Tuesday, 19 September 2017


As we are stiff-necked,
Stiff against Thee,
O Lord, bend us.

As I am brass-necked,
My face brazen,
O Lord, bend me.

When we put not our neck
To the work of the Lord,
O Lord, bend us.

As I put my neck
To Thy gentle yoke,
O Lord, bend me.

Saturday, 16 September 2017


                                                           The master had in mind
                                                      A particular form, according to his taste;
                                                   It required cutting
                                            Allowing the tree to branch out towards the sunshine
                                    And constant water, and plentiful food to support growth;
                                    It bent
                                  To the
                                Form he
                           To that
                         Which it
                        Came from,
                    The master.
        Through time and patience
      O Lord, bend me to thy form,
           Bend me to thy mind.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017


If Satan’s powers rend us
While our sins offend us
And flesh is horrendous
O Lord, mend us!
O Lord, tend us!
O Lord, bend us!

Sunday, 10 September 2017


Thy glory is amazing,
Thy light blazing,
Thy ways are past our tracing,
Thy love embracing;
Thy mercy is astounding,
Thy grace abounding;
Thy working is stupendous:
O Lord, bend us!

Thursday, 7 September 2017


O Lord, tend us;
Each desiring to fulfil
Thy good, perfect will
One points hither,
One points thither;
That we might be still,
Might be with Thee still,
O Lord, mend us!
O Lord, bend us!

Saturday, 2 September 2017


O Lord, Thou art Creator
And life’s Originator;
Lord, Thou art our salvation
And source of jubilation;
O Saviour from disaster,
Thou hast become our Master;
Our hearts and souls are pointed
To Thee, the Man anointed;
Thy glory is tremendous:
Worshipping, O Lord, bend us!

Tuesday, 29 August 2017


O Lord, send me peace and grace
In this scene where ills assail:
As I come before Thy face
May Thy peace and grace prevail;
O Lord, bend me!
Till I will go forth from Thee
With the savour of Thy place,
And Thy Spirit guiding me:
O Lord, send me.

Saturday, 26 August 2017


As a tree
Grown for Thee
O Lord, bend me!
May I tend
To Thy light;
May I wend
To Thy right;
To conform
To Thy way,
To be warm
In Thy day,
To be still
In Thy mind
May my will
Be confined:
O Lord, bend me!

Thursday, 24 August 2017


O Lord, tend me!
Thy work in its perfection,
As proved in resurrection,
Through all Thy pain
And all Thy strife,
Secured my gain
And gave me life:
In life which Thou dost give,
In which my soul doth live,
O Lord, bend me!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017


O Lord, bend me:
One to be saved;
Sins claws rend,
Lost and depraved!
Thus I have cried:
Thus been denied.
Grace that is to save
Could not bend me:
But the cross and grave
Had to end me.

This follows from Evan Roberts's prayer:
The Welsh Revival

Tuesday, 15 August 2017


When I was far from light
Within this world of lies
A Man called Jesus touched my eyes
And gave me sight.

My leprous wounds were seen:
Men heard my plaintive plea
A Man called Jesus handled me
And made me clean.

Bowed down, I had to wait,
Powerless to show my face:
A Man called Jesus touched in grace
And made me straight.

Beyond man to forgive,
Fixed in what all men fear,
A Man called Jesus touched my bier
And made me live.


Saturday, 12 August 2017


(Written May 2004; found recently in an old notebook; a week worth recalling!)

Let me record a week - it began
With Christ as a Man of joy. Because He has
His victory, His brethren and His bride - what lay
Before Him as He endured the cross.  And He introduces
Saints to the Father's house that with the Father
He rejoices in them and they in Him.
Next we had the worth of the pearl acquired
By a Merchant skilled in evaluation; and the worth
Of a Bridegroom to a Bride, whose educators in value
Are the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.  In the gospel
We had Christ drawn to our attention to be
The unmingled object of the heart, the Man
Who delighted and satisfied God and His saints.
On Monday we asked the Lord to teach us
More of His blest ways - so on Tuesday
We had Christ brought before us as source of
Wisdom - none being so discreet or wise
As Him, without whom we can do nothing.
I attempted to expostulate on the Beloved
Described in the Song of Songs - but this is
Another poem - or twelve!.  On Saturday
We had the challenging question - Who do
Ye say that I am? - and dwelt upon
The Christ of God, One whom God anointed
To act for Him and secure all His pleasure.

And through it all I dodged and blundered,
World, and flesh, and Satan tugging me:
Yet knowing that I know the Father as
Antagonist of the world, the Spirit as opponent
Of the flesh, and the Son, Vanquisher of Satan.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017


We saw a trampled shoot, a plinth
Without a column, and a flame
Guttering, one little but a name
Who would not quit her labyrinth.

God saw perfection - only this
Pearl, of this size, could deck the site
He had prepared for His delight
And for Marina's lasting bliss,

Only through working in these ways
Could He impinge with perfect skill
To work this pattern to His will
And gain from us eternal praise.

O depths of riches - what divine
Wisdom and power and love can do
Impels our worship as we view
How God secures His grand design!

Written July to September 1994

The verse I used is that used by Tennyson in "In Memoriam"; it is his wife who is buried in the same churchyard, and Tennyson Down is the most prominent hill - falling in a white cliff to the sea - in the area.

Sunday, 6 August 2017


Return to the particular:
There is a grave beside a wall
Near where the waters rise and fall,
Tidally, by the river Yar.

Life has its rising swells of hope
And if these sink in ebbs of care
We normally avoid despair,
Struggle a bit, and learn to cope.

Marina does not have the joy
Of hope, nor does she crave success
And watch its rising happiness,
As the tide bears an air-filled bouy.

Marina does not have to drudge
Bailing the waters from her boat
To keep her ebbing dreams afloat
Until they founder in the sludge.

Friday, 4 August 2017


God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform, and yet
It is the will of God to let
His mind be known through prophecy.

If in the detail of His ways
We rest upon His grace and trust
We know His work, in its broad thrust,
Secures a people for His praise.

Standing before Christ's judgment seat
We shall observe the perfect skill
That chastened us to work God's will
When all that working is complete.

He will complete what He begun
And carried on by calm or storm:
It is His purpose to conform
Us to the image of God's Son!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017


An insect moves among the trees
Unconscious of the pollen's power
Conveyed by her from flower to flower
As she pursues the yen of bees.

Seeing the bee a honey guide
Has turned a ratel from its tracks
To rob the honey and the wax
As their instinctive lusts provide.

The pistil, fertilised, transforms -
Seed, shoot and sapling pullulate;
Birds, beasts and insects congregate
In vibrant, interactive swarms.

Again God's detailed work is proved
Through skills we barely understand
Since He has webbed strand after strand
Of life, because an insect moved.

Sunday, 30 July 2017


And dear Louisa, you have been
The comfort of your mother's heart,
A vivid, loving counterpart
Of shades of what she might have seen.

Yet since you're like a little elf
Grinning at us your impish grin,
Eyes shining out the sprite within,
We gladly see you as yourself.

Plough your own furrow, straight and sure;
Go by the tenor of your way
But as a pilgrim tread, and pray
To keep your mind and motives pure.

Work only for your Lord's renown,
Composing all things for His praise,
Till from Him, as, through grace, you gaze
On Him, you will receive your crown.

Louisa was born about two years after Marina. Whether she, recently married, would like to be compared to an elf now I wonder!

Saturday, 29 July 2017


Dear Barrie and Susanna, You
May wonder as the years go by,
Missing that little sister, why
This was the course God would pursue.

God leads His own through many a test
To teach His people that they must
Lean upon Him and learn to trust
The love whose way is always best.

If from known fields where they have been
A shepherd one day leads his flock
Among coarse thistle and dry rock
The fields beyond are rich and green.

And when you have an easier way
Remember still that God, in love,
Observes your pathway from above
Longing to see you trust and pray.

Thursday, 27 July 2017


Dear Sarah Anne, You will, I hope,
Forgive this probing of your wound:
Changing, your sorrow waits, cocooned,
Till God's time gives its glossed wings scope.

Within, where it cannot be seen,
The oyster cradles its own grief
And layer on layer secures relief
In giving to the pearl its sheen.

Go by the north gate and its cold
Into God's house; be restful there,
Till sent out by the south gate, where
Well-watered, southern lands unfold.

The One for whom the north wind blew
In chastening, as proof of grace,
Now, for another time and place,
Is He who sends the south winds too.

Ezekiel 46:9; Song of songs 4: 16.

Monday, 24 July 2017


Dear Alastair, I trust you will
Forgive my verse's poverty
Since death points up the paucity
Of anything I claim of skill.

But what to you was bitter night
For me was cloud to shade my way;
Even my deepest empathy
Inevitably must be trite.

Though I am poor, One who is rich
Was watching with you in the dark
And from that night He left His mark -
His perfectly embroidered stitch.

He is the One who loves to dote
Upon this product of His own,
Rejoicing in the sweeter tone
And timbre of a well-tuned note.

Sunday, 23 July 2017


(Rom 12: 2)

The Lord could speak of it as food
But we need chastisement to move
Our stolid hearts until we prove
That in each detail it is "good".

It was "acceptable" to Christ
In concept and in consequence;
In us His Spirit helps dispense
With promptings of our carnal geist.

The perfect Man could perfectly
Fulfil God's "perfect" will; but we
Imperfectly behave, or see,
Until with Christ eternally.

It is "of God" and He is Son
Of God; yet none has borne the cost
To do God's will and save the lost
As Jesus in His grace has done.

Friday, 21 July 2017


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017


The Light appeared in darkness. Mercilessly

It exposed sin; mercifully

Exposed the sinner.


If, at the wedding, natural joys

Faltered, with Him there

Real joys superseded.


If, by the well, she was

Dissatisfied, He could provide

Living water.


If, amidst Bethany's friendship,

Death intervened, into it

He obtruded resurrection.


Till even the power of death

Invaded by Him

Was transformed.


Heaven has received Him

And His presence there created

A prepared place.


And now my heart can be


By His presence.


Thursday, 15 June 2017


Today it was your hands I thought about:
How constantly they work for me - and ours.
As birds form nests they delicately work out
The home where we can share our pleasant hours.
That delicacy, and artistic skill,
Make backgrounds to the home that others view;
Their care, selflessness, comforts they instil
All make them perfect metaphors for you.

Monday, 12 June 2017


It is a most pleasant
    and comfortable thing,
To hang over the wall of a sty
    and look upon pigs.

A plagiarism from Dick King-Smith "Chewing the Cud" P91.

Saturday, 10 June 2017


Early on her sixtieth birthday, yesterday

Year 57, the record shows,
Launched both the Sputnik - and the Rose.
In 67 she went by rule
Across the Common to the school.
In 77 she, at my side,
"Sate like a blooming eastern bride".
In 87 we come to see
Her in Hope Cottage, mum of three;
In 97 - man alive! -
She's leading out a brood of five.
07 show a fresh renown
Because she now was Granny Brown;
And now in 17 we find
Her swift of foot and sharp of mind.

But in each stage we gladly say
The Father watched her every day;
The Shepherd bore her on His shoulder
In every step as she grew older;
And through the Holy Spirit's power
She was preserved through every hour:
So if she hits a pair of score
More years, that grace will go before.

On the shores of Loch Lomond

Sharp of mind?

Monday, 5 June 2017


"Make ready my galley",
Said the king;
"I shall sail for Norway
On Wednesday".

"Will you?",
Said the wind, who,
Flying about,
Have overheard what was said:
"You had better ask my leave first!".

A plagiarism - from A Summer in Skye (1865), by Alexander Smith


Sunday, 4 June 2017


"What He did not find
In Adam He now finds in
A disciplined man."

Quote from Ministry of J Taylor, Vol 25: P89.

Friday, 2 June 2017


As when the milch-kine left their calves
To take the highway with the cart,
We come since Thou - and not by halves -
Hast drawn our heart.

We cannot know Thee, Son of man,
In all the depths of who Thou art;
We come to Thee as One who can
Console our heart.

Thou art the Leader to us now,
With all the wealth Thou dost impart;
We come adoringly since Thou
Dost bow our heart.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017


Praise the One who is Creator,
Heaven's and earth's Originator
Yet come near as Mediator
Between God and man.

Praise the Christ who as a stranger
Once was cradled in a manger,
Come in flesh to be the changer
Of the course of time.

Praise the Man who here was sowing
Seed from which good seed is growing
In abundance overflowing
To the Father's joy

Praise the Shepherd who has sought us:
With His precious blood He bought us,
With His tender arms he brought us
Back into His fold.

Praise the Victor who invaded
Realms where Satan's might pervaded;
Now no power we are persuaded
Separates from Him.

Praise the Man who God perfected
For the work which He effected -
Now He leads the Sons selected
To a glorious sphere.

Praise the Firstborn of creation
End of all man's perturbation
Bringing reconciliation
As the Prince of Peace.

"Perturbation" not only has the sense "the state of being perturbed" but, metaphorically, "a deviation in the course of a celestial body".

Saturday, 27 May 2017


The Man in the glory has captured my heart:
While still here on earth I have learned that my part
Is soon to be with Him in heaven above,
Absorbed in His favour while held by His love.

Sunday, 21 May 2017


The Head's provision does not cease,
And we are nourished, warmed and led;
While by God's favour we increase
As we hold fast the Head.

Thursday, 18 May 2017


Looking towards the Eildon Hills

Far on the hillsides,
Or near in the park, grass is
A consolation.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017


God, for our comfort,
Provides each in their seasons,
The cold and the heat.

Friday, 12 May 2017


I'm just posting a few links that you may find of interest today:

Good Christian teaching

A Word in its Season magazine, which I help to edit

My Indian photographs

Songs and Hymns of mine which I have put together in a book

Vessel and other verse of mine

If any links don't work please let me know! 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017


How does it work,
The Computer, where pulses form
New virtualities on
A myriad screens?  How
Does it interpret the messages,
Without interferences, to achieve
A myriad ends?  The science nearly
Is as far beyond me as the achieving
Of the multifarious ends
Of the operations of God.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Saturday, 29 April 2017


1 Samuel 16: 18

"Jah exists";
And a root of that source
Shall stand as a banner.
Nations shall seek it.

One "who is skilled in playing";
The sweet Psalmist of Israel,
Leader of God's praise.

"He is a valiant man,
And a man of war" equipped
To invade the enemy's valley.

"And skilled in speech"; so thy
Wonder at the words of grace
Coming from His mouth.

"And of good presence"; the stately step
Of a king, shining through
The form of a bondman.

And divinely-opened eyes
Will discern
"Jehovah is with him"

Title: see 1 Samuel 16: 1
"Jah exists" is the meaning of "Jesse".
Verse 1: see Isaiah 11: 10.
Verse 2: see 2 Samuel 23: 1
Verse 3: see1 Samuel 17
Verse 4: see Luke 4: 22
Verse 5: see Proverbs 31: 29-31, and Philippians 2: 7

Monday, 24 April 2017


One has been found                            We have found

Slain, in the land; who                        A heifer never

Is the slayer?                                       Subject to man’s will.


Measure with the reed;                       Bring it to the watercourse

Is that the nearest city,                        Which has its spring

Jerusalem?                                           Beyond the will of man.


Measure more closely                          Take the heifer

The line stretches to                            To the flowing watercourse

Heart and conscience.                         Break its neck there.


The blood of Jesus

Is the only atonement

For the sin that shed it.


Wednesday, 19 April 2017


Scowth is scowth, whitever fur?
Aathing that delicht yer gurr,
Gif ye're share ye'll mind ava
No tae brak an aesome la.

That's an attempt at a Scots translation of the English of:


which translates the Danish of:


Does it make any sense to any readers from the Netherlands?

Saturday, 15 April 2017


The greater adventurer, you were a good soldier
Of Jesus Christ, striving in the good conflict,
Unentangled with the affairs of life
To be pleasing to the One who enlisted you;
Clad in the complete armour of God,
Belt, breast‑plate, helmet and sword,
Armour for advance only; standing,
Having done all things, able to say
That you had combated the good combat
‑ Example and guide for all who attempt the Way.

Strong drink brims in the vessel. It tilts,
Pluming a rich fruitful ribbon to the sand.
The aroma mulls through the mind. A purple clot
Decorates the desert. Then fades. This was the libation.

Among your frequent journeys
Why did your send your companions
By ship while going yourself on foot?
Was it to feel the land's
Tilth, the desert sand
And the rock's grain, conducive
To the spirit's soaring, the soul's
Grasping; and the silence needed
To go aside and rest a while
Close only to your Lord and Master?

Saturday, 8 April 2017


The vital water, silting and moistening,
Compounds the good ground.

The fecund seed, broadcast on the earth
Clung in the good ground.

The thievish birds jibbed at the nets
Shielding the good ground.

Roots writhed down, toward the procreant water
Imbuing the good ground.

Toward the sun sprouts pullulate
Out from the good ground.

Master, garner the mellow fruit
From your good ground.