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
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
We may find a multitude of ways to remember Sacrifices made, this day each November And whether we wear poppy red, poppy white In the square, in a churchyard, in the soft autumn light Or at home, or even if we don’t mark it at all Conflicts, some present, exert still a call On our minds and our hearts to give pause and reflection Consider, is there some substantial connection Between those who struggle, and our more comfortable lives Far from child soldiers under African skies Or those in Ukraine, or Iran, where they fight Against varying tyrannical forms, out of sight… When part of you hurts, the whole body feels pain It’s how we should be, when one person is maimed So let us be conscious, seek out and discern Where conflict is happening, to direct our concern And find out the cause – resources, or land – Which ignited the flame, let it get out of hand Put ourselves in their shoes, empathise, and yeah, pray Take some action perhaps – and though it doesn’t go away We can lift up the hurting, joining hands, joining hearts And imagine a future – where war finally departs
It might not have slipped your attention or sight: The COP conference – straight after Bonfire Night The occasion of gunpowder, treason and plot Coincides with a push – to stop Earth getting hot The gig is in Egypt (famously dry Like the powder lined up to blow Parliament high) But while these events enjoy similar fame I don’t for one moment pretend they’re the same While Guy and his gang tried a massive explosion The Earth’s plight is more like a drawn out implosion And though we light fireworks to remember Guy Fawkes It’s less likely COP will see popping of corks Let’s hope the steps there are not sticking plaster It’d be nice if we stave off a slow burn disaster
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?
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