Monday, 28 March 2016

Easter Poems

1. The King Sleeps

I will mine the agony of my God with a pick and a lamp.

I will hew the stones and teach them to cry ‘Hosanna!’

I will fashion a tomb to bloom in a garden

I will fracture the face of Israel with a blow

That will become an earthquake

To awaken the dead.

I will set my lamp beneath a splintered tree

I will close my ears against the forsaken cries of the Holy One

I will seal my mouth against the acrid taste of blood

I will shut my eyes to hide the corpse that hangs above me.

His eyes, not -closed. His body, not-clothed.


It’s over. God -

Adored, outpoured - passes over.

Numbed, beyond fear, I whisper a lullaby into the dark:

‘Be still. Be still.

Night dawns.

Death dies -

The King sleeps.’

2. God Awakening

I will celebrate the victory of my God in silence, and in song.

I will gaze upon the likeness

Of the one-who-was pierced.

I will touch the mystery

Of the dead-one-living.

I will trace his signature over my heart:

North to south

East to west:

King of Kings

Lord of Lords.

I will open my mouth to sing the serenade of the stars,

The song of the angels before the throne of God.

I will shout into the sunrise, a canticle for my King:

‘Rejoice! Rejoice!

The Lord is Risen -


I will bury myself in his joy,

And, with laughter,

I will rise again.


Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Love People And Feed Them

Sometime in the mid-eighties (I think ...) I trained as an evangelist for what may have been the last of the great 'crusades' in the UK, led by Luis Palau. I remember hundreds of people spilling out onto the pitch at Queen's Park Rangers football club in response to the call to give themselves to Jesus. It was pretty impressive, and I have nothing but admiration for the organisation and the good intentions and I hope, sincerely, that those who were saved stayed that way.


So I am peeling potatoes this morning at the Salvation Army and I am in fine form. We, pensioners all, (that is, over-sixty) are laughing out loud at the report in the press of a Cabinet meeting of the last government where Owen Patterson, keen to limit immigration and yet keep cheap labour for fruit farmers, suggested that we, the pensioners, be put out in the fields to pick the fruit instead. Oh! Because we shouldn't Idly collect state benefits and be a burden, and furthermore, we should be exempt from minimum wage legislation.


Apparently, one official present forgot protocol, and laughed out loud. Be that as it may, this crazy idea hasn't taken off - yet.


Turns out we ALL worked in the fields in our youth. Hoeing peas, planting potatoes, picking blackcurrants ... We speculated on ways that the various jobs we did could be adapted to our current afflictions: orchards adapted for mobility scooters being favourite.


Seems a long way from Queen's Park Rangers, this mission. Laughter, companionship and service brought together to prepare a meal for people like us who have fallen on hard times. In my thirties I thought it was necessary to fervently entreat others to go to Jesus for salvation. In my sixties I have finally grasped that 'Jesus' is already there. There is no 'them' and 'us' we are all life itself coming into incarnation.


To be an God-bearer is to love people and feed them. That's about it.

Meryl and Lee:

Thursday, 10 March 2016


National Poetry Writing month next month! I'm gearing up for it:


Daily Poem


Set out with a goal! A

DAILY poem. There's a thing.


So:How's Spring doing the other side of my duvet?

Well, there are flowers, and a yellow sun

Birds, catkins, and small things wandering through the ivy.


And that's just MY garden.


There's a stirring here, too, in my heart

The ultimate sense-gate that does more than beat, beat, beat ...


Perhaps, in another life, I was a queen, or a courtesan.

I like playing around with those women, who are STILL here:


But, and this is a homecoming, I love who I am

And contemplate with satisfaction, the divine ordinariness of this same-same day.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

International Women's Day

I am vastly privileged. OK, I am not wealthy or famous, but I have more than enough money to do the things I want to do, and time enough to do them in. I am surrounded by the love of my family and the support of my friends. I have nothing to fear.


On International Women's Day, I want to spare a thought for women who are living in poverty and fear, whose lives are torn apart by war, or made unbearable by domestic violence. There's little I can do to alleviate their suffering, or carry their burdens, but I can do this: be grateful for what I have, and do the little that I can to make the lives of others a bit more bearable.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

An English Country Churchyard

I love a good rummage round a churchyard, don't you?

I came home the long way yesterday, taking a right turn off the Ross Road at Barber's Bridge for a diversion through the villages of Tibberton and Taynton because it's Spring and the native daffodil is in bloom. The hosts of past centuries are depleted to a remnant in the hedgerow and churchyard now but there they are, and their tenacity makes me proud.


I guess St Lawrence's Church, Taynton, isn't grand, but it's loved, and worshippers have gathered here since the time when we had no King, when we were a 'Commonwealth'. A concept I rather like, and wouldn't be too sad to see return ... 'Commondearth' being what we have now. (Disgruntled sigh.)






This striking monument is for three soldiers from the same family killed or maimed in what their family who buried them would have called 'The Great War'

In Cherished Memory of Thomas Wetmore Ponting of the 12th BATT. London Regt. Rangers killed in action in Flanders April 21st. 1915, 29.

 His brothers, Charles (40) and William (37) died within days of each other just two weeks before the Armistice. Can you imagine how this family suffered? 

On a lighter note, the headstone below marks the final resting place of Ann Watkins (69) died 1894, ('Thy Will Be Done) and her husband, the quaintly named 'Comfort' Watkins who followed her to glory in 1900 ('Jesus Wept')

'Comfort' sends my thoughts off down a track. Do the last vestiges of this village's Presbyterian history reside in Mr Watkins' unusual name? The Church itself was Anglicised long ago, but maybe the Dissenting fervour that built it lingered on in family names?

Enough idle speculation! Today is St David's Day! Greetings to my Welsh family and friends. Here for you is one last glimpse of the daffodils!


If you are a fan of British history, St Laurence's Church is Quite Interesting!