Monday, 23 January 2017

The Walls of Jericho

What if we died to division,
to my-way-or-the-highway,
to squabbles, large or small,
to she-said-he-said,
feelings, good or bad
or memories, ditto?

What if we died to the sacred cows
of suffering, pleasure and pain,
to yes-but, if-only and not-now?

What if we died to the whole shebang?
To buying and selling,
to preaching and prostrating,
to taking a stance,
making a claim, or
having an opinion (right)
which makes yours (wrong)?

What if we stopped
and the walls of Jericho fell?

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Iconoclasm

Body and soul were cleft,
cathedrals built on the bones of women
and wombs made unclean
Creation stemmed and stymied
by the sheer pain of denying that flesh is spirit

We went from true communion among us
to looking up to some idea of god

It is not that you are not your body,
for your body is the most sublime creation of what you are -
creativity made flesh
so that it may create -
Your constant companion through all your travails
The bearer of your sorrows

Worship not god but hand, eye, foot, breast
The true bringers of love and sustenance

Dismantle your temples and shrines
Make your icons ordinary
Tend to the divine in your midst

This wound runs deep in us all. 

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

I Beg To Differ

Let’s not sugar-coat this, please.
I am so dismayed –

the merchants and money-changers are still in the temple
the Pharisees continue to preach
the Samaritans are still being vilified
and Pilate is still
somewhat obsessively
washing his hands.

No wonder Mary Magdalene weeps. 

I understand
if you would rather run and hide
or stay silent
or comply.
I understand
if you are totally paralysed.

Let’s not try to make silk purses
out of this particular sow’s ears. 

Monday, 7 November 2016

Devotion

You are bringing me home
and I, despite myself, adore you. 

Patiently, persistently, gently
you keep on calling
(you know how hard I try
to stay apart from you,
and you know all the tricks
in my well-thumbed playbook). 

You are bringing all of us home
and we, despite ourselves, adore you. 

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Utterances

In this place
where history holds no sway
yet even the deepest scars are loved,
no-one is known by name
nor failures and accomplishments
nor colour of eyes, hair or skin.

In this place
the language spoken
is the delicate tongue
of remembrance and longing,
of intimation, tears
and the unspeakable joy

of being known. 

Thursday, 12 May 2016

The No Claims Department

The prophets knew
that the biggest claim of all
is no claim at all. 

With nothing to call their own
the silence overcame them
and the deepest silence
became the loudest proclamation. 

The messiahs understood
they were declaiming 
all claims null and void. 

Once the claiming is done
the exclamations begin. 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Check the Small Print

This territory you’ve staked out, in the mistaken belief that it is yours:
when you check the small print,
you’ll discover it doesn’t belong to you,
however vehement your claims.

I demanded conditionality,
preferring confinement to the expanses beyond.
I kept accounts; favours done, debts incurred
All weighed in the balance
as I exacted my imagined dues
(I thought life owed me
and I thought you did, too)

We bleed ourselves dry trying to make life abide
by our caveats, clauses, and conditions.

Without them, I am so outrageously, indecently alive.