However it hits us – with sudden strike
Or slow attrition – it hits all the same.
Movements may be slower, tentative, like
A creature not accustomed to the day;
Or, paralysed, you might see the sun and
Not know that it calls you to anything
But sleep. If so, sleep deep. Tomorrow’s hand
Is stayed for now. Times without mask can bring
The faces that we long for, and our feet
When broken trample less. Now you may know
The truth that says Liar! to the swift and fleet.
In all these days of infinite regress,
Blessed are the poor in spirit, it says.
The copers always say yes until the last
and the question’s sincerity must be matched with the moment,
the timing devised for the heart to respond:
no hallway exchanges, or coffee machine chit-chat.
Space is required – a safe place to land
when sand bags and bubbles collapse.
Too late to be asking when the home is not made,
when the body’s been drifting in the rye all this time.
Catch long before the question is asked;
catch long before the reply.
So William Blake begins his poem “A Poison Tree”. Where as Christians do we take our anger, or all the other messy emotions that seem not to belong comfortably in our faith? We can start by taking them to the Psalms.
Well, iTunes is not co-operating with me trying to get my podcasts available through the store, but here is the second one, a reflection on the power of the Psalms for dealing with anger, despair and depression. The recording is available for download here and at Soundcloud. If you like what you hear, please let others know so that these reflections can get to the people who need to hear them.
…the dread of something after death –
The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns – puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of…
(William Shakespeare, Hamlet)
What dreams may come when we set out for stars?
What will we find when, solar systems pierced,
We gaze beyond the reach of looking-glass?
That our Sun has a cousin much more fierce?
That Pluto’s a planet after all? That we
Are not alone? That man’s an errant knave?
That, mirrored in Kepler 452b,
We see our fate: as rock without any wave?
Still, wave; don’t drown. Light millennia stand
Between us and our twin; no cheap flights
To suss out greener grasses. Best-laid plans
Must prove themselves or else be caught in light.
Hope makes a fool of missions to other spheres,
Always ready when true land appears.
King: I cannot come to You however I choose
yet all I am is a bundle
hurriedly put together,
no sack cloth, no ashes,
hair still mussed from slumber,
feet not yet expecting to walk…
Can I come to You as a stowaway,
scarcely awake, found among cargo,
hiding like Jonah while the waves ravage?
I bring no grand promise,
only the startled eyes of one caught unawares
and the knowledge that, when before kings, I must bow,
and, when cast in oceans, to swim.
Though forty days are hardly enough
for the numbness of limbs to distribute itself
and for fingers to learn, once again, how to pray –
I come to you, King, in dishevelled dismay
and declare my all dross at Your feet.
If my Amen burns faint now
or my wick dwindles, short,
may You be my prayer’s substance,