Monday, 30 December 2013


Suffering under the weight of wood
Lifted up on high
The breath of agony blowing upon the watching
Watched by what they knew not

Whispering psalms into the darkness
Stretched out across night
The silence descending like the dove that alighted
Upon heaven’s own word

Covering perpetual evil
Swallowed whole tonight
The life laid down is the life taken up and followed
By such faltering footsteps 

Saturday, 7 December 2013

There are some people who exist only in memory

There are some people who exist only in memory
Only within inner space
Turning and turning on the same spot

To face you in daylight
Then disappearing into darkness
Flickering sometimes in dreams

Always on the edges of consciousness
Asking not to be blotted out
Beckoning for home

But who is it asking?
Who is it wanting?
And who is it that knows?

O the dead do not feel dead
And those who live must die daily
To let go

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Evening Vespers

I sat surrounded by stone and the tombs of the poets reminding me to search the ruins for the symbols buried under the rubble in the depth of the spirit.

History underfoot and the tremor of the organ playing the notes of ancient songs with voices rising and candles flickering reminding me of heaven – heartbreak’s home.

Surrounded by stone – eyes cast down – prayers rising and falling as the light outside weakens into darkness and so many shadowy figures waiting waiting waiting for a benediction or a sign.

But oh it’s late – inward motion is stilled and who wants to know or remember or examine the failure of love as the incense swirls and swirls round the tomb of a long-dead saint?

Made right? Made light under the glare of the camera – and there was Christ dying within me again, and oh where was I? Under the tombs of the poets – half sane half mad;

And afterwards in the twilight outside calling to the moon for a turning of the tide and a revelation of how deep is the darkness – how high are the walls – how low is the tide – and how love waits waits waits . . .

17 September 2010,Westminster Abbey

This poem was inspired by the below quote, and waiting and waiting for Rowan Williams and the then Pope Benedict do their ecumenical thing one evening ...

"In the age we live in cosmic symbolism has been almost forgotten and submerged under a tidal wave of trademarks, political party buttons, advertising and propaganda slogans and all the rest – is necessarily an age of mass psychosis.A world in which a poet can find practically no material in the common substance of everyday life, and in which he is driven crazy in his search for the vital symbols that have been buried alive under a mountain of cultural garbage, can only end up . . . in self-destruction. And that is why some of the best poets of our time are running wild among the tombs in the moonlit cemeteries of surrealism. Faithful to the instincts of the true poet, they are unable to seek their symbols save in the depths of the spirit where these symbols are found.These depths have become a ruin and a slum. But poetry must, and does, make good use of whatever it finds there: starvation, madness, frustration and death."
Thomas Merton, Bread in the Wilderness 

Sunday, 13 October 2013


still point
silent static
tremble upon it
and just
be …

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

abundant entrance

not washed up on the shore
from the shipwreck of your life ...

saved but gasping for breath on the beach
your cargo sunk to deepest depths
of stormy seas  ...

but ah, to sail safely into port with a full load

we long for Your appearing

self-existent One
rolls out the years
lifts the burden of time
casts down the high places
restores the years the locusts have eaten
covers the vulnerable
saves the lost
finds the ones who have wandered away ...

self-existent One
clothed in clouds
hiding Your glory
in a woman's womb
revealed in bloody flesh
walking dusty streets
suspended in time
a pendulum that just stopped ...

going down, down
swallowed by the earth's core
ingesting swathes of darkness as You went
Your singular way ...

eternity rolled out
from the rising of the self-existent One
who existed, exists
hidden in the womb of many hearts ...

righteous rain

righteous rain beats against my window
I've slept through it most often
stayed inside so as not to get wet
waiting, waiting for sun and birdsong

righteous rain will disperse food mountains
wash away blood in the streets in a war-torn obscure African state
will carry the murdered Armenian editor down the river to the open seas
to a better place

righteous rain will flood every personal desert
causing whole villages to be built
industries to arise
and engendered deep contemplations under the clear night sky.

why, why was it good?

the dark must have been so much more than physical
swelling from within, descending from without

the pain must have been so much more than material
a knife piercing right through, renting body, soul and spirit

and yet, yet it is called a good day
a doorway through to that searing place

beyond which is the new day
springing out of terrible dying

near and far

God You are so near
keep me safe in a world storm-torn
upon the path soul-worn
please may I stay collecting wisdom
like berries into a bowl

God You are so near
touch my face again
like a loving mother
before language
beyond words

God You are so near
walking, running, sitting, rising
shining now in my darkening darkness
the only One who can guide me home

You are the calm, the Great Silence
within which I am heard
seen in the stillness of Your gaze

forgive the lack of attention, distraction
shaky foundations
for being drawn to the dangerous light
like a moth instinctively heads for the naked flame

but to step into the everlasting fire
and to live within the knowledge
that You return to the world
through me

Sunday, 8 September 2013


the summer is winding down
the winding path towards autumn
she is falling into those strong arms
once again
so soon to disappear
so soon to bury her face
in the colours of dying leaves
she always leaves
what feels like always
too soon
too soon
and autumn ascends
but inevitably weakens
into winter
whose withering rule
will last but for a while
until the hard ground cracks
and spring’s harbinger
breaks forth like a tear
from up out of deep darkness 

Saturday, 6 July 2013




where is the still point
where the quest both begins and ends?

when is the quickening moment
when all is remoulded and retold?

the bird sings across the centuries

the bow on the string
the final note that soars and trembles

before silence sweeps in
like a wave caressing the shore

o when will it be told
today’s death toll?

when will it be sighted
the countless, nameless ones

desperate to clamber

ah home
a vanished point, no horizon

to herald nearness or belonging
or outstretched arms

but home – love has flown

tonight the wind whispers low

follow, go fast after
until you too rise



given in the taking
taken in the giving

where is the place that glows long after
everyone is gone?

when is the grieving moment to be lifted
from your arms and tossed into the light?

when is the darkness to be swallowed
by impending day?

silent wisdom stands a while
and traces her fingers around the edges of sleep

who could have know how solace would come
whilst wide awake and in such pain

and it becomes possible at last

to write a document of lightness and grace
create a symphony of one breath?



trembling in the evening breeze
the loss you thought incalculable

is counted in quietness
as the mist of self clears

what happened?

it was as if music filled the bodies
of all the dead

and the sun rose



the sea spread out
a carpet of deep blue
unfathomable depths

the hills rise proud
highest heights
above all else

the artist dives down
and reaches up
as strength fails

and light increases
upon sorrow
and sorrow falls

the rain comes in season
for fruit to be borne

and hunger to fade
with the growing dawn

6 July 2013