Monday, 30 November 2009

Beauty will save the world

Works steeped in truth and presenting it to us vividly alive will take hold of us, will attract us to themselves with great power- and no one, ever, even in a later age, will presume to negate them. And so perhaps that old trinity of Truth and Good and Beauty is not just the formal outworn formula it used to seem to us during our heady, materialistic youth. If the crests of these three trees join together, as the investigators and explorers used to affirm, and if the too obvious, too straight branches of Truth and Good are crushed or amputated and cannot reach the light—yet perhaps the whimsical, unpredictable, unexpected branches of Beauty will make their way through and soar up to that very place and in this way perform the work of all three.

And in that case it was not a slip of the tongue for Dostoyevsky to say that “Beauty will save the world,” but a prophecy.

Click here to watch Why Beauty Matters - BBC 2 documentary by Roger Scruton shown 28 Nov 2009

kiss me now

kiss me now
now that the drops of water
on the window pane have dried
and weeping has ceased

kiss me now
now that the leaves have fallen
the birds have flown
and the winter has settled in

kiss me now
now that the bearing cannot be born
the burden cannot be lifted
and the flight to the desert is complete

kiss me now
now that it is dark and it's late
the pathway is deserted and the plants
hang their heads in shame

kiss me now
now that the depths are deeper
the heights higher and God's love stronger
than we ever could have imagined

kiss me now
now that the last person has gone
and there are no witnesses left to see
how the sun had so burned me

kiss me now
now that the day will not last long
now that the night will be even shorter
now that eyes are heavy with sleep

kiss me now
now that the drops ...
... have dried
and weeping ... ceased

Sunday, 29 November 2009

beauty burns

beauty burns / truth shadows / goodness testifies
that faith / without works / is dead

set alight
keep rendering
she is there

the unseen essence
ever waiting to step
into newly created forms

she is
the soul
of the masterpiece

touching hers
means to touch

grace-filled she arches
her slender neck:
her swan song

her first
and last

like smoke
dissipating within

and then silence
penetrating my dusk
my dawn

drawn / pierced / unseen

drawn out of the mist
pierced now the heart of darkness
unseen between worlds

it comes like a sword
to touch the edge of my soul
light and darkness divide

peace thrown like a bomb
into the heart of the war
exploding within

the pieces scatter
seeds in distressed soil to grow
morning's victory

Friday, 27 November 2009


the greater miracle
exists in spirit space
threading through the ether
golden threads -
the assurance, the conviction
the absolute certainty that is faith

Thursday, 26 November 2009


the sting sucked out
and swallowed
deep-throated love
deep darkness
born in the bearing
of sin in one body
crowned with thorns
where, o death, is your victory?
where, o death, is your sting?
it is drawn
sucked out
deep-throated love
in the deep darkness
expressed in the descent
down and down
to where
I am


rain piercing night's darkness
like giant tears expressing heaven's remorse
hard, dry hearts beat down
so much of the earth's great potential
someone's blood stains the grey city stone
and I sit alone within walls of my own making
silence and sun, doors and a waiting world
stepping out, hands to wring out every wrong
today the wind blows across my face
and it is enough, the piercing drives me on

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Arts and the Church - interview with SCF

What is it that most excites you as a Christian in the arts at the moment?

Before I answer that question, I would want to say that being involved in the arts is not an easy thing. People may look at the end work and think 'wow, that's so deep' or 'so beautiful', but there is often a lot of pain, as well as joy, that goes into creating. I also think that an artist who is a Christian has certain challenges regarding church ...

Click here for full interview

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Love's First Look

My words were fading from me as the light diminished

Reduced to thought encapsulated within the living organ that played and played night and day

Day and night I called out within myself for love to match the hunger of my starving world

The collapse of childhood, the rising from the ashes

Tell me now, where is the fire, where has it gone?

The heat dissipating into my darkness and I was frozen again within memory - but somehow embedded within sun and moon and sky

What had changed me? Who was it who had called out from beyond me? What was their name? How did they know me?

The protective film covering my heart pierced by love’s many losses, as I was swept away by sorrow’s undercurrent to another place

O far shore, in the waters my shoulders shed the burden of the years, as I coated my own heart - for you, this time

Gift wrapped, shielded from the war raging at battle’s edge

It is for you, my darling – O how you dazzled me

It was such a sudden appearing within the inner sanctum

God and man in colour, contour and content to peel away the concrete forms of day

Encoding the silence of the present moment in which formation advances upwards

And downwards I cast my bread upon the waters of my consciousness

Downwards I fell, staying so still upon the stone, eyes closed – only listening left

Who comes? For whom am I awaiting in this solitary place?

Footfalls longed for - such measured steps, I hardly dare look up

Lifted up, taken in, as I receive a piece of the mystery within the circle of your gaze

And beholding and beheld - O how you wounded me, but I was wounded already – so far from complete

Beloved, thinking on in swift movements of the hand – dreaming still

The first light of the first day has dawned upon the firstborn as I whisper - I will

Sunday, 8 November 2009

What is truth?

all the wealth of your ingenuity

"Human beings, in a certain sense, are unknown to themselves. Jesus Christ not only reveals God, but 'fully reveals man to man'. In Christ, God has reconciled the world to himself. All believers are called to bear witness to this; but it is up to you, men and women who have given your lives to art, to declare with all the wealth of your ingenuity that in Christ the world is redeemed: the human person is redeemed, the human body is redeemed, and the whole creation which, according to Saint Paul, 'awaits impatiently the revelation of the children of God' (Rom 8:19), is redeemed. The creation awaits the revelation of the children of God also through art and in art. This is your task. Humanity in every age, and even today, looks to works of art to shed light upon its path and its destiny."

from Letter to Artists - Pope John Paull 11

Monday, 2 November 2009

John, the Beheaded

What did we go out to see?
A reed bending and bowing in the wind of God’s change
Billowing words from one stripped so bare
Marked by the desert and a message to pierce
Tyranny’s rage, the oppression of a people
And a nation straining to see the dawning of humanity’s final age

What did we go out to see?
A wilderness voice come home within the wildness of man’s heart
Stirring the waters beneath in breathless anticipation of heaven’s mighty waterfall
Dripping wet in a dry land, glistening golden in the noonday heat
Mercy making right, making straight the crooked way
For the Man, the Lamb, the taker of sin

What did we go out to see?
A man of fire who spoke of a greater burning to come
A man with a gaze to implant steel in the weakened backbone
Of a people waiting, whispering God’s age-old promises
Of chosen-ness, closeness and covenant
Eyes fixed on the horizon to glimpse the appearing of the Father’s only Son

What did we go out to see?
You knew who you were, recognised, prophesied, perceived the necessary increase and decrease
Felt your heart leap in greeting at last the sinless Saviour
Filled by the Holy Spirit in your mother’s womb, now standing face to face with your mother’s cousin’s beloved Son
His beginning, the dove descending, did you know to herald your doom?

What did we go out to see?
A man cowed in prison, head in hands wondering how it came to this
Sunken in the pit of the king’s darkened heart
Trampled under the sure-footed death dance of a hating queen
To be no more heard, thought severed, silence served up on that platter
An arm raised to fell the strong, tall prophet, who had so violently laid hold

What did we go out to see?
After everything, you asked your disciples to find out, was it He?
The blind now seeing, the deaf hearing, the dumb shouting praises, the poor lifted up; was it He?
What did you pray when you closed your eyes in that deep-down dark hell?
What did you hear? Did you speak as your executioner entered your cell?
John, the Baptiser, no less the voice of one crying in the wilderness as the blade rose, and then, so swiftly, fell