Thursday, 31 July 2008


In red intensity of heat
Sweat pouring in great drops
Among the hiss of steam
I myself forged these nails,
Rough, rugged, brutal.

With my consummate skill
Toiling before the furnace
I formed this spearhead,
Sharp, jagged, brutal.

This iron will savour flesh
To liberate rare blood
And loose lustrant water.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008


A garment of plain pattern,
Its texture of staunch twill,
Has been formed on my loom:

Lines drawn with perfect tension
‑ And if the weft is dark
Warp is bright gold.

No complex design
But an inherent rich structure ‑
The whole garment seamless.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008


All my life's labour
I invested in that field.

Years spent forming the stiff clay
And the vessels so often marred.

Now for my life's work they give
Thirty pieces of silver.

A goodly price that I was valued at!

Monday, 28 July 2008


Roman, take your gibbet ‑
Most harsh task to my tools
Since I came from my father.

Joining the bars together
I nailed my hand.

Carving the earthward point,
I scarred my side.

Smoothing, my chisel dropped,
Piercing my feet.

Roman, ask no more crosses:
This will be enough.

Sunday, 27 July 2008


Since her frail coracle is set
Upon a swelling watercourse
When tumbling waves and tides have met
Guide her against their evil force!

Give strength and aid to us who try,
From our own fragile crafts, to keep
Her course from rugged rocks which lie
Threatening to hurl her in the deep.

And bring her safely home at last,
Secure eternally from harm,
Where no seas swell and no winds blast
Within the haven of Thine arm.

Saturday, 26 July 2008


Isaiah spoke of One called Wonderful,
The Counsellor with words replete with truth,
The Mighty God disposing power for good,
The Father of the Age of perfect rule,
The Prince of Peace who makes the desert bloom.
This is the One who in perfection grew
Before Jehovah as would a tender shoot
‑ Though earth denied refreshment to its root.
This was the One who bore the bitter wounds,
This was the One it pleased His God to bruise,
This is the One now satisfied with fruit ‑
I love since I am one His work includes.

This concludes the first wave of laises of "Touching the King". Others, of the total of 120, will follow in due course - if the Lord will.

Friday, 25 July 2008


According to his vision each prophet spoke:
In Jeremiah, fire burning in his bones,
The Branch of Righteousness had been evoked;
Ezekiel saw the Man upon the throne
Yet in his body figuratively bore
All that the Son of Man for man has borne;
Messiah, Prince or the immaculate Stone
Filled Daniel's view and caused him to adore;
Thoughts of His glory and of God's world restored
Thrilled Zechariah and many prophets more;
Each prophet touched by God wisely foretold
The Man some glimpse of whom set them aglow.

Thursday, 24 July 2008


God said of him "He will do all my will",
"My servant David I have anointed him".
He was a man whose grace shone from within.
In each accomplishment he had great skill ‑
He could compose or play the harp, or sing,
Fighting the lion, or giant, he could win
Yet be a shepherd although anointed king.
Experience brought psalms into his lips
While to his God his heart would often lift.
Yet God forbad the height of David's wish
Because withal he had been marred by sin;
Others essay: One only can fulfil.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008


I could recount of Gideon and Barak
Who in his time each had a place of favour
And who each showed a sign of consecration
That God could use for temporary salvation
For His own people in their dire desolation ‑
Yet God's Ideal they cannot be compared with;
Jephthah and Samson display the flesh elated:
Although God used them He found their rashness hateful;
Samuel wisely judged the chosen nation
But mourned too long the king God found distasteful:
At last God saw in His anticipation
A man after His heart when He found David.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008


And the oblation foretold the holy life
Which God could own as all for His delight,
With every action and every motive fine.
As every detail was perfect in God's sight
Those who are God's can similarly find
Enduring pleasure despite surrounding strife.
The mingled oil recalls what was divine ‑
God manifest as holy love designed;
The anointing oil recalls the Spirit's sign
That He had One on whom He could abide;
And nothing there exalts man or excites.
The fragrance all is God's ‑ the food is mine.

Monday, 21 July 2008


At God's desire according to His word
Vast quantities of sacrifices burned
And each foretold the Man who was to come,
Whose death would show the greatness of God's love.
Burnt offerings gave savour of the worth
Of Him whose good equipped Him for God's work;
Because that work would cleanse from sin and lust
Sin offerings presaged His precious blood;
Peace offerings gave promise of that One
Whose inward grace no incident perturbed,
Whose purity no enmity disturbed
And who provides delight for God and us.

Sunday, 20 July 2008


But in that system what had the focal place?
What showed most fully the glory of God's name?
The Ark of God, small amid what was great.
There spoke to God of one Man's perfect ways
Acacia wood which formed its hidden frame;
While for His heart it preciously displayed
God seen in manhood through gold which overlaid.
And on the Ark the mercy‑seat was placed:
Witness was there that blood had met sin's stain;
God's righteousness and love are both maintained.
The cherubim each fixed on it his face ‑
God's rights in judgment are now sustained in grace.

Saturday, 19 July 2008


Upon Mount Sinai God showed His plan ‑
A tabernacle as centre of the camp.
He who approached the tent had first to pass
Altar and laver for cleansing heart and hand;
Within he saw the effulgent golden lamp,
Pure beaten work embellishing each branch;
The tables with the bread at God's command
Bearing its freight above the desert sand;
The golden altar sublimely odorant ‑
All spoke to God of the transcendent Man
Whom He would name as after His own heart,
By whom His full delight would be advanced.

Friday, 18 July 2008


While man in flesh displayed recurrent failure ‑
Failure of life even in such as Abel,
Failure in faith even in such as Abram,
Failure in honesty in such as Jacob ‑
Yet there were some whom God could view as faithful ‑
Enoch so faithful God took him by translation,
Noah so faithful that God desired to save him,
Abraham once restored, and his wife, Sarah ‑
While others yet could presage God's own Saviour:
The promised Isaac when God, in figure, raised him,
The sapient Joseph as leader of salvation
Administering grace among the nations.

Thursday, 17 July 2008


When first the light broke through the primal darkness;
When first the sun arose upon the planet;
When first God made the innocence of Adam,
Or built the woman who would assuage man's heartache;
When first a sacrifice appeased His anger
Or when He saw the blood of the first martyr
God had in mind another kind of Manhood,
A greater Light to lighten all of mankind,
A brighter Sun to light a grander landscape ‑
A sinless Man, obedient to His Father,
A sorer Sufferer who trod a harsher pathway
Until He gave Himself ‑ the better ransom.

The form is somewhat of my invention. It is based on my, possibly defective, understanding of the Old French laisse. The general principles are:
each stanza had twelve lines;
all twelve lines assonate, i.e. the last stressed syllable has the same vowel sound - full rhymes are usually accidental;
the basic measure is the so-called iambic, unstressed syllable followed by stressed;
each line has five stresses and a break after the second or third stress;
in a substantial minority of lines there is an additional unstressed syllable after the break or at the end of the line, or both.

If these technical details are a distraction, forget them; if lack of them would distract, refer to them.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008


Pre‑eminently David was a shepherd:
One with a heart his flock could all rely on.
He was no hireling but prepared to jeopard
His life to fight against the bear or lion
To lead his flock ‑ or lead his men to Zion.
But The Good Shepherd, Jesus, supersedes:
In love He suffered and in grace He leads.

Into the valley, humble yet defiant,
Confident in the way Jehovah led,
David went down to battle with the giant:
A skilful sling-stone smote Goliath dead
And David carried off his severed head.
Through greater depths and through exceeding woe
The Lord has quelled a more injurious foe.

Rejected and despised, a wanderer,
David found refuge in Adullam's cave;
And needy souls who gathered to him there
Because their debts were great or needs were grave
Found that he had ability to save:
Christ, who had once no place to lay His head
Is Saviour now as risen from the dead.

As God's anointed David had dominion
That ranged from the Euphrates to the Sea;
Hundreds of judgements hung on his opinion,
Myriads of minions hung on his decree
While Israel was glorious and free.
But Christ will shoulder just administration
As King of every people, tribe and nation.

To build the house of God was his desire
And under God he was its architect;
It was most worthy that he should aspire
To serve God in a place he would erect
But God refused to give his will effect.
Only through Christ could God acquire a place
To dwell with men in righteousness and grace.

David went in to sit before the ark
To hear Jehovah in complacency;
He laid aside his realm's and household's cark
And heard the promise God had to convey:
Sustained by this he rose and went his way.
But in God's presence our High Priest remains ‑
All things by love and vigour He sustains.

Whether the waters by his feet were calm
Or he was bruised by torrents of oppression
From each experience David formed a psalm.
He raised a hymn to God through his confession
And found a song as carried through depression.
But Christ now leads a heavenly company
Surrounding Him to praise eternally.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008


Swaddling bands, lovingly wrapped,
Protected tiny feet
From the cold and from jagged straw.

Damp from Jordan's water
His feet carried Him to the wilderness,
To the brash abrasion of sand.

He who could move in an instant
From Judea to Galilee
Traversed Samaria on foot.

So the women, loving their Master,
Bathed His feet in these ointments ‑
Myrrh, nard and tears.

Why then did men drive nails
Into these holy feet?

Living again He could say,
As evidence of His life,
"Behold My hands and My feet".

He sits at God's right hand
Till His enemies shall be made
The footstool of His feet.

Monday, 14 July 2008


Jesus, Saviour, since I am
Just a tiny helpless lamb
I would trust alone in Thee;
Keep me safe and care for me.

Lord, supply me where I lack,
If I wander lead me back
To the shelter of Thy fold,
Safe from danger storm and cold.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008


Andrew discerning that to meet
Messiah was his brother’s wish
Brought Simon as his earliest fish
To lay before the Master’s feet.

But Simon was already known
Before he joined Christ’s company
For He looked on him carefully
And gave to him the surname “stone”.

Thus was begun a work which would
Proceed by teaching, grace, rebuke
And all the ways that wisdom took
Till what remained was wholly good.

The Master, walking by the sea
Saw Peter and his brother cast
Their net, as often in the past;
They ceased when He said, “Follow Me”.

In Simon’s house the Lord observed
His mother-in-law who was ill;
With Him it was not long until,
Under His powerful hand, she served.

When Jesus guided to detach
From nature Peter - doubtful yet
Obedient - letting down his net
Was given an overwhelming catch.

He cried, stunned by the bulging haul,
“O Lord, I am a sinful man:
Depart from me!” - but then began
To go with Christ, forsaking all.

Such now his hunger and his thirst
For righteousness that he was blessed
And, sovereignly, among the rest
Of the disciples he was first.

Thus in the history we may note
Increased affection for the Friend;
“If it be Thou” - he would depend
On Christ to draw him from the boat.

And if while on the water waves
Distracted till he cried with fear
He quickly found the Lord is near
As One who cares, and helps, and saves.

The twelve, like formed stones in a hod,
Were borne till each should be a block
Being built together on the Rock,
The Christ, Son of the living God.

But it was Peter who confessed
Because to him it was revealed -
He had begun to be a field
Whose produce showed the Lord had blessed.

Yet it was Peter who next took
Jesus to him, trying to divert
From suffering, making Christ assert
Peter’s mind’s sin, by sharp rebuke.

Peter was one whom Jesus chose
To climb the mountain where the light
Shone from Christ, and His clothes were white -
And what did Peter do but doze!

Wakening he, with his usual vim
Spoke - but mistook God’s special choice;
He was adjusted by the voice,
“This is my Well-Beloved: hear Him“.

Years after Peter could record
The glory of Christ’s majesty
And what the Father had to say
To magnify His Son, our Lord.

Descending to a lowly place
The Saviour took the dying way
And helped His own from day to day
To learn Him and to grow in grace.

When Peter said of Christ that He
Would pay the tribute men thought due
He gave - and gave for Peter too -
But taught him that “the sons are free”.

He gave as Master of the sea
By bringing first to Peter’s hook
The creature from whose mouth he took
The coin, Christ said, “for Me and thee”

Amid men’s ignorance and crimes
He taught His own how they should live,
Instructing Peter to forgive
To seventy times seven times.

Christ shunned by Jews and their High Priest
Sent John and Peter as a pair
To work together to prepare,
In line with his desire, the feast.

But in His wisdom He did not
Provide a name of house or street;
They would be led when they would meet
A man who bore a waterpot.

Their work for Him might be complete
But His for them went on apace -
Kindly He took the servant’s place
Coming to each to wash His feet.

That One with all things in His hand,
Laying His usual garments by,
Should take their feet to wash and dry
Peter could barely understand.

Christ taught that nothing else sufficed
If Peter was to know His mind -
And how ennobling to find
That thought was to have part with Christ.

The Lord then showed to them before
The sorrow came how great His care,
With Simon, subject of His prayer,
Assured that Jesus would restore.

See Peter at Gethsemane
Asleep - or brandishing a sword:
Or hear while he denies his Lord
As warmed by fleshly company.

For Peter to repent this sin
Did not require a harsh rebuke
But only Jesus’ tender look
Since grace was strengthening within.

See Peter, lately sunk in gloom,
Bitter in spirit and forlorn,
Bounding, as if he was reborn,
Towards the Saviour’s empty tomb.

In the same grace He showed before
The day when the Lord Jesus rose
Was spent in shepherd care for those
Like Simon whom He would restore.

Christ spoke of more than men could wish
In heavenly relationships -
But see how quickly Peter dips
From God’s high thought to go to fish.

As always Christ’s response was fine:
He gave the wanderers a catch
Which human efforts could not match,
Then said to them to come and dine.

Christ’s probe to Peter’s soul was deep,
Though that was grace to meet his need;
Then Christ could give the charge to feed
His lambs, and feed and herd His sheep.

God’s work secured in Peter’s soul
Could, though the Lord had gone on high,
Give wisdom and the word to apply
That the disciples might be whole.

Thus when the Holy Spirit came
Peter was ready for the hour
And God could fill him with the power
Suiting the message to proclaim.

He preached of how God’s counsels planned
That Jesus died (while men displayed
Their hatred) and that God had made
Him Lord and Christ at His right hand.

He preached that Jesus Christ who went
To death was He who had sustained
All life, and they would be maintained
By Him if they would just repent.

He preached the virtue of the Name
Of Jesus Christ, the Corner Stone:
Since that Name - and that Name alone -
Has power to be the sinner’s claim.

He preached that God must be obeyed,
While through the One men crucified,
Whom God had raised and glorified,
The Holy Spirit was conveyed.

He preached to Gentile as to Jew
Asserting Christ is Lord of all -
Gentiles who answer to His call
Will have their sins remitted too.

He preached with power - but power was seen
In action too: the lame man walked,
Leaped, and praised God, when Peter talked
Of Jesus Christ the Nazarean.

While there was power in judgment when
Defiant Ananias lied
Since it was God he had defied
As his wife’s judgment showed again.

And there was power when he had kneeled,
Then called out, “Tabitha, arise”;
With Dorcas opening her eyes
God’s might and favour were revealed.

And there was power from God to reach
The Gentiles - and in Peter’s mind
To break the wall there till we find
Him greet Cornelius through that breach.

The Lord required that he should see,
From heaven, the beasts in the great sheet
And have the word to slay and eat:
It came, he said, “even to me”.

Yet law’s grip on him was to force
Paul to withstand him to the face:
Only by faith in Christ, through grace,
We have relief, and new resource.

If wicked men would have him chained,
With walls, and guards, and gates to keep
Him till his death Peter could sleep
Since, come what might, God would have gained.

Soon he had reason to rejoice -
Chains fall, the angel leads, gates swing,
He finds a prayerful gathering
Of saints, and one who knows his voice.

Though Jesus had conveyed to him
That Peter would be bound, and die,
In his epistles the supply
Of faith and grace have not grown dim.

He wrote about the preciousness
Of Jesus blood - the blood of One
Foreknown before time had begun
Through whom God’s heart is free to bless.

He wrote about the preciousness
Of Jesus as the Living Stone,
God’s chosen to whom we alone
Come, though men think him valueless.

He wrote about the preciousness
Of One formed in the Christian’s heart
Which gives grace beyond human art
From twist of gold or curl of tress.

He wrote about the preciousness
Of that faith which believers share;
Yet gave us warning to take care
Lest we should fall from steadfastness.

Ready to quit his earthly tent
And knowing this would soon take place
His final word was, “Grow in grace…”
Following his own development.

“…And in the knowledge of our Lord
And Saviour Jesus Christ”, the Man
With whom God’s work, since it began,
Brought Peter’s soul into accord.

His words to us are ended when
That Name had made his spirit bow
In praise - “To Him be glory…now
And to…eternity. Amen”

Off north for a few days - so here is something more substantial.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008


Pungent curl of smoke,
His face glowing in the firelight,
A draught chilling his back ‑
"I do not know the Man".

Jostle of rough elbows,
Eldritch firelight on scarred faces,
Furrowed, interrogative brows ‑
"I do not know the Man".

Shriek of a frightened fowl,
Eerie twilight shining,
A sharp, accusatory maid ‑
"I do not know the Man".

A second cock‑crow.
A look. A sword to his heart. Again
Peter, stumbling from the murderous house,
Began to know the Man.

Monday, 7 July 2008


The Firstborn of creation,
Rejected by His nation,
Secured a new relation
For men of Adam's race;
Ascended undefeated,
His work for God completed,
The Son of Man is seated
Upon the throne of grace.

The Father was delighted
And heavenly hosts united
To give the Man once slighted
The place that is His own;
The One who had descended
In whom all good was blended
Sits, risen and ascended,
Upon the Father's throne.

His glory is eternal;
Things earthly and infernal
Will own He is supernal
And bow to Him above;
But how much more the measure
Of His unbounded pleasure
In that peculiar treasure
That answers to His love!

Sunday, 6 July 2008


Struggling through the biting winds
He visited
Those about to perish.

Through harsh thorns and clogging mud
He sought
That which was strayed away.

In chilling nights and cracking rain
He healed the wounded,
Fed the sound.

He is the worthy shepherd
That does not leave his flock.

Saturday, 5 July 2008


The work of Christ is so complete
God sets Him forth, a mercy-seat,
Where God, in grace, and man can meet.