What is the Lord’s Prayer?
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we have also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
(New City Catechism)
Hands upraised, hands open
imploring yet worshipping
receiving yet giving
asking yet content
forgiven and forgiving
on earth, as it is in heaven;
daily caught in moments’ fear…
Our Father here and Heaven’s king:
teach us how to pray.
in the light
the light is blinding and
the days are long; the sun
confuses us, the bustle deafens.
let us walk.
Let’s leave our cars, our homes, our days
The Son has stories brighter than noon,
pavilions for the rising of the brightest morning,
and ways that feet must slow to learn.
Prepare your crowns, prepare
your heads to bow before
Prepare the day, to slow, to greet
bright as Day.
What does God require in the first, second
and third commandments?
First, that we know and trust God as the only
true and living God. Second, that we avoid all
idolatry and do not worship God improperly.
Third, that we treat God’s name with fear and
reverence, honoring also his Word and works.
(New City Catechism)
The Beginning of all things,
begin with Him:
know, trust, serve.
What breath have you
that did not pour forth from His mouth?
what life, what sight
that did not emanate from Him?
Is He contained within
the stars, the moon,
the patterns of the soil
that you may draw
a set of lines on a cave's wall and declare,
here He is! or carve
His likeness out of wood?
And what is His name
that you can barter,
beg, lie, steal
armed with it in your carry-bag,
a totem, a charm,
a licence to twist and turn His will
as though He were potters' clay.
You are the clay. Remember,
children of Adam,
the soil, the breath,
the hands that shaped and formed.
And bow; you are His likeness. Be
before Him as His image; bow
before Him and begin.
Time for my last poem for Peter Steele, this one based on his simple and delicate “An Ordinary Evening in Kew”. Less theological than the other poems I have chosen, this one is a wonderful tribute to the simple beauties of God’s gift of life.
Morning Song (After "An Ordinary Evening in Kew")
The Kensington street heats up for public holiday and I
Race the heat down hills, past flats and parklands, through
The lessening leaves that lined last week’s pavement.
Autumn yawns as summer dawns again, and slow the street
Awakes to greet the gift of sunrise without work.
In my ears the swoop of violins, and heartbeat
Growing with each downwards leap. My shins, uncertain,
Hold together for the plummet, though this is rest
Nonetheless: bodies, finite, all the same can sing
And defy the grave, though ever moving to it.
Birds’ music, poetry in movement: common grace
A sign that more than this may soon be allowed.
Welcome, street, and gambol now beside me,
Gravity negating, the dance a dreaming joy.
An Ordinary Evening in Kew - Peter Steele
On the one hand, Dante, and in the other pocket
The man who took his mind and left New Haven
For parts unknown. What were they up to,
The stoutly suited broker of our fortunes,
The burning Florentine? Watching the rain
Descend as if it chose to, giving vent
To laws at once of gravity and mercy,
I'm brought to book by earth's imagination,
The bearing of the trees, exfoliation
Of these most rambling streets, the rise of lights
Captive upon their poles and in my eyes.
Come in, you two: see if you'll make a lodging
An hour at least with the rest who wait inside,
Heads full of dreaming, bodies compelled by time.
(From Peter Steele, White Knight With Beebox: New and Selected Poems,
John Leonard Press, 2008)
leaves dance in spring-wind,
sit and sway and calm the street.
The still-point-petals line the garden;
brick-walls gleam and fence-posts stand
attentive to the silent day.
The day hums in rest;
sit in garden, music in their
unsure ears, shy before unfolding yawn.
Radiator-bars warm, the slow
sun as yet contained in veil.
This is the day, the
Birdsong twines with road-work buzz;
dazzled life wanders in dancing patterns.
Inattentive workers, pause:
rejoice now and be glad.