Tell me, did you see the Oscars, did anyone stay up all night Not something I could accomplish (next day I’d look quite a fright) Did anything grab your attention, make you sit up just a bit? Last year’s was hard to compete with; no one saw red or got hit
One thing that made it distinguished, helped it stand out from the pack Was women being better rewarded, the status quo starting to crack Another thing worthy of comment, that lifted the star-studded night Was seeing the roll call of winners, not so ubiquitously white
‘Everything everywhere’, the multiverse one, scooped up the best picture gong Seems to be saying, beside all its thrills, all’s not lost when it’s all going wrong You might have some skills quite undreamed of, waiting to see light of day A message to lift and inspire you, and drive all those self-doubts away
The thing that it prompts me to wonder, the thing that it moves me to say Is what if you’re not an A-lister, partying it up in LA? If you’re a Joe or Jill Average, juggling five kids on the go What can you take from the musings, of Tinseltown darling Ms Yeoh?
There’s a small piece of overlooked wisdom, a nugget that always surprises This: in another kingdom, heaven, is a whole different order of prizes You might be a cook or a cleaner, maybe none know your name or your face What’s valued right there isn’t stardust; just ordinary lives, shaped by grace
Valentines, the day of love, I wonder how it feels to you Does it give you butterflies, or does it leave you in a stew? Whether you’re a 14th fan or not, I ask you, bear with me Follow now these ruminations, maybe something fresh we’ll see I’m-fascinated by the notion, of a love that’s secret, hid Could it be, on some new facet of such love, I’ll lift the lid I sometimes wonder, as I walk, or stumble through my every day If some signs of secret love, are being strewn across my way That golden light upon a building, fragile bird, a small child’s face Are these lovely things a sign of something more, a mark of grace? Even things that aren’t so pleasant, problems, pitfalls, painful trials Might be used to bless us, if we’re patient, later, in a while In these troubled times, the love of God is sometimes far from plain Still the heavenly music plays, attune your ears, you’ll catch a strain Maybe most of all, God wants his love to dwell in humble heart Will I give his love a chance to change me, will I make a start?
Second audio is the correct one – can’t seem to remove the first.
I’m-not sure we’ve got Advent entirely right In-a-culture where its meaning has slipped out of sight If it signifies-just chocolate and calendar doors Then it’s time to revisit it, slow down, and press pause; We think of this season as cosy and pretty It’s anything but, it’s surprisingly gritty Maybe it’ll help us to view it afresh If we see how its themes with the world are enmeshed With-what’s going on right now, this moment, right here A world marked by violence and anguish and fear… Think of people who-are sinking under spiralling costs I think of Mary and Joseph, in a census town lost Price of living, eat or heating, the clamour and din I picture them struggling, ‘no room at the inn’ And when I see tyrants, their bitter seed sow I remember God’s promise to-bring the proud ones so low The only way I can handle the horrors of war Is remembering that the mercy and grace-of-God are sure ‘Woman, life, freedom’, when I hear that brave cry I-think how God honoured Mary – and the humble, lifted high Even the World Cup, stirring frail hopes and dreams Makes me think of a hope that is greater, and streams… Of justice, that bubble in the desert, and flow Cos God’s longing to love us and bless us you know So don’t imagine Advent is cosy or tame It’s fierce and it’s fearless – it won’t leave you the same
We may find a multitude of ways to remember Sacrifices made, this day each November And whether we wear poppy red, poppy white In the square, in a churchyard, in the soft autumn light Or at home, or even if we don’t mark it at all Conflicts, some present, exert still a call On our minds and our hearts to give pause and reflection Consider, is there some substantial connection Between those who struggle, and our more comfortable lives Far from child soldiers under African skies Or those in Ukraine, or Iran, where they fight Against varying tyrannical forms, out of sight… When part of you hurts, the whole body feels pain It’s how we should be, when one person is maimed So let us be conscious, seek out and discern Where conflict is happening, to direct our concern And find out the cause – resources, or land – Which ignited the flame, let it get out of hand Put ourselves in their shoes, empathise, and yeah, pray Take some action perhaps – and though it doesn’t go away We can lift up the hurting, joining hands, joining hearts And imagine a future – where war finally departs
It might not have slipped your attention or sight: The COP conference – straight after Bonfire Night The occasion of gunpowder, treason and plot Coincides with a push – to stop Earth getting hot The gig is in Egypt (famously dry Like the powder lined up to blow Parliament high) But while these events enjoy similar fame I don’t for one moment pretend they’re the same While Guy and his gang tried a massive explosion The Earth’s plight is more like a drawn out implosion And though we light fireworks to remember Guy Fawkes It’s less likely COP will see popping of corks Let’s hope the steps there are not sticking plaster It’d be nice if we stave off a slow burn disaster
On a leaf-golden evening in early November We take up the call to ‘remember, remember’ Trio of gunpowder, treason and plot (If you’re worried I’ll say the whole poem, worry not) Still, it’s amazing how we annually show up To remember a man who tried parliament – to blow up With twelve other plotters, Guy Fawkes was in league ‘Twas a veritable hotbed of vice and intrigue Makes sense to be thankful their bad scheme was foiled (If nowt else it meant Bonfire night isn’t spoiled) Two short reflections, this happening ignites A duo of thoughts from this noisiest of nights The first: far from harming folk who get in your way I’m reminded of Jesus’ words: ‘for your enemies, pray’ There are sackfuls of peace, and a decrease in stress When those who ill-treat us – we promise to bless Second, in the fireworks that light up the sky I see something of the beauty of God, by and by As across inky black, phoenix patterns they trace In my mind’s eye they mirror the beauties of grace And like a love message, in letters of fire Their shapes in the darkness astound and inspire
Audio poem for BBC local, Premier Christian and community radio