Resurrection Bread: A Holy Week Poem

This week, in the lead-up to Easter, my personal thoughts about the Resurrection found themselves expressed in the form of a sourdough starter that I was growing from scratch. Each day I wrote a five-line reflection on the process. While Jesus’ death and resurrection is of a scale far bigger than anything growing in aContinue reading “Resurrection Bread: A Holy Week Poem”

40 Days of Mercy Week 6: Mercy at the Cross

As we move closer to the time of remembering Jesus’ death, this week’s poem comes from Ukrainian-born poet Anna Akhmatova, whose poem sequence “Requiem” explores the grief that she and others witnessed of the height of Stalinist rule. One striking image that Akhmatova returns to continually throughout the sequence is that of a mother mourningContinue reading “40 Days of Mercy Week 6: Mercy at the Cross”

40 Days of Mercy Week 5: Mercy out of dust

I’ve wanted for a long time to write a series of reflections on the poetry of Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Nelly Sachs. That will have to wait for another time, but this week’s poem comes from a sequence of hers called “In the Habitations of Death”, where imagery of death, dust, longing and encounteringContinue reading “40 Days of Mercy Week 5: Mercy out of dust”

40 Days of Mercy: Week 4

This week’s poem comes from the largely forgotten African American poet James Weldon Johnson whose book “God’s Trombones” takes as its task to preserve the language and cadence of the African American preaching tradition. The collection begins in a prayer for mercy and then moves through Biblical history to arrive at the final judgement, aContinue reading “40 Days of Mercy: Week 4”

40 Days of Mercy Week 3: Mercy for the safe

This week I lost NBN connection and was locked out of my Google account while trying to buy an eBook of Ilya Kaminsky’s “Dancing in Odessa”. Today I found myself in the impossible position of trying to convey to an Optus consultant why it was no use telling me to download the Optus app toContinue reading “40 Days of Mercy Week 3: Mercy for the safe”

40 Days of Mercy: Week 2

In the last decade of his life, Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861) turned to a paraphrasing a number of Biblical psalms in a work known in English by the title “Psalms of David”. Many of his paraphrases take these ancient songs and prayers and apply them to the griefs being experienced by his people underContinue reading “40 Days of Mercy: Week 2”

40 Days of Mercy: Kyrie in the ashes

This Lent, the world worn down by two years of pandemic, war unfolding in Ukraine and hearts anxious and troubled, I am turning to the poems of others to reflect on what it means to cry out for mercy in this time. Today’s poem is from young Ukrainian poet Les Beley, and it is accompaniedContinue reading “40 Days of Mercy: Kyrie in the ashes”

We keep finding hearts

We keep finding hearts- tiny golden plastic ones left over from Epiphany craft,not adhesive yetclinging wherever they are scatteredlike stars on the floorboards,the craft table, the living roomto welcome our guests.Nothing scatters so readilyyet sticks so fervently, as thoughsome symbiosis depended upontheir placement on woodand I must spendconstant delicate moments prisingthese hearts from the floor,Continue reading “We keep finding hearts”

A year of magical reading

2021 has been many things, most of them not what we expected or hoped for twelve months ago. But one positive thing that happened to me this year was that, in an effort to cut back the control of Amazon’s algorithm on my life, I got rid of Goodreads and started to keep my ownContinue reading “A year of magical reading”

Ordinary Wednesday: Cocooning

At bedtime tonight two of my boys started playing with their bright green IKEA tunnel, climbing into it to lie down and pretend to sleep, as though it were a cocoon. Watching them I caught myself thinking, “Yes! That’s what I’d like to do. I’d like to build myself a cocoon and lie in it,Continue reading “Ordinary Wednesday: Cocooning”