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”

Avalon Sunrise

In memory of Kathleen Mary Savage, 1929-2020Beside thistled paddocks I make my way,sun nestled in grey,faint light peeking through.These paddocks containthe means of my flight,and when I arrive where the fruit trees growI shall see what’s lost of home.When final breath is breathed in the nightand what faces we knewwe scarce recognise,when all that we’veContinue reading “Avalon Sunrise”

Grief Before Grief

Here death is a vulture:devours face and memory,claws at carrion, feeds on fullnesslike life was flesh,fit for the taking.But life is a millionintangible moments, alldazzling and passingin Eden-sunk griefand Life won’t go silently,fighting reduction,while Death – old materialist -denies Life ever was.We have seen it, and held it.We bear its witness.We stroke its unresponsive handandContinue reading “Grief Before Grief”


Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. (Psalm 126:5) You’ll be glad to hear your tree is sprouting leaves and in the midst of blossom, tiny fruit. Your little brother’s learning all the names for almond, flowering gum and bottlebrush; yet you by now will know far more than this. TheContinue reading “Bloom”

George Herbert at Bemerton

I am the man who has seen affliction… (Lamentation 3:1) His portrait would have him serenely contemplating a garden, one hand raised beatifically like the saints of old. Often I would have my days like that, passed in that perfect serene of green, spirit quiet within like the waters without, no trouble straining pastoral brow.Continue reading “George Herbert at Bemerton”


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 IsContinue reading “#blessed”

The Womb of the Morning

(Written on Holy Saturday in Bicheno, Tasmania) The oath must still hold true yet waiting dries expectation; the dew of your youth evaporates in the tomb. Now: what the LORD said to David’s Lord is unchanged, but the rods of foes seem the triumphant ones today. Only Pilate’s wife regrets the washing of hands; onlyContinue reading “The Womb of the Morning”

The Case Against the Gods: C.S. Lewis’ Grief and Complaint

Well, today is the 50th anniversary of the death of C.S. Lewis, one of my favourite authors. To commemorate the man and his body of work, here is an essay I have written about him – part of a larger book I am writing on the role of emotional suffering in the lives of significantContinue reading “The Case Against the Gods: C.S. Lewis’ Grief and Complaint”