Benediction prayer poem

Father God, you see and hold our past, our present, and our future.
We lay them now at your feet.

We bring to you our past… that bittersweet mix.
Memories to hold, though some leave us cold.
Of all we have tasted, nothing is wasted, 
The good, let us keep; the rest, let it sleep.
What didn’t go to plan, like tracks in the sand,
As tide fills the bay, may it be washed away.

We bring to you our present…
The psalmist longed to dwell where you dwell,
Father we do as well.
We bring you our brokenness, our pain, our fragility
Confess that our hope does not depend on our ability,
As secret spring sap starts to vivify the tree
May your Holy Spirit now fill and flow in me,
Our cold and damaged parts and those afflicted by life’s storms,
Like Narnian statues, be revived! – by Aslan’s breath that warms.

Father we bring to you our future… the way that lies ahead,
Each smooth or rocky road, every path that we may tread,
Like that ancient star of Bethlehem, your light before us gleams
The place of desert drought you make a place of streams,
In you we find our faintness fades, on wings like eagles we rise
Fresh fortified for joy – and trial – that now before us lies. 

For BBC Local Radio Sunday Service, 24th January 2021

Audio

Image by Himsan from Pixabay

New Year poems

New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve, a time to cast
Reflective eye on year that’s past
Though it has been hard in part
Yet it takes no special art
To see jewels in the dark
Lowly lamps that left their mark
Chief, a pause in headlong rush
A chance to seek, in trauma’s hush
May we to ourselves be kind
And now Spirit-treasure find.

In one sense strange to face New Year
In depth of winter, chill and drear
Yet what gems may yet appear
In this cold moment’s dark nadir
Lean not hard on frail will power
Seek now deeper in this hour
As a troubled year now pales
Spirit-wind, come fill my sails.

Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

Christmas poems

Marvel, mystery, Christmas Eve
Bustling mother, dad on leave
Lamplight flicker, thickening gloom
Magic in a heart finds room
Wondering eyes on chimney flue
Mince pie, brandy, carrot too
Trusting, in the deep of night
Morning will bring gifts so bright…

Bustle, rustle, gifts unwrapped
Surprise, delight when fitting, apt
Turkey trimmings, family feast
Each one welcome, great to least
Queen, then stroll, late afternoon
Sofa, sun has sunk so soon
Quick it passes, yet foretells
A greater Feast, celestial bells.

Image by Mylene2401 at Pixabay.com

It’s Difficult this Christmas

It’s difficult this Christmas
Its meaning still to see,
Wondering what kind of end
Of year this one will be.

It’s harder now, when loved ones
We cannot so easily meet,
To trust the deeper Love –
It seems this year a tougher feat.

It’s harder when our wider culture
Yearly holds less dear
The startling news, that in a baby
God himself drew near.

To see beyond the stress –
And press of gaudy TV show,
Hard for the world to see
When it so little wants to know.

Not easy either in the dark
The solitude and space
Of my own heart, to catch a glimpse
Of that shy agent, grace.

Yet even when uncertainty
And fear close in like night
The Christ-child who in secret came
Still sheds abroad his light.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Audio:

Christmas for sceptics

There’s a funny old thing about Christmas,
For many, it’s lost all its clout,
That seems a great pity so in this little ditty
I’ll ask, what’s that all about?

Lots of folk think it’s all superstition
Fairy tale, not science, just belief
Of all I could say, the fact we ALL live by faith
And not certainty is maybe the chief.

Although we are often to it more-or-less blind
We’re all living in some big story
A world view, big picture, I hope you won’t mind
Me saying that (just think Jackanory).

And when we consider the nature of things
It seems that when push comes to shove
At the heart of it all there’s either random blind chance
Or it’s rooted in the personal – and love.

From that reasonable base it’s no whopping sensation
To entertain the notion of God
Still mysterious though, so I need revelation
To be an enlightened smart bod.

That’s what happened at Christmas, the Love in all things
Came to show itself, the best way it could
Not by diktat, decree, but becoming, well human
Right amongst us, down here in the hood.

Not some fringe idea for the deluded or mad
Good news is what Christmas is about
It’s the best, a revelation of ultimate Love
From the rooftops I want it to shout!

Image by Andreas Böhm from Pixabay

Hand upon the Window

Your hand upon the window, and my hand mirrors yours,
In the midst of this year’s tragedy
This image gives us pause.

Your hand upon the window,
We saw but could not touch,
I’m not sure anything could quite prepare us all for such…

Such sadness and confusion,
The longing and the pain,
Fearful whether we could ever hug or touch again.

My strong desire to hold you
The rules would not allow,
Our bodies, such a precious gift
Are dangerous for now.

Hope is slowly taking shape,
The promise that next year
We can once more live and breathe
More freely, without fear.

Like distant glowing train lights,
A vaccine hope that then
We’ll once more have the chance to hold
Each other close again.

And so now, facing you
I to the window press my hand
And hope that of your pain I may
A small part understand.

And as that greater Love
In secret, close to us once drew
I pray you’ll know this love
Now drawing closer still to you.  

For BBC Radio Leeds & other stations.

Image by tatlin from Pixabay

Audio:

A Different Christmas

It’s gonna be different this Christmas
No matter who you are or where you will be
There’s no way it can be just the usual
Family, friends – and a tree.

It’s gonna be different this Christmas
It may not be normal, or white
Still special if we can remember
In the darkness, it speaks now of light.

You may sing, pray… or you may struggle
To sign up to a God up above
But one thing we all have in common
Is our need for connection and love.

Christmas tells us something amazing
When science and philosophy pall
There’s a mystery and wonder in the universe
A deep love at the heart of it all.

The thing about this love at Christmas
Though it’s huge and encompasses all
Is God chose to reveal it to all of us
By becoming both humble and small.

A baby, and though it’s so long ago
That the miracle of Christmas did start
It’s real and it’s present, I can know this love now
Taking time, making room, in my heart.  

For Riviera Radio & other stations.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Audio:

Where are you this Advent?

Where are you this Advent,
In yourself I mean, deep down
Are you struggling or contented
Do you smile inside, or frown?

Where are you this Advent,
Is it hard or going well?
Do you feel that life’s progressing
Or declining, can you tell?

Where are you this Advent,
Do you ask, what does it mean?
Ever wonder, is there more
Behind it all, something unseen?

Where are you this Advent,
See nature – beauty there
Could it be within it
Lies a quality of care?

Where are you this Advent,
As we seek the ones we love
Could there be a loving Presence
Deep within, around, above?

Where are you this Advent,
Could you possibly believe
In the baby, God among us
A gift, to be received?

(for BBC Radio Leeds & other stations)

Audio:

Image by Pezibear at Pixabay.com

Diwali & ‘Light of the World’

Diwali, festival of lights, warm traditions, customs bright
Rangoli, pretty coloured rice, family joy and pungent spice
See the lamplight glowing there, firework whistle, crisp night air,
Tasty food in ‘thali’ dish, neighbour’s greeting, loving wish
Yet, can any lamp or spark, chase away an inner dark?
Secret things I wish to hide, what on them can turn the tide?
Is there lasting light to shine, in this troubled heart of mine?
I heard a rumour, precious pearl, one known as ‘Light of the World’
Now I seek this inner light, and long to see, with purer sight.

November gloom, autumnal air
Marks festivity bright and rare
Ambient scenes, exquisite sights
Diwali, festival of lights.

Flickering candle, lamplight glow
Cosy homely warm tableau
Tasty food in ‘thali’ dish
Family greeting, loving wish.

What could be more apt and right
Than such a reverie of light?
Still, is there yet richer art
A balm to soothe a troubled heart?

Every lamp and firework spark
Soon will be snuffed out, go dark
Show me light that will not cease
To this frayed cracked heart bring peace.

Blind, I seek some inner light
Fumbling, crave a greater sight
Jesus, teacher, ‘Light of the world’
Let light be in me unfurled.   

(produced with Christopher Singh)

Image by bhupendra Singh from Pixabay