Monday, 24 May 2021

Lark Ascending

 We look We strain our eyes To see The bird wing Unburdened so To fly and soar And we behind our doors Do pine We listen We strain our ears To hear The bird’s song Unfettered so Rise and swell and fall And we enthralled Do dream The lark ascends Above Above the trodden earth Winged heights Are calling Birdsong unfurls And we must follow





Thursday, 8 April 2021

Abide with Me +

The inspiration for this hymn by Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847) is Luke 24, where the disciples on the road to Emmaus say to Jesus – “Abide with us, for it is towards evening and the day is well spent.” Lyte wrote it two weeks before his own death, having a memory return to him of a visit to a dying friend 20 years previously who repeated and repeated to Lyte ‘abide with me’ as his life slipped away.
The first time the hymn was sung was at Lyte’s funeral. He died from TB at the age of 54. Since the 1920s the first and last verse of the hymn has been sung at the FA cup final. It was also sung at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. 
Lyte was an Anglican minister and accomplished poet. 

 

          Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide; ~
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.

          Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

          I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

          I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

          Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Extra verses by Sarah Larkin (April 2021)

          Jesus alive today, abide with me
Open my failing eyes so I can see
The Lord of all life who was crucified
Risen today, ascended, glorified

          Abide with me, my sunrise from on high
My bright morning star, always in my sky
Abide with me, all my years revive
This Resurrection Day, Jesus you're alive!

Saturday, 15 August 2020

The cooler air carries calmness

 I’ve swept the sins of my father’s out 
Can I get a drink that is not stained by history? 
(from Sins of the Fathers, a song Poor Bishop Hooper)

-------------------------

The cooler air carries calmness

Who is speaking?
Who hears?
Who wants to understand?

Hurried, harried, hustled into a thousand things
Unloved and unwanted
Giving rise to a thousand things to unlearn


Who will teach us other ways
To the ones that have bound us so tight
Within constriction and pain and unacknowledged losses?

 
The cooler air carries calmness

Great uncertainty looms like a storm soon to break
To drench us with the dread of disease
And dying a lonely singular death


What flickers on in our dreams?
A candle soon to be snuffed out
Or the promise of sunrise?

 
The cooler air carries calmness


Could there now be an end to evil empires
Citadels of sin
Palaces of shame
To ignoble ignorance
That shamelessly exalt the utmost guilty
And condemn the most innocent?

Thousands and thousands of humanity
Brush in bloodied hands
Weeping
Sweep and sweep their ruined city of shards of glass
A people pierced by anger and grief in equal measure

Where is my broom?
What are those shards hurting my feet?
From what horrifying blast did they come?
 

And where will strength come from
To ingest rage and work toward a quiet acceptance
Of that which cannot be changed
But must be reckoned with?

From He who lived
From He who died
From drinking to the end
The so bitter dregs
Of humanity’s horror
The cup did not pass
From Him
The most innocent slain
By the utmost guilty
The most holy
Stained
By the utmost filthy
He did not protest to die such a lonely singular death
But Sunrise came
And there He appeared drenched in glory
And victory’s shout

‘’’

Godless generations can now stop
Dead in their tracks
And sweep the sins of their fathers out

I can sweep the sins of my fathers out
 

The cooler air carries calmness

What flickers on in our dreams?
A candle soon to be snuffed out
Or the promise of sunrise?

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Frost-locked all Winter*


The key in the lock now turned
But it was hard in the turning
Slow and cold
But the time of turning was promise-filled
As light and warmth and birdsong
Filtered through the slowly opening door

We wait for Spring and Spring comes
Stays a while and then gives way to a fiercer fire

Before the frost-locked time returns
There is a vibrant interlude of red and orange
Deep earth-tones of beauty to be beaten back to wood and bark

But for now I’ll stand out in this season's showers
And wait for its full flowering



* From Christina's Rossetti's poem Spring

Equal day, equal night

Light to equal darkness is two dozen hours
Half and half, fifty percentage
Split right down the middle
That seems very fair not to have more of one or the other
Light or dark, day or night

When there is more light does joy rise?
The desire to go outside, be revealed as awake and alive
The birds singing from their branches and nest-making
Reminding us we can fly

When there is more darkness does sorrow increase?
The desire to stay inside, hide, hibernate is what many creatures do
And I am not of the earth like they?
Called to sleep the sleep of renewal

Equal day, equal night
Flight or rest
I like to think that I am woven in with heavenly matter
Sprinkled with some stardust that glints
Like stars twinkling even on into the darkest of nights ...

Monday, 9 September 2019

Summer Slow Fades


Summer slow fades towards a cooler clime
But oft throughout the day there’s bright sunbursts
Clouds may linger longer against its shine
As bees work hard against their winter’s curse
As summer slow fades towards cooler climes
There’s fullness in the air of ripened fruit
There’s early Autumn flowers in their prime
And trees heavy with leaves and deeper roots
As summer slow fades towards cooler climes
There’s memories of longer, sweeter days
There’s the knowing that it is now the time
For ghosts to vanish into summer’s haze
The seasons grow, they glow and on we go
The sun stays in the sky and winds still blow

Sunday, 28 April 2019

I do not have you close by

I do not have you close by
And you did not have yours near
Either

And neither are we broken
We are hard
We made it and lost it

Because we would not let
The self tremble
In the evening breeze

No

Moulded it into stone
Round and hard
Un-smash-able

Yes

Tired [we are]
Tried [we did]
Tread [soft now]

Love

Sweet-lipped waits
Waits and sighs
In the fading light

But our hearts have flown
We have reaped
What we have sown

We have buried our treasure
Deep within
And inside

Him

The unexplored galaxies
And our undiscovered space
Swirls on and on