Friday, 21 July 2017

MARINA vii

Tottering forth she would have found
New lands to conquer every day;
And reaping in her fields of play
Have set her feet on firmer ground.

She would have brought her faculties
Within her ego's vassalage;
Like tropes deployed upon a page
She would have been her personal traits.

But, like us, going her own way
She would have trudged the wilderness
Till met by One intent to bless
Who bent her heart and knees to pray.

And as a shepherdess her skill
Might have secured her little fold:
Her fable was more briefly told,
Since this desire was not God's will.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

MARINA vi

But how we would have loved to see
Her showing off her infant charms
And chuckling in her mother's arms -
Which God decided would not be.

And how we would have watched her grow
Delighting in the normal child
At whose quaint ways we would have smiled -
But by God's will it is not so.

We might have seen her day by day
Flourish in ease and loveliness
With sparkling graces to express -
But our desire was not God's way.

And woman, ripened to fulfil
Beside a loving husband's side
The features of a graceful bride -
But this desire was not God's will.

Monday, 10 July 2017

MARINA V

There is no stone to mark the site
At which Marina has been laid
And nowhere is her name displayed,
Who went through darkness into light.

Perhaps a stone is barely fit
For one who scarcely lived at all,
Whose character evades recall
Because her death extinguished it.

Perhaps a stone would focus grief
For those who come to view the place
By giving a less vacant space
And thus accord them more relief.

But surely where her body lies
Heaven has pleasure to record
And at the coming of the Lord,
Transformed, Marina will arise.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

MARINA iv

By the lychgate I left the car
And took the trodden pathway round
The old church on its little mound
Which stands above the river Yar.

The Yar had yielded to the tide
But gleamed still in the evening sun;
I saw a white horse and a dun
Graze in the meadow by its side.

Lichen has coloured many stones
Asserting its quiescent life
Round where a famous poet's wife,
Among the many, rests her bones.

And here Marina lies. I stood
To contemplate her early death,
Less than a vanity of breath;
Yet knew God works all thing for good.

Monday, 3 July 2017

MARINA iii

An apple blossom, fertilised,
Draws moisture from the tree and joins
Cell upon cell while it burgeons
As its genes' plan is realised.

Daily the fruit becomes more lush
Allowing potent sap to fill
Its body forth with good until
The sun imparts its ripened flush.

To satiate my taste and needs
I grasp the fruit and relish flesh
Making my tongue and palate fresh,
But find no virtue in the seeds.

Her body ripened to be born,
But if God chose to pluck that fruit
We have no title to dispute
The deed that left our hearts forlorn.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

MARINA ii

Was she not wise to flee a world
Grounded in pain and lapped by tears
After that Eden, strange to fears,
In which her being had been curled?

Why should we mourn that she should miss
This torn earth she need never thole,
Gone from one world, replete and whole,
Into her everlasting bliss?

The watchdog, savaging within
The being it was set to guard,
Conscience, has never pressed her hard
Since she was free from acts of sin.

Yet she required no lesser cost,
As shapen in iniquity,
Than us who wander from the Way
To Him who came to save the lost.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

MARINA i

Why should I go to view the grave
In which Marina's body lies
Since saint not angel will apprise
Her soul of thoughts the visit gave?

What am I seeking to effect
Since she in shunning paths of night
And going straightway into light
Claimed no respect or disrespect?

And what would visiting achieve
For those who bore the hardest brunt
And still must thole the daily want
Except to make them freshly grieve?

I search for cause or motive; yet
It is through instinct that I know
That it is right that I should go
Simply since I do not forget.



This is the first of sixteen contemplations of Marina, the daughter of friends, who was born while they were on holiday on the Isle of Wight, and died immediately. I wrote this mainly on the island during a holiday there not long afterwards, in 1994.  It is over 28 years this week since Marina's life and death. 

Monday, 26 June 2017

GOD WANTS YOU FOR HIMSELF

Despite the greatness of your sin
And your unfitness to begin
To cleans the stains that are within
God wants you for Himself.

Because He wishes you to shine
In righteousness which is divine,
Which human will cannot refine,
God wants you for Himself.

To be a trophy of His ways,
Transformed by Him to show Christ's praise,
And render Him eternal lays
God wants you for Himself.