Monday, 28 September 2015

#MicroblogMondays: What I Did At The Weekend

I escaped. In all honesty, I didn't go far. I headed west through Ross on Wye, over the border into Cymru (Wales) skirting Monmouth, weaving my way carefully through Usk, then out into the wilds to Llansoar Mill near Carleon. The journey took just under an hour.

Llansoar Mill is home to a small Christian Community of which I am glad to be a member. "Simplicity, Inclusivity, Paradox" heads up the website, and there we are, sharing the mystery of faith through prayer, music, poetry, literature, film, debate, food, divine love, human virtue... To begin the list ... It's by no means 'church' in a narrow sense, but a faith community in its widest, most expansive and truly exploratory manifestation. I wasn't intending to do the commercial, but I have begun it. For more, if you're interested, there's Google ...

There were 20 of us visiting over the weekend: convening to soak ourselves in the ancient wisdom of the Sufi poet, Rumi.

Duncan, our leader recited poetry, hauntingly accompanied on a stringed instrument that I should have enquiried the name of .. He told stories, humorous and revealing, light-hearted and deeply moving. Amazing.

I stayed, not at the Mill this time, but off-site, with another community member, Ruth. We drew very close over the weekend: the seeming disaster of booking 'too late' turning into a splendid opportunity to share more of our selves.

Here's a taste of Rumi, and the view from my bedroom window in Ruth's beautiful home.




Sunday, 27 September 2015

Sitting With Rumi


Mine me then, O God:


"Tarrah!!" When the treasure that I Am

Reveals itself - and

l, (you know me)

Turn in wonder and say,

"Why, there you are!"



It wasn't that I was waiting for you,

No. Such futility is long past.

So, your kiss, and real enough

To be called, "KISS", surprised me.

Something, I could tell, has broken in you

And I, though not the cause of your disquiet,

Am forgiven.


Monday, 21 September 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Britain 2015

This is Dave. He sits in the arch under the ancient gateway to the Cathedral. Never heard him complain. One picture. Let it tell it's own story.


I was doing ordinary things

I was doing ordinary things today

Dropping Margareta off at the surgery

Spraying the flowers, left in church

Ironically, for a requiem.

Brewing tea, pouring coffee at the Army,

For the homeless,

No special cause, and all done


I recall the gossips on the bus having a laugh

Me, at the back, letting it all

Flow over me. Not yet knowing, quite, why I am sad.


Some time passes. I remember what I am to do,

It's around five, and I light the fat candle on my dresser,

And, because she is another mother to my daughter,

And because she is dying, and it's too soon, too soon,

I weep, and my day is brought back to me

With gratitude for it's ordinariness, for it's

Expectancy, and because I am





Thursday, 17 September 2015

Incontrovertible Truth

I haven't been too well this summer. Nothing serious: a cold in June developed into a cough that wouldn't go away, finally vanquished this week with a course of antibiotics. As a consequence, I didn't get out on the streets with Gloucested City Mission for the whole of August. My weakened state kept me tied to my iPad, and engaging with the campaign to elect Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. Which was a whole lot of fun. However ...

Yesterday, I returned to the streets with renewed vigour and my friend Tom,

Problem: How do you stay friends with someone who holds views that you find unsettling. Tom is a street pastor, a Missioner, and a volunteer at a food bank, so he lacks neither kindness nor compassion. Nevertheless, he saw fit to 'put me right' on the issue of the refugees\migrants attempting to enter Europe. I won't bore you with the 'facts' that Tom had gleaned from the right-wing press. I listened patiently, after all I can neither confim nor deny the tales of corruption and deceit that Tom trotted out.

Finally, I found an incontovertible truth that I could respond with:

"I haven't got it in my heart,Tom, to condemn desperate people fleeing from disaster. How could I, when in their shoes, I'd do the same?"

In the turn of a phrase, I switched Tom from his head to his heart, and he was silent. I pray he stays there.


Monday, 14 September 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Word-Working

She, The Poet
She, the Poet has awoken,
Opens a box for you and out wafts
Such a fragrance! The
Plumeria blossom of Oahu and the
Drift of an ocean
Crashing its momentous waves
Against the black volcanic sands.
In the Botanical Gardens-
Where she always strays-
It's Tuesday
The Orchid Man Comes.
Such splendour!

See, the poet looks about her
And waves you over to
Stare intently into
The deep green woods
On an ancient hillside
Where two lovers,
Who will not notice you,
Are sealing their fate with
More than just a kiss.
Smile! SHE is.

Listen! The poet
Has conjured for you
A song of many delights
Rising and falling
But also, if you are alert to it,
A swelling of sadness that
Is not without meaning, and
Because she dreams it,
Completes her world.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Now The Real Work Begins

So Jeremy Corbyn has been elected leader of the Labour Party by a landslide. All the doom-ranting and nay-saying was to no avai:if anything it probably made the electorate MORE inclined to vote for him, not less.


I am delighted, for Jeremy and for our nation, of course I am, but I am a little bit sorry for myself ... You see, it means I'll have to get off Twitter and out of bed and actually DO something.


I made a start, I joined the Labour Party during Jeremy's victory speech (Yes, in bed, via Twitter ...) now the real work begins.


Jeremy Corbyn isn't going to attract big money for glitzy ads in prominent places, he's going to have to rely on foot-soldiers going out and about sharing the vision of a fairer, kinder society. This feels better to me, doesn't it to you?


This man has the support of poets. You know what, that means a whole lot more than being in the pocket of the Murdoch Empire, or being at the beck and call of minor celebrities ...


A lot of people are smiling right now, a few, I suspect, in spite of themselves. Something new, and slightly dangerous is happening, and I LOVE it!


Fun While It Lasted!

I'm writing this less than an hour before the winner of the contest for the leadership of the Labour Party is announced, and WOW!! What a ride!

As a result of this splendid, chaotic, fabulous contest, I have decided to become a member of the Labour Party. Win or lose, Jeremy Corbyn has electrified politics. Love him or loathe him, it can never again be said that a candidate that incites passion, and doesn't temper his beliefs to the prejudices of a focus group,  is 'unelectable'.

But wait! The fun isn't over yet! Think of the possible scenarios for next Wednesday should Jeremy face that nice Mr Cameron at Prime Minister's Question Time in the House of Commons! Baying Tory MP's (baying is not optional in the Commons, the Grown-Ups are in the House of Lords) dazed Labour MP's, other groupings delicious with anticipation ...

Our nation is split, many of our citizens are suffering hardship, the problems overseas are overwhelming. The time has come for a serious man, not given to baying, to stand up, quietly, and say 'Enough!'




Monday, 7 September 2015

#MicroblogMondays: You Remember!

You remember what it was like to be In Love,

Worlds turned upside down. And every glance

Made you laugh, and persuaded butterflies to dance inside you.


Yes, you remember, because your heart was on fire

And everything was a different hue: brighter somehow,

And deeper, if you know what I mean.


Well, and I know this is going to sound crazy, because, really,

You have to be present to it , but, I swear to you,

It's like finding God.




(I said it was crazy ...)