LONELINESS OF A SEMI FREQUENT FLYER

The rain stopped coming round 7 and the heavens were
Gold as a gong and robin’s egg blue
With a memory of you

This Sunday
I am on a higher plane
Haloing in a holding pattern
Circling the turbines on the
molten golden estuary.
And whilst we hang there, I am thinking
highly
of you.

The cloud strata part like a multi-storey car park
As we slide past the snaking Thames
And silted tidal triangles out to sea

Oh like a Juggernaut you.

Far down there in the rippling clear
A sailing ship sits with rigging erect
Attentive to life’s arrival as I was to you
On that long ago January evening.
One of those intuitive blooms
Where I hoped then I knew we would meet
Yet I determined to hold you lightly
When I knew we’d only have to let go.

Fields of houses and tidy crescents
Surround primary colour docklands
And the sun shines bright on brick
Lengthening shadows form a tower’s train
And the Tarmac shimmers after rain.

And every second thought since
Always and forever you

 

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Ceasefire for the Sexes

I hate what we have become

Us siblings

Pitted against each other from puberty

Either divided and ruling

Or divisive and ruled.

Missing out on mutual flourishing

A destructive relationship

if ever there was one.

.

Men have blamed women always –

it was Adam’s second sin in the garden –

And then women were cursed to desire and resent them.

But we were (re)born to go beyond our ancestors

and to trust and understand what once they feared.

.

And we can fear to love because we think that love is unclean.

Yet surely it cannot be purity

When we distance those who give us life.

It insults the very Gospel

of the Son of Man who spent time with women

and looked to their souls not their sex.

.

I know of these things only partly

And often through a screen darkly, but

The way I’ve come to think is that

Sex should not be a battleground.

We are more united and

diversity is in high demand.

I don’t want to fight or fear my brothers

and we shouldn’t need to fear all attraction.

Honestly.

How I wish that sex would once again just mean

intercourse

and not war.

Spirit groans and growing pain

I look down at the stars on my jumper

as I sigh

And I think of those Peruvian skies

Just northeast of Huánuco.

The entire sky was sprinkled with silver

Like molten metal dripping through a colander –

And yet you promised Abram that many children.

*

I run my fingers through my hair

as I try

to grasp that what I am reading is happening.

It grows back in patches where I’ve stress-pulled it,

kinking awkwardly beneath my curls –

And yet you know every strand.

*

I scale down my hopes and dreams

as I cry

at the million ways this world is dying and unkind

and really wonder how I’ll keep going

when the going is so bloody tough.

And yet you gave me my life and have kept me growing.

*

Emmanuel –

God the stranger who makes his home with us –

Help us keep on loving

and come quickly, Lord Jesus.

The Tortoise and the Porcupine

You burst out
And I retract
Sometimes you are too harsh for me
Your wits too spiky
Your words they stab me
Though you are just stretching
Scattering random blows for fun
Nothing really aimed at me
But it makes me fear what you say
When I am not there.
.
I’m a tortoise and you’re a porcupine;
we are strange friends perhaps.
My shell seems stone-like
But I’m so soft beneath
That self-defence is a necessity
All I can do sometimes
Is put distance between me and
The thing that stings –
On this occasion, you.
And you are the opposite:
Prickling at what hurts,
Sharpness taking me by surprise.
.
It’s like
We both taste poison in the water
But whilst I cry it out
You just spit
And I’m hit
In the heart
By the words that you emit.
.
What can I do to love you
When I share my vulnerability
And you unwittingly
Cause me pain?
And how on earth do I tell you
that it hurts?

Doing a Nathan

“Prophets are never welcome in their own town”
They decide to listen to
that holy discontent
That call to become a
divine pain in the ass.
.
I, like Isaiah,
Am only ever anointed
to fulfil a purpose.
We are called to be filled up
Not merely for fun
But in order to pour out again.
To “give good news to the poor
To bind up the broken-hearted
And proclaim freedom to the captives”.

If the way I must serve God
is by being an irritation
Like the prophets before me
And the parable’s persistent widow
That is what I shall be;
A grain of grit in their eyes
That produces
a pearl
of compassion.

God of Gideon,
Of David’s sling
And Nathan’s tale
Keep me being annoying
A teller of unpopular truths
For your good purposes
Even though it might get on top of me
And I feel fed up of opposition
And flee disillusioned like Elijah
Let me
Somehow be
The mother of pearls.

Noli me tangere

John 20:17
Koine Greek: Μή μου ἅπτου
Latin: Noli me tangere
“Stop clinging onto me”

.

I understand, you know:

the need of the feminine to cede to men

of which we were warned at the Fall

is a consequence not a curse,

though that doesn’t make it any less.

Nor does my human grasping for security, stability

necessarily indicate what is best for me.

But a tangible bird in the hand

is worth two in the prophesied future bush

and in the uncertainty we like to set more store

in those logical odds than in the word of our Lord.

So we cling to the devils we know

adhering to known quantities

“responsibly”

Foolishly.

But time doesn’t stand still

and you can’t hold on to the wind

And the Spirit will not be hemmed in

So sooner or later

Ideally before we return to our Maker

We have to let go.

*