It gives me great pleasure, it thrills me to report It’s turning out to be such a fine summer of sport Not just the lionesses’ footballing win We’ve the Commonwealth games too, to sink our teeth in Been a while since we’ve seen so much zest and such fun In the buzzin’ and groovin’ ol’ city of Brum, These games have a magic, quite all of their own You can’t bottle it up, in a pic, on a smartphone A compelling amalgam of the strange and the elite Is what we see in this festival of cool sporting feats I like that in a Games where the top draws excel There’s a place for the home grown and quirky as well When I look at these Games, you know they put me in mind Of another phenomenon, of a different kind There’s something about the whole quest to excel That reminds me of the spiritual call to do our best as well And the thing that distinguishes that bold inner ‘race’ Is God blesses it with some of his stardust, called grace And the best thing of all is, we’re not on our own In that spiritual gymnasium, we don’t go it alone And so as these games reach their joyous conclusion I pray that we’ll all have, a big grace infusion.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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
The Winter Olympics – yes we’re off to Beijing, and not without controversy, which’ll certainly add zing There are two things quite frankly I find fascinating, there might well be more, but I won’t keep you waiting: I’m struck by the wintry beauty out there, iced mountains alone give me joy, to be fair And there’s nothing like forested pristine snow slopes, to awaken strange longings, lost joys, even hopes But the other thing that strikes me’s the drive to excel, the exertion of humans doing something so well A bob sled like bullet, hurtling along, the speeds it can reach will just strike you as ‘wrong’ And few things compare to a skier, whip fast, hunched over and focused, like lightning speed past I’m in awe of those skaters and the shapes that they make, and the ones who in lycra race right round a lake I feel that this urge to excel, this desire, to stretch, push, is somehow God-given, this fire And though I am called to a different quest, I still feel that tug to give my all and my best And the thing that helps most, from within and above, is a sense of acceptance, that’s rooted in love I hold the conviction, deep down and within, that God’s for us, and in the best sense, wants us to ‘win’.
We’re now a whole fortnight into twenty twenty two, I’ve frankly no-idea how that happened, do you? Wasn’t so long ago I had mince pies and cake, I’m up to my neck now in work, for pity’s sake What about you? How are you feeling? Tip top, or just like a house whose paint’s peeling? I really wouldn’t blame you, I’d quite understand, if you felt out of sorts, unmoored or unmanned It’s tough that back then it was angels and ‘Hark!’, and now all you’ve got is some bills, and it’s dark The blackest and bleakest time of the year, that’s a-design-fault and a half, t’would appear It stretches ahead, a whole year spanking new, but that’s not so helpful, when your head feels like stew So here’s a little thought that might shed some hope, at a time when some of us, well, struggle to cope If it’s gloomy outside, then it strikes me as clever, to find light within, well never say never To grab the year by the horns, and put on it your stamp, try seeking light for your own inner lamp The brilliant thing is, it’s not just down to you, there’s someone who tells us he’ll help us out too Did you ever hear that Jesus is called the ‘light of the world’? It’s a special thought I reckon, in fact it’s a pearl If he can help me out here, light me up from inside, well you know what? I might just be up for the ride.