Advent reassessed

(hyphens added to give a better idea how I read it aloud – or listen below)

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

Rethinking Remembrance

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

Image by Annette Jones from Pixabay

For BBC local, and community radio

Putin & Paddington poem

I wonder what makes you get right hopping mad
What stirs up a bee in your bonnet
What tempts you to use certain words that are bad
Not easily put in a sonnet.

Well I’ll tell you mine, though it’s hardly great fun
Not naturally conducive to laughter
So, if that bothers you, well wait till I’m done
And huff and harangue me, well, after.

I read Mr Putin is moved to compare
Himself to one Peter the Great
Inclines me to give him a Paddington stare
And kindly suggest, “Not you, mate”.

You may think you’re hard, Mr Poots, like ol’ Clint
Who looked good in shades and short stubble
But I think by now you need more than a hint:
It’s not cool sinking countries to rubble.

Not clever your delicate ego to stroke
To big up the ‘great Russian nation’
If that means another place goes up in smoke
And faces a dire decimation.

You might want to ponder one greater than you
Who didn’t with crime share a bed
Nor cook such a foul toxic odious stew
But gave up his own life instead.

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay