Matins

O God,
As the sun rises, again,
a little sheepish, over
this hesitant day,
prepare the way
for my often straying feet.
May my yesterdays not repeat
except in the way Your grace has of giving
every new day for new ways of living.

Keep me. Make me new:
I have not loved
as I ought to have loved;
I have not taken the good as gift;
I have not said Yes to all from Your hand.
Whatever day holds - to sit, walk or stand -
may it be You
in every breath - You.

World without end,
and if world should end.
Father, Son, Spirit: Amen.

Chesed

To think
where darkest nights have taken this soul,
and how thin
the membrane between life
and death, how loud
the Accuser has screamed
to pierce the membrane and throw me through;

yet here
I stand, with no reason
beside You and the sheer
leap into faith that saved,
the soft
belly of love into which I fell;

so here
I stand, with my
eldest in my arms while
he reaches the clothesline,
spins like the chuckling
Father who set this orbit to go,
reaches and carries, and calls out Again!

So why not,
when held
in steadfast love; why not
watch
it spin again and shout
the dead Accuser dumb.

Father’s Day

You take it all, you and your brothers:
my sleep, my leisure, my freedom,
my heart.
Daily I prepare myself
to lose myself,
to find myself
in the joy of your laughter,
the excitement of movement,
the power unlocked from discovering
words, actions, nodding or shaking,
the lands that lie open to traverse as your feet
become slowly, rapidly acquainted with walking.
Daily this,
all this, directs
my pulse, my choice, my chance, my being.
And I,
though it makes me less of an I,
am greater the more
you diminish me.
You finish me. You find me
and nestle your sticky fingers
in my ever expanding soul.

Into Silence

Attention is the beginning of devotion.

Mary Oliver
Startled by the beating of my own heart,
the pounding
of my thoughts in between my ears,
I have found
noise to be quieter than silence, have brokered
terms of peace armed
with a flashing screen.
Nothing frightens like
the thought that you may not be enough;
You are enough, are All.
In deep
silence I meet
the noise of fear, and greet
Your warmest, primeval whisper.

Desert Food

They also brought food for David and all who were with him, including wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, honey, curds, flocks, and cheese. For they said, “The people are no doubt hungry, tired, and thirsty there in the desert.”

2 Samuel 17:28-29
Mid-crisis, after yet another narrow escape,
the fugitive king rests, and this ordinary, abundant fare
pausing somewhere -
a plateau, perhaps where the enemy, his son,
can still be seen? Or tucked away
in the cleft of some rock, like Moses spared
from judgment's full daylit face?
There will be a time and place
for judgment, and for the essay of souls,
a time to examine heart's motives, to ponder
the chance that maybe the rebel son's It.
Yet in this middle point of crisis
there is time even for kings
to strengthen with grains, with lentils, with cheese,
to eat honey and curds in the desert breeze.

Turning

The scent was masked as we walked, though
hints of pollen pushed their way through cloth to me,
and on return
as I parked the pram and set
excited new walkers free to roam, I soaked
my senses in the radiance
of fruit trees delighting
in new white-pink growth, and the hope
that if not now, soon at least,
signs are sure, sure to be
soon.

Learning to Splash

To prepare my children for a world of puddles,
I must learn myself what to do with puddles,
how to take the mud with the joy,
how to wear the shock of the wet,
how to delight in the splash.

To prepare my children for a world of shadows,
I must learn how to see the sun in the shadows,
and how to trace the dance of light,
how to marvel at silhouettes,
how not to fear the night.

To prepare my children for a world of unknowns,
I must brace myself and unknow
all this false security
we held for years before this one,
and rest when I don't know.

To prepare my children for a world of Day,
I must learn the worth of days,
and I must learn to face the night
that our days may be unafraid.

Changeless

Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours

of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and

chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect for Compline, The Book of Common Prayer
Full of contradiction, I am buoyed
by the blossom of change in the trees yet
wearied
by the clock's relentless chime.
Burdened by the weight of change
and the wait for change alike, I am
entangled in the too much too little of days and months.
No clock marks His coming hour,
nor days mar His face.
O beauty ancient and new:
blossom me eternal in You.

Extraordinary Time

Deprived of the ordinary markings of days -
drives to work, birthdays, people to celebrate -
we cling
more fervently to organic signs,
the constant shifts in the garden,
which trees have blossomed,
which ones have leaves,
how tall the pea plant has grown,
how white its petals.

These and the aphids signal time:
those and the snails migrating,
the worms beneath the compost,
the dead bird by the granny flat,
rising and falling daily tallies,
who died youngest, who's all clear
and how long until - we cannot say -
only greet other pilgrims on the way, and pray.

Improvisation: Rain

In these days of lockdown (my city, Melbourne, is experiencing the toughest restrictions of anywhere in Australia so far), I have been finding myself drawing increasing inspiration from the small things that I notice in my local environment, looking ever closer and closer to the consolations of the everyday. This video poem came from a moment of stillness while walking my children along the Werribee River, persevering through intermittently heavy rain. May we all keep noticing the small fingerprints of God in the easily missed details of our lockdown lives. Stay safe.