Racket Reflections

Anyone for tennis? I love it, I’ll come clean
A massive fan of Wimbledon, in S double-u nineteen
The atmosphere, the strawberries, I even dig the queues
Nadal and Radacanu, Murray, Norrie, you choose
Hanging out on Henman Hill, especially when it’s hot
Delicious thwack of ball on racket, hitting that sweet spot
There’s something quite balletic, about how they move on court
The beauty and precision of this game give pause for thought
Does our love for the perfect backhand, drop shot hit just right
Intimate a hunger, for a more elusive delight?
Revelling to see that lifted trophy, golden plate
Does it somehow stir a deeper urge to celebrate?
One apostle Paul compared this life we live, to a race
One in which a Loving Presence carves us out a space
Hand in hand with Father God, when every game’s been played
Am I ready for that crown in heaven, that’ll never spoil or fade?

For BBC local, Premier Christian, and community radio stations

Image by davidkenny91 from Pixabay

‘Stranger Things’ soliloquy

On my phone just lately, among the clicks and pings
Something strange was happening, tied to ‘Stranger Things’
If like me you’ve missed it, it’s a Netflix show
Which resurrects an eighties hit, and half the world’s gone “Oh…
This song is rather good”, and if you’re puzzled still
The track that I’m referring to, is ‘Running up that hill’
The work of one elusive Mrs Bush, that’s her, it’s Kate
If you don’t know her songs yet, well, it’s ‘better late…’
In a scene from Stranger Things, a teenager called Max
Is levitating, eyes all funny, having bad attacks
I won’t go into detail; it’s out there, all online
Suffice to say that Max is stressed, depressed and far from fine
Oppressed by troubling thoughts, and Venca’s foul embrace
A bad un, who won’t give Max, a lot of free head space
Her friends dig out her favourite song, this striking eighties hit
And basically it saves her, that’s the gist, that’s it
It gets me thinking, what oppresses us, and me, and then
What do we, and I, turn to, to make us whole again?
If a piece of music helps life run a smoother course
What if I could tap into a deeper, richer Source?

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

Putin & Paddington poem

I wonder what makes you get right hopping mad
What stirs up a bee in your bonnet
What tempts you to use certain words that are bad
Not easily put in a sonnet.

Well I’ll tell you mine, though it’s hardly great fun
Not naturally conducive to laughter
So, if that bothers you, well wait till I’m done
And huff and harangue me, well, after.

I read Mr Putin is moved to compare
Himself to one Peter the Great
Inclines me to give him a Paddington stare
And kindly suggest, “Not you, mate”.

You may think you’re hard, Mr Poots, like ol’ Clint
Who looked good in shades and short stubble
But I think by now you need more than a hint:
It’s not cool sinking countries to rubble.

Not clever your delicate ego to stroke
To big up the ‘great Russian nation’
If that means another place goes up in smoke
And faces a dire decimation.

You might want to ponder one greater than you
Who didn’t with crime share a bed
Nor cook such a foul toxic odious stew
But gave up his own life instead.

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

Father’s Day-Summer Solstice Poem

Summer solstice swift approaches, sun attains full height
Bathes the northern hemisphere in shimmering heat and light
Strange how it suggests connection, with another day
Says something, I feel, to fathers, with its bold display
Early morning shaft of light the woodland bird awakes
So the sleepy dad, of his first child, a first glance takes
Feels those stirring pangs of love, a strange paternal glow
Early swift cementing bond with one he’ll grow to know
Then as summer sun through morning charts its rapid rise
So the infant’s spurt of growth puts joy in father’s eyes
Noontime, and the swelling sun up to its zenith climbs
Parallels paternal love in heady vibrant times
Then as blazing afternoon brings warmth to nook and hollow
So the child steps further out; a father’s love will follow
And, as solstice sun sinks low, its power dimmer grows
So a father’s love does mellow; still its beauty shows…
Could it be, the father’s heart, and summer sun above
Both draw sustenance, being grounded in a greater Love?
And, as child, and nature, in that love and sunshine thrive –
Opening up to this great Love, would I feel more alive?

For BBC & community radio stations, Premier Christian Radio.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Platinum Putin – a poem

I have some mad ideas, if this is one, then tell me, stop:
What if Mr Putin and Her Maj just did a swap?
The Kremlin could arrange for HM Queen some toast and tea
No better boost for Poot’s ego than Platinum Jubilee.

There’d be far less destruction, less waste and damage done
If Poots had been contented with a flypast (way more fun)
Surely brings more pleasure, less dismay than threat of nukes
To have a neat formation of some Spitfires and Chinooks.

Just think, the commentariat, instead of endless fawning
Would just be glad that they had lived to see another morning
No braying about duty, service, ‘ne’er puts wrong a foot’
Just celebrating that the world had not yet gone kaput.

Ukrainians would benefit, to have at Kremlin tiller
One who favours selfless service, over being a killer
Reckon they would celebrate and cheer and scream and clap
A Kremlin head who wasn’t out to wipe them from the map.

For the Russians, it would surely be a welcome break
From wondering, ’Is our leader mad?’ – to have some tea and cake
A chance perhaps to soften, the world’s collective frown
And take a cue from Lizzie, with her cheeky smile and crown.

Texas shooting – a poem

You’re in a firestorm. Heart pummelled, battered. Wrung, shattered.
Child, grandchild, loved one, lamb. From your life ‘untimely ripped’.
Her bubbling laugh is silenced. Her innocent eyes are shuttered.
She’ll not now see the summer fields of promise.
While suited men with stony looks, sign and seal the status quo.
And feign condolence, sit on hands, and cling to power with wolfish bent.
The night is long, the way is hard – yet promise rests
Of wrapped up hearts, and dried up tears, the splintered vase restored.
While hearts of stone will yet be shattered. Beaten, broken, brought to book.

Putin’s fluffy cat (a poem)

Whatever could have happened, to Putin’s fluffy cat?
You know the kind, that in a Bond film villain’s lap is sat
That’s white and slightly sinister, which you’d imagine that
If re-embodied human, would wear a posh cravat.

Did it find while lolling there, hand running through its fur
That with the plans of Vladimir, it could no way concur
Did it feel, on white cats everywhere they’d be a slur
Which could some consequences, far from cat-friendly, incur?

In its ice-cool moggy heart, and in its brain feline
Did it sense this Kremlin kid was badly out of line
For a nicer Bond-ish villain did our friend now pine
In point of fact, did Putin’s fluffy cat just flat resign?

Easter poem

I find myself asking, what does it mean?
The ritual celebration of this strange thing unseen
Mysterious event, in history shrouded
Somehow in popular imagination now clouded
Those beatific images, glowing and pure
Three painted crosses, pristine grave, I’m not sure
Why, for such a frail thing, Christians give thanks
In a world marred by guns, and brutality, and tanks
What good’s ‘resurrection’ in the grime and the mud
In a bomb-blighted landscape, killing fields of blood
Till we remember that Jesus, before the faint-dawning light
Fell foul as well of raw political might
He too was cornered and ground down and crushed
His goodness they tried hard to drown out and hush
And yet Easter morning made it clear, made it plain
A slow burning power that couldn’t be contained
That burst every barrier, broke through every wall
Filled hearts with joy and made timid men tall
And I trust that in war zones, and each human heart
This power still brings healing, and hope, a new start

Broadcast on BBC Radio Leeds & Premier Christian Radio

Lent Ukraine Poem

Lent is with us now, but something else distracts and occupies
Our hearts and minds, another land, where trauma bites, a small child cries
An aerial bombardment, and sharp explosions fill the night
A people underground, too scared to brave the grey of morning light
While supermarket shelves see vital foodstuffs dwindle, fade away
And desperate people seek enough to make it through another day
A place of churches, homes and farms and factories, I little knew
Its history till now, a place the world’s concern is pointed to
A land of plains and golden spires and crosses carries now the scar
Of brutal conflict, while a world looks on in horror from afar,
But now the Lenten season makes me stop and wait and slow and pause
And think, is any simmering conflict down to me, am I the cause?
It urges me to strip back, change tack, take my cross, the desert way
Examine what is flawed or wrong in what I think and do and say
And take a cue from those whose faith sustains them in their hour of need
And let it be for me a flame of hope, of courage fresh, a seed.

For BBC local stations & Premier Christian Radio

Valentines revisited

What do we make of, well yeah, Valentines, the day of red hearts, flowers and chocolate and wine
It doesn’t look so fluffy and sweet and divine, when you think of the ruthless pursuit, of-the-bottom-line
How did a day praising love and connection, come to be such a brash profit-driven confection?
How did a theme of such beauty and soul, in a money-ruled world occupy such a role?
See how the environment’s also given birth, to a reckoning with how we now impact the earth
It costs a great deal both to grow and to ship, flowers that next day may end up on a tip
It’s not just the day’s not to everyone’s taste; with the cards and the packaging, there’s a whole lot of waste;
We’re split how we view Valentines, it’s a mix, for some the whole day can’t be over too quick
Is it cuddles and kisses and breakfast in bed? For others the day evokes nothing but dread
But how might it be if we looked a bit deeper, I hazard there’s truth out there, though it’s a ‘sleeper’
It’s ironic, to celebrate love secret, concealed – when the best love of all, that was hidden – ‘s now revealed
A love we might run from, and hide and ignore, a love that invites, and ignites, that’s a door
Through which any one of us can step through and find, a comfort enfolding, embracing and kind
And so on a day that can be hit or miss, whether you love it or loathe it, it’s worth hearing this:
There’s a love that like hawk on the wing reaches far – that seeks out and can save you, whoever you are.

For BBC local radio & other interested stations. Image by rzierik at Pixabay