New Year

I no longer resolve,fatigued by my own failure,all previous years’ zeal turnedto crumbs surrounding my table. Instead I will sweepand, in sweeping, take noteof these archeological layers,the fossils of all these discarded selvesand all I thought I could be: the days I failed myself before sunrise,the anger that burned before the day felt its heat;theContinue reading “New Year”

Advent 5

As a child, it was alwayspure anticipation, the sense of somethingpouring out of a constantlyself-filling source, readying itself solelyfor our delight. Now I keepthe list running in my head of allthat is not yet done, might not be done withoutmy doing. Though gifts still beckon, so toothe slowly nagging sense of somethingthat must be filled,Continue reading “Advent 5”

Advent 2

Days brighten as legs lag;Christmas’ pulse confuses withAdvent slowness.How do we find stillness in this poundingpurposeful ascent to year’s climax?Many rushed home for the census but fewsaw the signs, heard the angels, glimpsed the star.Slowness humbles.In weakness, in childlikeness, come.In seasonal fluster, in thesehigh-pollen, heaty days, come.In competence, incompetence,preparedness and cluelessness, come.The season grows thatContinue reading “Advent 2”

Waiting 7: Huldah

When the king, garments torn with grief at the broken law,sent messengers to me in hopes of hope,I thought at first, Have you come to me, notJeremiah, looking for a mother insteadof a firebrand? It mattered little.You cannot soothe a fire with lullabies,can only shout loud and clear that the whole town might hear.For sometimestheContinue reading “Waiting 7: Huldah”

Waiting 6: Bathsheba

Viewed from the voyeur’s vantage,she is only ever Other,breasts bared or barely draped in dampness,bathing or emerging from waters,eyes come-hithering,sometimes her whole body issuing itsdubious invitation.No doubt David saw her this way,eyes surveying the rooftops for all he called his own,the private and holy ritual she performedthe only thin excuse his lust required.Only Tissot hasContinue reading “Waiting 6: Bathsheba”

Waiting 5: Rahab

They seldom ask why the men were there.As they slipped down the wall, I thought:Just as it’s always been,the men sliding away to their homes,the shame slipping off their well-oiled skin.Nothing touched them.They would take their promised land just like they always had;mine would be the leftovers,mine the scarlet thread left dangling mid-air.Only, as theContinue reading “Waiting 5: Rahab”

Waiting 4: Miriam

Forty decades in the desert and we were worn down, weary from our weakness, despairing of doubt,catching past only in fragments like morning manna: a whiff of Egypt’s garlic, a vague floating thought of dangerslurking like crocodiles in the Nile.Some fragments heavied us with the burdens of their memories: water bursting angrily from rock,rebellions andContinue reading “Waiting 4: Miriam”

Waiting 3: Leah

I’ve found this next one in the Waiting series hard to write. So hard that I’m a week behind in my weekly poems. Some of the stories that I’m looking at are stories I know very well, yet I’m seeing in them the pains of characters often marginalised in how we tell them. The storyContinue reading “Waiting 3: Leah”

Waiting 2: Hagar

I was not born to choose.From the very start they told me,”Go here, do this, take that.”So it was no big step (I told myself)when my mistress said,”Go to your master’s bed.Give him a son. I can’t.”I was not taught to say, “I won’t”,never heard the word violate,nor how a body was not like aContinue reading “Waiting 2: Hagar”