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"!