A year of magical reading

2021 has been many things, most of them not what we expected or hoped for twelve months ago. But one positive thing that happened to me this year was that, in an effort to cut back the control of Amazon’s algorithm on my life, I got rid of Goodreads and started to keep my ownContinue reading “A year of magical reading”


…my road, My rugged way to heaven, please God. (Christina Rossetti, “Old and New Year Ditties”) Sometimes a harvest, sometimes fallow, sometimes Job’s cut-down tree, the year passes in a sighing nonetheless, a barely whispered “Yet”: yet this is not all, this is not how all years shall go, this is not the only movementContinue reading “Yet”

Didn’t it rain?

As the decade breathed its last weary breaths, we sweltered,haze blowing over from the north and west and eastand the fire station on Anderson Street set upits red-painted TOTAL FIRE BAN sign.We had it okay; not everyone did.Our worst fears were heat and the once-in-a-decade chancethat fire might make it this close to the Bay.WhileContinue reading “Didn’t it rain?”

Advent 2: Last Things

And what have we done?The year will pass regardless, yetopportunity arises now to askif our deeds have sown death or life,if lifehas sprouted from our dying deeds. Dying, however my breath may deceive,I must ask if my hands have turned to tendmy own grave, or a garden; if my steps have benttowards the straight, orContinue reading “Advent 2: Last Things”

For the New Year: Again

And so it starts over: our spinning wayAround the sun; our cycle of light, dark,Hot, cold; plants losing, gaining leaves and bark.If we hear what the seasons have to say,It will be only their incessant bay,Their insistant reminders – at the parkOr down the street – to heed the sparkOf summer light, and the dyingContinue reading “For the New Year: Again”

Christmas 8: Order my beginning

Another year begins, and today we have a special piece of music to see in the new year: Bach’s Cantata for New Year’s Day, Part IV of his spectacular Christmas Oratorio. This cantata takes as its theme the presentation of Jesus at the Temple, but as often happens with Bach the story is explored throughContinue reading “Christmas 8: Order my beginning”

Christmas 7: Rejoice in your new clothes

2017 is almost over, and today we have two choral pieces to conclude our year with, one early, one modern, both settings of one of the readings for the first Sunday after Christmas, Isaiah 61:10-62:4. The first is the delightfully joyous “Gaudens Gaudebo in Domino” by the 16th century German composer Philip Dulchius. The textContinue reading “Christmas 7: Rejoice in your new clothes”

Welcome, God’s Year

For many, 2016 will be a year that few will miss or wish to repeat. It was the year of Brexit and Trump, of many beloved public figures dying, and seemingly also a year of much personal hardship for many people. It was certainly the case for my wife and I this year. Yet I’m determinedContinue reading “Welcome, God’s Year”

Resolution 2: Slow Fruit

Nothing purposed is instant. Fruit grows first by roots spreading deep, nutrients drawn, sunlight synthesised, chlorophyll taking glory from green. Look to the fig tree. If you see its buds, Summer’s promise dangles, yet is not realised. Tantalising, like a kitten’s ball of yarn, or a note waiting to resolve, a game of slow expectancy.Continue reading “Resolution 2: Slow Fruit”