Thursday, 9 April 2020

COMPASSIONS

If your way is fresh and bright,
If your way is dank and strange,
If you move from gloom to light
His compassions never change.

Though the way ahead seems dark,
Though the foe seems to prevail,
Or you’re buoyant as a lark
His compassions never fail.

When oppressions press the brain,
When you need a heavenly Friend,
When your heart is full of pain
His compassions never end.



Written during the illness of my sister-in-law Liz: with Christ 12/12/2005 (aged 41)

Saturday, 4 April 2020

MASTER

If waves appear to overwhelm
Faith sees the Master at the helm;
If winds appear to countervail
Faith see the Master ease the sail;
If breakers break and rollers roll
Faith sees the Master in control;
O Master, we rejoice that we
Sail with the Master of the sea.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

THE LORD IS IN CONTROL

Though raging billows roll
And winds are contrary
Fear need not fill us with dismay -
The Lord is in control,

Should iron pierce your soul
Or catch you in its gin
Help is at hand, and Hope within -
The Lord is in control.

Should your boat nudge a shoal
Or shudder in a squall
Trust in the One who made them all -
The Lord is in control.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

THE LORD IS IN CONTROL

From the sky loom
Asteroids and shooting stars,
Comets: the Lord
Is in control.

Beneath, magma
Rises, lava bursts;
Feel worldly shudders:
The Lord is in control.

Within bacteria
Of leprosy, viruses,
Parasites: the Lord is
In control.

The pastures are green;
The waters are still;
The soul within me restored:
The Lord is in control.

Friday, 20 March 2020

FISHERMAN


Why, when the plush sea played,
Beating random rhythms on the hull,
Beneath the bright sky’s charms
As the sheen of the sunlight rayed
Did he move in the water’s lull
To lie in the cold sea’s arms?

Since the sun seemed the better suitor
And the air was sweet to the lungs
Why did he stumble and fall?
The shore girls were cuter,
Sweeter songs lapped from their tongues,
Yet he answered the water’s call.

They wept on the harbour wall
For the lost and wasted life
And the lost and wasted seed,
As he rocked in the sea’s loll,
The lap of his chosen wife
Never to be inbred.

For God’s way was this -
A short time of breath,
Pulsing blood, flesh;
Then to lie thus,
Safely wrapped in death,
Finding His love lush.


(This is an elegy for a family friend of my mother's drowned some time before I was born, but whose photo was always up in the house as i was growing up.  He originated in Peterhead.)

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

PRAYER

To come quietly in the night
And lay myself down
At the feet of Jesus.
To feel the oil
Tenderly assuage
The smart of my wounds.
To have my scared chirps
Smothered by the down
Of the hen’s wings,
To hear
– After wind, earthquake and fire –
A gentle voice.
To repose
On the bosom of Jesus.
“Softness”.

This is a reaction to the Malcolm Guite poem at

Thursday, 12 March 2020

VINE AND ALMOND


In the perfection of normality
The Vine grew up before the Father’s sight;
At every stage of His humanity
Christ’s features gave the Father’s heart delight:
The bud was the dependant little child;
The blossom was the enquiring subject boy;
The Man, as holy, harmless, undefiled,
Was straitened to ensure the Father’s joy.

But in one night the almond came to fruit -
One staff displayed fresh life amid dead staves;
In power which sin or death cannot dispute
One Man arose from myriads in their graves.
Christ’s resurrection is miraculous
And a new life gives joy to God - and us.


Another old sonnet rediscovered.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

FRAGMENT

(From a Lord's day 2000)

It is well to advance
To the point where worship is no longer
In point, for the Man of the heart
Is the Man
To whom we are "his like".

And to advance from the Man
Of authority - He is Lord of all - 
To the Man of resource - 
Head to His assembly.

Yet never to eschew the point
From which we have advanced: as a tower,
Advancing on the heights, settles,
Nestles on its foundation.

(Fragment of a verse letter discovered in digging in the archives.)