Sunday 31 December 2017


The cherubim cry, “Glory!” round the throne;
His holiness is told by seraphim;
While blood-bought grace-supported saints all own,
“Blessed are all who have their trust in him”!

When all around the pilgrim’s path seems grim
We look to Jesus on the father’s throne:
“Blessed are all who have their trust in him”
Who once endured the wrath of God alone.

The richness of His mercy being known
“Blessed are all who have their trust in him”
Who serves as priest before the Father’s throne
To succour us although our light seems dim.

“Blessed are all who have their trust in him”
By whom God’s very nature has been shown,
Who fills our cup of blessing to the brim

And who shall reign “a priest upon a throne”.

Thursday 28 December 2017


(Psalm 22)
Led to reproach, but assured
Of the Father's love He felt
Man's insolence to God.

If Israel's strong ones adjured
To speak, He showed He was
Son of God and Son of man.

He, whose grace had cured
Every ailment, experienced
Bodily weakness.

If boorish Gentiles ensured
His pain and grief, He bore it
With forgiving grace.

If Satan's craft allured
Such forces against Christ, He suffered
The bruising of his head.

God's Chosen One endured
The trauma of forsaking,
For our sake.

The Lord of life was immured
By God's will in death's cell
Till the Father's glory raised Him.

Sunday 24 December 2017


The world rewarded
Honour with distress;
Heaven recorded
Naboth's faithfulness.

Wednesday 20 December 2017


We give Thee thanks for this variety
And for the sun and for the flowers as well
And see the lovely brook explosively
Bursting and spuming, and the mossy rocks,
So pure and green, the muscly rolling hills
Confettied with the dew of sunny May.
How grand the view!  How fine the gifts we have:
The surging, lashing breakers, shining moons
Resplendent through the nights, the glowing stars
For navigation, and the ships and men
Fighting the scourging waves to which they are
Enslaved, the playing whales, the scattered reefs;
For colours – violets, turquoises, and greys,
Let’s thank our God: for this variety.

One of my schoolboy attempts, I think!

Saturday 16 December 2017


Christ’s attitude is gracious,
His works and words are right;
His loving heart’s capacious.
Man’s wisdom is rapacious
And leads men into night:
Christ’s attitude is gracious,
His counsel is sagacious
And where it leads in bright:
His loving heart’s capacious.
His blood is efficacious
To make the sinner white;
Christ’s attitude is gracious,
The world may be vexatious
But Christ will give delight:
His loving heart’s capacious.
The Son’s domain is spacious
And saints may dwell in light;
Christ’s attitude is gracious:
His loving heart’s capacious.

Wednesday 13 December 2017


"Lord, save me";
And if He was to save
His side must be pierced.

"Lord, have mercy on me";
And for the sinner to find mercy
His precious blood must flow.

"Lord, help me";
And for the full cleansing power
There must be blood and water.


Sunday 10 December 2017


(Micah 5: 5)

If you are thirled to sin
And longing for release
Open your heart to let Christ in,
"And this man shall be Peace".

Temptations may assail,
Or doubts within increase:
Trust in the One who will not fail:
"And this man shall be Peace".

Soon He shall have His Bride
Without one taint or crease,
To reign in glory by His side
"And this man shall be Peace".

Sunday 3 December 2017


The sovereign grace of God is that alone
Which can find, in man's very wickedness,
The modus of accomplishing salvation
Of man, the perpetrator of the evil.

Wednesday 29 November 2017


A paean,
Eruption of soul and spirit,
Touching the King.

Bursting from silence
I prophesy the Coming One,
The Day Spring.

Stolid, a craftsman, why
Choose me as trustee of
The Holy Thing?

Though the weather cuts
And stones abrade,
Nettles and thorns sting

We glory in our pilgrimage
More than in ease
Or governing

Glad to be encumbered  
Gold, frankincense and myrrh  
By gifts we bring.

More than an angel
Redeemed, directed, lightened,
I now can sing.

Saturday 25 November 2017


He speaks in a way
Informed by the character
Of heaven itself.

Wednesday 22 November 2017


With silver, precious stones, and gold
I built a delicate, costly tower;
Chryselephantine work extolled
My Master, to its utmost power ‑
But storms arose ‑ it would not stand
For it was founded upon sand.

Again ‑ but now on rock ‑ I built
An edifice designed to swell
The praise of Him who bore my guilt;
I thought my work had progressed well
But fire demolished all I saw
‑ Since it was wood and grass and straw.

Lord, let me build on Thee alone
According to Thy heavenly plan
And let me be a living stone
Solely for Thee, and not for man;
And if the glory all is Thine
The happiness and peace are mine.

Monday 20 November 2017


If in the Adam
The paths of glory
Lead but to the grave,
In the Christ
The paths to the grave
Lead to the glory.

Monday 13 November 2017


His priestly order, that of Melchisedec,
Is intransmissible, and has no end,
Triumphant over the tentacles of death.
In priestly garb “Holinesse on the Head”,
Light and perfection cherished within the breast,
“Harmonious bells below, raising the dead”
To bear and lead them to lasting life and rest,
In heavenly blue - thus our true Aaron’s drest.
He has approached as perfect offerer,
His offering perfection of Himself:
In power of blood which He Himself had shed
He made the way into the holiest.

Thursday 9 November 2017


Like a tiny vine,
Ingrid Amy Ellis,
Granddaughter of mine.
Grow upon your trellis.

In your sunny spring
Or when storm clouds gather
You will learn to cling
To a loving father.

Though hot sun or hail
Follow one another,
Or through drought or gale,
Clasp a caring mother.

Do not trust in them
For their good behaviour -
All their strength will stem
From their Lord and Saviour.

May you trust in Him!
Triumph and disaster
Will disturb no limb
If He is your Master.

Then you will provide
Fruit the Lord can gather
- Fruit which will abide
For His God and Father.

For a first granddaughter - now nearly a teenager!

Sunday 5 November 2017


Dear Ingrid, you will never know
Your dear old Auntie Liz,
You’ll have no chance for her to show
Her sparkle and her fizz.

You’ll see her figure and her form
Fixed in a photograph
But you will never hear her warm
Reverberating laugh.

You will not have the chance to share
The days when she is glad;
Nor need to join with us in prayer
In days when she is sad.

You will not laugh along with her
At her own quaint behaviour;
His grace has taken her to where
She’s with her Lord and Saviour.

The One who promised He would keep
Her safe from fears and harms
Has gently nestled her to sleep
Within His tender arms.

Dear Ingrid, in this world of sin
To travel without scathe
Trust in the Lord she trusted in
And imitate her faith.

(with Christ 12/12/2005; Ingrid was born on 1/12/2004)

Tuesday 31 October 2017


The field's green is ruined;
Some peasant has carved
Its surface - now,
After some harrowing,
There will be growth.

Stench of ordure
Offends the nostrils - the peasant
Has used his ox - now,
After the winter, is
A fertile promise.

The crop falls,
Row by row; the peasant
Garners from the ruin - not
Just a winter's bread:
Next year's seed too.

Saturday 28 October 2017


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.

(Written when I had only one - so that's about 30 years ago.)

Tuesday 24 October 2017


(for my wife)

Around us are our tender flock
Within this howling wilderness;
Under the shadow of the Rock
Care for them with me, Shepherdess.

As shepherds must we'll guide their feet
Amid the desert's brokenness
To where the gentle grass is sweet:
Care for them with me, Shepherdess.

We'll keep them near the water's flow
Whilst all around is barrenness;
While by its glassy streams they grow
Care for them with me, Shepherdess.

Teach me, as Rachel must have taught
Jacob, to heed their tenderness
In case the lambs are overwrought:
Care for them with me, Shepherdess.

A greater Shepherd guides above
Our ignorance and bruckleness;
Under the shelter of His love
Care for them with me, Shepherdess.

Written a good few years ago now!

Thursday 19 October 2017


When my father died my mother -
According to the family style -
Kept going; that he died
Speaking of his Lord to a sick friend
As a saint being saintly,
Comforted. Yet later she admitted
That that day her song-bird
Died in her too.
When her brother Tom died
That was more bitter:
Instantly, in a bookies,
As a sinner being sinful
With no known regard
For grace and faith. Had he,
For eternity,
Backed the wrong horse?

Her brother Bobby’s death
Came to her in an envelope
From an Australian social worker.
If he was a wanderer wandering
She took comfort from two words,
“His Lord”.

Now, day by day, doors close;
A bus is a step too high,
Shops a step to far, "home" -
Her birthplace - a road too long. 
In faith and grace, and mild humour,
She keeps going, patient for
Whatever translation
Her Lord has in mind for her.

Now herself with Christ


Tuesday 17 October 2017


Lying, frail bones clear beneath the skin
She's like a tired old tale.

A chattering, clattering plot began
Delighting the evening hearth ‑

Gradually the energy waned,
The words grew slower,

Grey shades loomed from the corners,
Smothering the light,

But still the fire flickers,
The story lisps on.

Now she lies awaiting imprint
In a superior translation ‑
God's illuminated manuscript.

Written a few months before the Lord took her in 1977.

Sunday 8 October 2017


The Son, because of His innate perfection,
Became a Man of sorrows and acquainted
With grief, since all surrounding Him was painted 
By sins and all men moved at sin's direction;
He walked before His Father as untainted
By sin, and conscious of divine affection.

Men, sin and Satan did their worst: betrayed
By someone that He loved He saw men gather
Against Him, showing that the Jews would rather
Select a thief than Him.  Gentiles arrayed
The Lord in mockery.  In all the Father
Rejoiced in the perfection Christ portrayed.

Yet as He hung upon the cross as Bearer
Of sins the Lord of glory was forsaken;
Because of me the Lord could not be taken
Down from the cross.  Here there could be no sharer
Of grief or pain.  Since He could not be shaken
His moral attributes were never fairer.

Beyond the scene of grief since His ascension
He is a Man of joy - yet in that place
He acts as Priest and Patron so that grace
Flows bountifully, since His apprehension
Of grief was full.  Until we see His face
We rest upon His priestly condescension.

Another which I found in one of my old notebooks.

Friday 6 October 2017


(1 Peter 2: 7)

(1 Peter 1: 19)
What could resolve our need,
And satisfy God’s heart and mind?
Precious blood.

(1 Peter 2: 6)
Men saw a stone, thwart to their building;
God saw a Corner-stone for all His works,
Elect, precious.

(2 Peter 1: 1)
What can avail itself of precious blood?
Or of this precious Corner-stone?
Precious faith.

(Psalm 133: 2)
From the Head, giving savour to all
Down to the hem of the garments flows

Precious Oil.

 (1 Kings 10: 21)
In the expansive house of the forest
Of Lebanon all of the vessels
Precious gold.

(Ezra 8: 27)
What workmanship!  Now God has
Vessels of shining copper
Precious as gold.

(Revelation 21: 11)
What workmanship! Now descends
The holy city – her illuminating,
Like a most precious stone.

Monday 2 October 2017


When tested by the enemy's alarms
And he appears resilient and bold
Recall, "Thy refuge is the God of old
And underneath are the eternal arms".

When tempted by the world's apparent charms,
Reject its tinsel for God's finest gold
And say, "Thy refuge is the God of old
And underneath are the eternal arms".

Heir of a portion far from human harms
Where all the blessings of His grace unfold
Rejoice, "Thy refuge is the God of old
And underneath are the eternal arms"!

Saturday 23 September 2017


Because I have the tendency to grow
In my own way, as I desire to be,
Despite God’s thought of making willing, O
Lord, bend me to thy will, to grow towards Thee.

Because a singing saw creates discord
In hands that are enfeebled or unskilled,
Taking me in firm skilful hands, O Lord,
Bend me, so that a pure note is distilled.

First, fill a tube with sand; then block each end;
Red-heat the cooper; curve it manually.
Thus in your skill and rigour, O Lord, bend
Me till the waters flow effectually.

Bound to thy treadle, like a pole-lathe’s tree,
O bend, O bend, O bend, O Lord, bend me.

Thursday 21 September 2017


That thine arrow,
May find entry;

That thine enemies,
may be expelled;

Whatever the cost,

By thy supple hands,
O Lord, bend me.

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.