Hidden Grace

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Senseless acts of beauty went
unnoticed as the runners ran
and golfers golfed
and my head span.
Full of self I stormed upon
the beaten earth and missed the shades
of microscopic brown and green,
the flower hidden in the leaves,
the pounding in the runner’s ears,
the grace which binds me to these years
and notices it all.

New Season

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Fig Season?

The garden holds promises, and I visit them daily:
minuscule at first,
                   fluffy, unsure,     like
hesitant children, awaiting the world.
This is not quite their season:
the Rabbi knew as much,
yet visited expectant nonetheless.
And, as frost and dew recede, there they are,
peeping and proffering garden-bound joy.
Too early to pluck,
too much promise curse.
So I’ll visit them daily
until they can sing.

There hasn’t been a lot going on at The Consolations of Writing for the past few weeks: partly because the busyness of life has conspired against my being able to write very much but also because after three and a half years of managing this site I’ve been in the process recently of rethinking what I use it for. I’m in the midst, when time allows, of an extended writing project centred around faith, mental health and the fragmentation of 21st century life. Some of it is on the down low, but some can be found at a new site I’m trialling, sprawlpoems.wordpress.com. And, as that site slowly takes on its own identity, this site seems to be returning to some of its old roots: the question of how writing can bridge the gap between faith and life.

It’s a question I have asked for a long time, both in my own writing and reflection. And now it has a new shape: a doctoral thesis I am in the throes of, around the links between creative writing and adolescent well-being in schools – a topic close to my heart as both a teacher and a writer. So the new question that I’m toying with is this: what does it look like in my own writing for me to be exploring this topic?

The answer is not yet clear, though some ideas are slowly circulating in my mind. I’ll still be posting poems here, though they may have a different flavour. You can also read the poems I post at Sprawl. But there will also be some new ideas and approaches that I’ll be trialling here in the coming weeks and months. I hope you can all join me in the process!

Blessings,
Matt

August

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I gather moments like raindrops,
         like snowdrops:
these microscopic buds of spring
         tricked by sun
     to come out, one     by one;
  I see
how hesitant can be
              can be
     the grandest glimpse of things
               and sing.

I catch the way your moments dance
         from distance –
yet close enough to ring
         the shadows into song
       in soft, legato days  of praise.
   I find
how hopefully we hold
               and hold
      in tentative expectancy
                  to see.

You hold our hope in moments of joy,
          unalloyed.
What we do not expect
          grips tight. I neglect
       too soon what we know.    Let go
     of fears
that pass. Joy is forever,
            forever
       the things that stir our hearts in song.
               Not long.

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On an enclosure of bees in a honey store

The bee is not afraid of me,
I know the butterfly.
(Emily Dickinson)

Busy as themselves, they bustle
in explosion of hum and hive.
Contained, less fearsome, they pattern out their piece of wall
in splendour of black and Emperor’s yellow.
Intricate weaving, a tight-packed fabric of sweetness and protection,
this is nothing to startle at.
Yet children cannot play with them or with each other,
and deathly stings signal the sickness, not create it.
Until lion and lamb are united,
and babies can rest in the serpent’s nest,
until we have no fear of bees killing or dying,
until then we wait, and watch glory from afar.
Beauty still buzzes and demands our sight.

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Too Much Light 4: Prepare Your Feet

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   No room,
and yet there is room:
in shoulders, between lanes,
by roadsides, in industrial paddocks.
No room, perhaps, for cars, yet feet
have space to move, if you,
  traffic-sore, should rise
          and step
into the space where lavender
shifts in wind, gnarled
      tree trunks climb
   to upward     possibility.
He comes
     on desert paths; He plants
His footsteps in the raging sea.
As inlets, channels, block up here,
       prepare your feet,
    prepare your way,
          prepare to come    and see.

Note: Most of this poem was written on a chewing gum packet while stuck in traffic. Chewing gum packet attached to post.

Prayers of Intercession (Cornucopia of Heaven)

"Musée Henri-Mathieu-Judaïsme (5)" by Ji-Elle - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
“Musée Henri-Mathieu-Judaïsme (5)” by Ji-Elle – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Prayers of Intercession

After Felix Mendelssohn, “Veni Domine, Op.39”

 

Veni Domine, et noli tardare.

Come, Lord, and do not delay.

(Traditional prayer)

 

With empty horn
      and plaintive voice:
                Veni domine, 
                    we cry.
Sunk in mire,
      sunk in self:
              Et noli tardare.

Our earth is cracked, our reservoirs dry:
            Veni domine, we cry.
With rising anguish, rising hearts:
            Et noli tardare.

Awaiting future harvest, while
the crops are languid in these days
                        O Veni domine,
                        we cry.
The horn of plenty has no sound
            but groans of prayer,
               from Spirit fuelled:
                        O Veni Domine, et Veni
                               Domine, et Veni                                                                                                Domine…

With dread and hope, in mounting cry:
            Veni domine, O Veni
                        Domine –
                               Expectant,
            at the clouds we sit:
                   O Lord –
            Come; do not delay.