Advent poem

In the deepening twilight, of a waning year
Hopeful yet mysterious, ‘Advent’ now appears
See the hurried shoppers, in the settling gloom
Of a dark December, tell me is there room
In our imaginations, at the very least
To see behind the bustle, a different kind of feast
Shops a little sparser now, usually overflowing
Still our souls are thirsting, yearning, little knowing
In the midst of credit cards, and debt, and money spent
Where the true source lies of peace and joy and deep content
December now grows pregnant, rising expectation
Dreams, desires and fragile hopes, permeate a nation
Yet behind the gaudy mess, a different hope prevails
A light that breaks upon the heart, a joy that never fails
Could it be, that birth long buried in the mists of time
Still retains its power to captivate your heart and mine?
What would happen if we paused, a moment stilled our thoughts
Might this child yet prove to be, the treasure that we sought?

Toxic 3 – Hope

Something that doesn’t quite fill me with mirth –
Thinking a moment about the future of earth –
Is, how will we come to a place where we care
About something so far off, remote, over there?
We hear about it, but how we can be troubled by heating
The global kind, when impacts here are so fleeting?
I wonder, if we’re to move past a short-sighted view
Do we need to look deeper at ourselves a bit too
We could do with regaining a perspective quite rare
A fuller and richer vision of care
We’d do worse than recover some wisdom of old
To move from being small to big-hearted and bold
We might even shift from the selfish rat race
To relate more, and move in the rhythms of grace
What if behind everything there’s a power
Of love and of good, which we need in this hour
If we’re made in the image of God, that gives scope
To move forward determined, with courage and hope
To give up addictions and foul toxic ways
Pursue a strong future for all, for always

Broadcast on Premier Christian Radio

Toxic 2 – Food

In all of life’s pressures, do we have room
To give some attention to what we consume?
Are we uneasy, alarmed, do we brood
When we consider our treatment of food?
Stark, in the light of nature in retreat
Are we at peace with addiction to meat?
The forests it fells and the gas it exhales
The land it consumes and the wildlife it nails
Can we imagine and fresh contemplate
A healthier variety of food on our plate?
A diet that’s filled with attention and care
Not with anxiety, tension, a snare
What if the path to good health had its start
Not in the things we consume, but the heart?
What if the thing that is fragile and rare
Planetary health, had its best allies there?
What if the medicine for Earth in distress
Was firstly a humble consumption of less?
What if those roots of a future that’s bright
Lay in those heart-shoots of faith, hope and light?

Broadcast on Premier Christian Radio

Toxic 1 – Oil

We are all different, I don’t know what you think
But there’s something I know and it’s starting to stink
I don’t know if you’re worried, I don’t know if you’re scared
Or if this big thing that is troubling me is shared
Still I’ve been thinking about the way that we live
All of the habits and stuff we hang with
The way that our life is embedded in oil
All of the ways it has us in its coils
You can’t look too hard at your daily routine
And not see how it’s scarred by the fossil fuel queen
What we put in our hair, what we pour in our cars
It gives me a scare just to see how it mars
Our life on this fragile and beautiful earth
How it holds and it moulds and it drains us of mirth
So I think that it’s worth giving quite a big pause
To ask how this dragon got us in its claws
I wonder, to quench such a ravaging fire,
Do we need to examine our roots of desire?
To tame and restrain this compulsive affliction
Do we need to think hard about carbon addiction?

Broadcast on Premier Christian Radio during COP26

Earth Remembrance

I sense a fresh dimension to Remembrance this year
Fallen soldiers, not for them alone we shed a tear
Another source of sadness now engulfs our troubled world
The tendrils of a different grief around our hearts now curl
Remembering former conflicts, honouring those who fell
Let’s listen to that other grief that in our hearts now swells
Conflict, it has meanings that are not confined to war
Bayonets and battles are not all we’re grieving for
A shrill alarm, a clarion call: our conflict with the earth
Novel forms of death to which destructive ways gave birth
This Remembrance Day, let us not solely view the past
Let us weigh a future that is coming at us fast
How better can we honour those who paid such sacrifice
Than dare give up our comfort for the sake of future life
Life encompassing the ones who’ll live here after us
People, creatures and a planet placed within our trust
Climate – it is said the situation’s like a war
A scale and challenge unlike anything we’ve fought before
A safer, greener, fairer earth is surely worth the price
Of careful thought and action now, a personal sacrifice
Echo faint yet resonant of sacrifice once made
By One who dwells within creation, on whom grief was laid
Love of God, a tenderness and breadth of endless scope
Like poppy red, where all seemed dead, now springs afresh with hope

Broadcast on BBC Radio Leeds Sunday Breakfast