Coronation considered

Here we have it, Charlie’s moment, whopping coronation!
Flags and bubbly, lie-in and a nice three day vacation
Can’t deny it’s quite exciting, really quite the thing
Seeing he of cuff link fidget fetish, made a king

What a day, to get to see our Chuck, all ‘coronated’!
I don’t care if half his subjects think it’s overrated
Still, I’m keen to know what others think of all the pomp
Will you watch, or from the room, all fuming will you stomp?

When you learn that oil is poured from jewel-encrusted spoon
Will you feel you’ve landed on the far side of the moon?
Will you think the whole thing quite unconscionably odd
All that bling, the crown and ring, the sceptre, orb and rod?

Well I say, embrace it, all the magic and the drama
It’s a history snapshot, a unique strange panorama
The sacral and the spiritual – it’s here, it’s all on show
There just might be something worthwhile pondering, you know

For BBC local radio

Dragon-slaying for beginners

(Audio poem for St George’s day, 23rd April)

Red cross on white, it’s St George’s Day
What, that’s not yet been said, can I say?
Of several nations the proud patron saint
What kind of picture-poem will I here paint?
One thing for starters it seems made him brave:
Faith in the fella who rose from the grave
That surely helped him not faint from the shock
Of facing a Roman executioner’s block
Then there’s the legend: a dragon, breathing fire
Slaying that monster? That’s got to inspire
(It’s not every day a bloke gets out of bed
And takes on a beast, that by close of play’s dead)
Makes me think, little old me, here today
What kind of dragons, am I going to slay?
Above all the noise and furore and din
Of life in the world, I’m looking within
For dragons… That bad thing that haunts me with fear?
Can’t beat God’s presence for bringing peace near
Plagued by some monsters of cruel guilt and shame?
Promise of Jesus: you won’t be the same
Nothing’s as strong as his power to assuage
Demons of anger and envy and rage
When the fierce fire of those dragons is spent
You can rest, you’ll be blessed – at peace, and content

For BBC local radio.

Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

Holy Saturday

Once your suffering was over, and you’d breathed your final breath
Weight of all our sin upon you, spent,absorbed, in this your death
As the evening slow encompassed, all that dark despondent day
Joseph, secret follower came, and took your body down, away
Wrapped it in a linen shroud, with fragrant spices, aloes, myrrh
Laid it in a new-cut tomb, no inkling what would next occur
Jesus, lamp and light of all, conceived by grace, in virgin womb
Now embraced by cool and darkness, silent in the virgin tomb
Jesus, with those first disciples, we now watch and wait with you
Folded in the stillness here, not knowing yet what God will do

An ode to mothers

I really like Mothering Sunday, it’s one of my favourite days
I’m really quite fond of my mother (and almost everything she does or says)

One thing I’m crystal clear sure of, is mother has bundles of heart
She’s caring and kind, on reflection I find, that she’s been that way right from the start

One of the ways my own mother displays, her kindness (I can’t think of better)
Is her skill to compose, with feeling that flows – a beautiful handwritten letter

For some this day’s difficult or poignant, your feelings perhaps may be raw
A special hug may be in order – what friends and dear loved ones are for

It may be a surprise to discover, in the bible, an unusual thing
God is compared to a mother, protecting her chicks with her wings

So on this Mothering Sunday, whether you feel joyful, or blue
Show love to the ‘mothers’ in your life; and let God show his kindness to you

Broadcast on BBC Radio Leeds, Guernsey & Jersey

Image by Vânia Raposo from Pixabay

Red carpet reflections

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

Image by Tom from Pixabay

Love signs at Valentines

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.

Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

For BBC local radio

Advent reassessed

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

Image by Amber Clay from Pixabay

Messiah musings

The news I heard was guaranteed
To thrill and to inspire
Bradford’s choral outfit
Singing Handel’s great ‘Messiah’

Each Wednesday night, I walked through rain
Autumnal chill and dark
To master quavers, trills and scales
And warble like a lark

Through crotchet clusters, nests of notes
I wandered like a maze
But practised hard, so by the night
I’d warble quite unfazed

I love the light and airy parts
Those trills that flutter high
‘His yoke is easy, burden light’
‘And he shall purify’

On the evening, wide the doors
Flung open, what a night
The choir rang out, the solos soared
The music bubbled bright

A choir in full and hearty voice
Is like a bird in flight;
A joy to sing a work so filled
With grace and power and light

Image: Bradford Festival Choral Society performing ‘Messiah’, 19th November 2022