This gallery contains 4 photos.
Poem as promised yesterday- see previous post for all photos relating to this poem.
Standing in the Jacobean pulpit,
an ordinand preached about promised rest
to some illiterate farm labourers –
those who were the physically weary.
Insubstantial words were like thin phantoms
who lurked beneath the lime-washed plaster, whose
discovery would take a century.
For now, his epistle of straw did not
result in any great harvest of souls.
Seventeen years on, he came back, after
his heart had been ‘strangely warmed‘ – awakened.
This time he had a pressing conviction.
He knocked at the door; was not admitted.
As far as South Leigh clergy were concerned,
he was too drunk on non-Anglican wine
and this was his eponymous Church End.
If only he had had the eyes of faith,
to detect what lay beneath the surface!
The first time, he was weighed in the balance:
oh, mene mene tekel upharsin.
He could sense the whitewash in his own soul.
When he’d returned seventeen years later,
burning, burning, like Augustine before,
perhaps the very stones reacted and
truths emerged, as though Christ passed through a wall,
but restoration was gradualist:
much like his view of sanctification.
‘His first sermon’ – yes, then he saw darkly
and, in his lifetime, never saw the light:
that glorious panoply behind him,
which, though covered, had been always present.
Its secret power had blessed his ministry.
I test the meshed door and it gives with ease,
then leave it open, as instructed, for
swallows who nest in the porch of The Lord.
And there is the pulpit and all around
is such a blaze of glorious ochres.
Those hidden things have been made manifest.
My spirit is strangely warmed by this feast:
Come ye blessed… – a stern invitation.
Who would not turn their head from the Hellmouth?
And, just as Wesley stressed the grace of God,
the Virgin redresses the sinner’s doom,
by gently tipping scales in his favour,
with the surreptitious drop of a bead.
(The preacher was a youthful John Wesley)
The man who threaded words together, like
silk yarns in a Paisley shawl, showed respect
for his woven jacket and removed it,
carefully, with his silver watch, before
quietly lying down in a culvert,
no longer walking iambically.
A lass singing his lyrics ambled by;
muffled clacks from cottage shuttles faded.
The lava tide which slumbered in his soul
erupted and he saw Mount Olympus
and heard himself ask the gods for a bard
in Caledonia. They said, Not one,
but two are granted: Burns and your good self.
In fact, your verses, like sharp dragon’s teeth,
when sown in the ploughed minds of your peers,
will multiply the poets of your land.
Where the peesweeps and the shy skylarks soar
your resting place will be; no unmarked grave
will contain you: this tunnel’s mouth no stop
for such as your unlimping lines. And now
Paisley Buddy, you are transformed into
the waft of wild mountain thyme on the braes;
the arabesque of a bent cedar tree;
the elongated curve of a boteh,
such as you might have patterned on your loom,
or incorporated into a phrase
now echoing in the winds of Woodside,
or whispering through fogs in Ferguslie.
Tannahill, you wove the cloths of heaven
into Scotland’s literary fabric.
Photo by stephencdickson – Wikipedia
one blurred image of a man
with his baseball cap
pulled down low – incognito.
A large camera
(his personal albatross)
drags his round shoulders.
With his hidden catapult,
he’s just shot three holes, right through
the stained glass windows
of our ancient Listed church.
Three? The Triune God?
With another two blasts he’d
have matched the Five Wounds of Christ.
Forcing men to drink
is not a good idea.
They lower themselves
and sometimes become maudlin.
Buddha warned people
who encourage drunkenness
would end up re-born
five hundred times, with no hands.
But at Moon Viewing, or when
there’s been a snowfall,
unexpected friends drop in;
there’s cherry blossom,
it is pleasant to partake,
but only moderately.
It doesn’t matter
if everything is perfect.
A flower’s bud is lovely,
as well as its bloom.
When you see the blossom fall,
it can seem quite sad,
but the yearning to recall
it in its beauty
can be achingly poignant.
Few people have taste.
One should view things as a whole.
Those who are in love
often realise it when
there is an enforced absence.
will tell you that two arrows
in your hand merely
make you careless when you draw
the first one. Each shot
should be as if it’s your last.
Students often find
They tell themselves they’ll study
later in the day.
Then they end up wasting time,
when what they should do
is knuckle down right away
and pay their best attention.
My friend suggested that I write a poem addressing the
subject of the women in El Salvador who have been imprisoned
after being accused of self-terminations- sometimes when they
allegedly have just had stillbirths. I was unaware of this until I
researched the topic and discovered material on the group Las 17.
The prison terms are in the region of decades.
In El Salvador, there’s an assumption,
in many cases, that a miscarriage
is the consequence of an abortion.
Girls who have been raped can lose their freedom.
A premature, or unviable birth
can result in a forty year sentence.
How can a country of that name sentence
women when it reveres the Assumption
of a Virgin? Supernatural birth
protected Mary from a miscarriage
when she experienced threats to her freedom:
state infanticide, worse than abortion?
Las 17, accused of abortion –
each subjected to a lengthy sentence,
in a land whose motto includes ‘Freedom.’
Youngsters, trafficked, can face an assumption
which might lead to judicial miscarriage,
as ‘Mata Ninos.’ They’re victims from birth.
After civil war there should be re-birth,
with an enlightened view of abortion
and understanding that a miscarriage
is, for women, a kind of life sentence.
And why should the state make an assumption
that stillbirth expresses woman’s freedom?
Accused of homicide, denied freedom,
because of complications to a birth –
to disregard is to make assumption
and logic itself suffers abortion.
The powerful deliver the sentence
and fear itself can induce miscarriage.
There’s no calculation in miscarriage.
It’s spontaneous – there is no freedom
expressed. Those women uttered no sentence:
‘I now intend to sabotage this birth,‘
nor ‘Drinking this will promote abortion.’
Blame’s an ignorant assumption.
Restricting freedom; pronouncing sentence
on those who endure miscarriage, stillbirth:
abortion of innocence assumption.