognise myself in you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Mother and Father God,
Creator, Redeemer, Comforter,
Search me, know me, love me,
Help me to search myself,
Help me to know myself,
Help me to love myself.
Forgive me for the things I have done that shame me,
Forgive me for the things I regret not doing,
Forgive me for not trusting in your grace and love.
Help me to accept total forgiveness,
Help me to live from this day without guilt or shame,
Help me to trust in your grace and love,
Lead me forward in peace and new life.

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

 

Mark Berry 29/03/2019

Sections from Psalm 139 New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.

 

The sound of sheer silence

The sound of sheer silence,

Fights to be heard amongst the clatter and clamour,

Still the battering fears,

The questions that scream,

The anguish that points and pokes,

And tries to suffocate my space,

Doubts that roar in the tumultuous wind,

Accusations that pierce my awareness fired by the storm,

Insecurities crashing in my head in the fall of a great river,

In the noise I hear no voice but my own,

My weak voice, my raw voice, my tired voice.

My voice bringing me down, destroying my confidence, prodding my wounds.

Stand, still.

Stand, still.

Stand, still.

Do not hear the storm, the wind, the rain.

Hear instead the sound of sheer silence.

Hear the voice in peace,

Hear the voice of peace,

Hear the voice… peace.

1 Kings 19:11-13

Wrestling Angels

Through the night Jacob had to fight,

Eye to eye, arm to arm,

held, twisting, pulling, knees. elbows,

Muscles and joints tensed in the search for purchase,

Pressure building in desperation and frustration,

Why must we wrestle, how is that love?

But the fight will not end,

Where is mercy, where is peace?

No space, face to face,

Only hard eyes and harder fists,

Down on the solid earth,

Bruising,

Tearing,

Ripping,

Bleeding,

In the dust and the dirt, stinging raw flesh,

Grinding bones and bedrock,

Forcing breath, and sweat and pain.

Day breaking, body breaking,

By the crooked river,

Bones are bent out of shape,

Forever crooked.

Scars born in love and hope,

Wounds exchanged for a name,

a blessing ripped from deepest injury.

With the rising sun a gift of pain that remains.

A reminder of the most intimate battle.

Not won or lost, just fought.

Stand in the gap

Stand in the gap,

When they want to force you to take up an extreme, refuse.

When they want to you to be polarised, refuse.

When they want you to ignore the complexities and conundrums of life, refuse.

Instead stand in the gap where the real people stand.

Where the people who do not want to be pushed or defined by others insecurities and obsessions stand.

Stand where the subtle colours shift and shine, where the deep and generous patterns flow.

Stand with the thinkers and dreamers, the survivors and strugglers, the lovers and yearners, the busy and distracted, the confused and the searching, the poets and the prophets.

Plant your feet in the shifting sand and stand with the ordinary and extraordinary.

Stand while the edges shout their insults and slogans, their extremism and their intransigence.

Stand whilst they shout themselves to a deafened standstill in their fear and their anger.

Stand in the place of humility and love,

Stand in the place of unknown adventure,

Stand in the place of wonder and expectation,

Stand in the place of the God of desert and river, of exile and pilgrimage, of birth and rebirth, of love and sacrifice.

Stand as an invitation to others to stand there too.