Advent 1

Somehow, likea miracle of new birth,the children rise withall the energy of Christmas morning.I lag behind their delight,lost still in the sleep I wish I was having,yet lifted all the same to seechild hearts leapinglike an infant in the expectant womb.The waiting will be what chafes.Our spirits lag with Spirit’s time.Even by breakfast joy dwindlesContinue reading “Advent 1”

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”

Waiting 1: Seth

It’s been quite a while since I have written anything here, life having a way of slowing me down in my writing of late. But in the weeks leading up to Advent this year I’ve decided to write a series of poems looking at seven figures from the Bible whose lives helped pave the wayContinue reading “Waiting 1: Seth”

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”