Tuesday 31 December 2019


(for Catriona)

A new year has begun: after the years
Of human patience, folly and endeavour -
Salted with sea-spray, human blood, and tears -
Which had their spring-tide but have ebbed forever.
Fragments of lives, famous, worthwhile or dull
Strand on the shifting dunes we call "today";
We beach-comb through sea-sculpted drift to cull
Some shards we dignify as "history".

But through the moon-tossed sea and wind-blown sand
Pierces the Rock: we turn as do the tides
But Christ remains. We may not understand
Yet apprehend that He who now presides
Above the orb of time invaded time
In love that is eternal and sublime.

Catriona, who knows how long after I wrote, this now lectures in history.

Sunday 29 December 2019


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 19 December 2019


How shall this be? the virgin asked

When told of how she had been tasked.

The Spirit Gabriel said, shall be

On thee, and power will shadow thee.

Where is the King? the magi said,

Expecting some soft royal bed;

His star led to the Lord of all

Laid in a manger in a stall.

Who then is this? whispering in awe

Those on the sea with Jesus saw

The calm His speaking spread abroad

And recognised the Son of God.

When shall He die? the world replied,

Only content when Jesus died;

Yet we can gladly understand

The time, and death, were in Gods hand.

Why dost thou weep? The risen Man

In care that was not other than

Care shown before - while now He could

Bring saints into new realms of good.

What shall I do? the jailed called,

Fearing as one whom sin enthralled;

No longer fearful and depraved,

Through faith in Jesus he was saved.

Tuesday 17 December 2019


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.

Friday 13 December 2019


Their illumination constrained
To the sparks they had kindled
Men lay in sorrow: when
Christ came they preferred
The flickering of their caves
Yet we can know in its brightness
The pure illumination
Of the true Light.

A faithful Creator provided
Food for the journey:
They ate, and lived, and died.
But now the Father gives,
As a spiritual reality
For lasting life, lasting substance
And lasting satisfaction
The true Bread.

Once on a fruitful hill,
Dug and relieved of stones,
Was planted that unsatisfactory vine,
Israel, bearer of wild grapes;
Now He stands, to God's satisfaction,
Without earthly moisture,
Clusters ripening into grapes,
Christ, the true Vine.

Blind, and unaware
Of poverty and nakedness,
How could Laodicea give
Testimony? The source of eye-salve,
Of gold and garments speaks:
What words the Amen asserts!
What can He not introduce,
The faithful and true Witness?

What dignity He has
The reality of every type,
The One who supersedes every
Shadow. Who has the right
To the key of David - who
Maintains everything for God,
But the One who can call Himself
The holy, the true?


Friday 6 December 2019

Tuesday 3 December 2019


Hailstones, sleet, lightning-showers:

Man's hatred broke

On one Man

On a cross.

Sheltering walls or roofs

- Family, friendship, nation -


To that Man.

Driving the storm

The icy winds

Of Satan's malice,

Converging on the Man.

But more

The tide of divine wrath

In intensity


One one Man,

Stark on a cross.

Friday 29 November 2019


Gods purpose is that He should bless -

He blessed before the assault of sin
And blessed still though the fall came in:
But once sins challenge had begun
God showed the heart He would express
By blessing only in the Son.

Gods purpose is that He should dwell -
He intervened thus to reverse
Mans state since he had proved perverse;
He sent His Son to draw us near,
To cleanse our hearts, and to dispel
Mans need to hide from God in fear.

Gods purpose is that He should rule -
With all conforming to His will.
And in the time of faith, until
Christ intervenes as Judge and King
He rules among the people wholl
Share His reign over everything.

Tuesday 19 November 2019


For the time of our endurance
Still He loves us, thus
He has given His assurance:
He will come to us.

Not like unbelieving Thomas
We are watching, thus
We embrace His loving promise:
He will come for us.

And we know the time is nearing,
Though this world is dim:
At the time of His appearing
We will come with Him.

Saturday 16 November 2019


Like a luminous ribbon,

Stretching forward,

Yard by yard increasing

In fluorescence

and phosphorescence

The path of the righteous

Advanced toward

Perfect day.

Wednesday 13 November 2019


John was the burning

And the shining light.

The appearing light

Was evident to the sighted.

And he was content

To be consumed.

For as the shining light shone

The burning light had burned.

Monday 11 November 2019


The cattle surge in their pen,

Shifting and flowing,

To the roped gate.

Spring has come. The farmer

Senses the ardency

Of their senses.

The gate swings wide.

From the shadows cattle

Trample, bucking

Into the sun.

Its warmth balms the joints

Of their plump bodies.

Monday 4 November 2019


The moon is not


Upon cloudy seas - it moves

Fixedly in its orbit.

To men it may

Change and fluctuate -

To God’s eye

It remains in its orb.

And the seas it never touches

Rise and fall under

The rhythm of

Its influence.

Friday 1 November 2019


Each knew the Lord.

One lived on the consciousness

Of the mercy

By which he had been retrieved;

One dwelt in the knowledge

That God had chosen her

Before the world was;

One was formed

In the graces found

In Jesus Christ;

And one in the glories

Of all established

In Christ Jesus:

In these distinctions

Star differed from star

In glory.

Tuesday 29 October 2019


It moves in

Inexorable dignity,

A strong runner

Who delights to run

From dawn to dusk.

It has the aura,

The rights,

Of a bridegroom.

Nothing escapes

The munificence

Of the splendour of its shining.

Tuesday 22 October 2019


There are recesses,

Crannies, shades


Outwith there are

Shadows, mists, wynds,


Thy word is a lamp.

Saturday 19 October 2019


Ye were once darkness,
But now
Light in the Lord.

Ye are not in darkness,
For all ye
Are sons of light and sons of day.

Ye appear
As lights in the world.

Ye are the light of the world.

Wednesday 16 October 2019


We will not see it,
Will not need it
Nor wish it
When night has gone.

But now it cheers
Sight and soul and heart
Till day arises.

When dark darkens,
If clouds cloud,
Lift yourself to admire
The Morning Star.

Thursday 10 October 2019


All earthly life depends

On light

Fusing, infusing, suffusing.

All earthly life depends

On warmth


All earthly life depends

On order

Informing, forming, conforming.

Light warmth and order

Centre in,

And emanate from,

One Sun.

Monday 7 October 2019


Let there be light,
God said,
And from that light
Genesis could begin.

Distinctions could be distinguished:
Day and night;
Earth and heaven;
Earth and sea;
Earth and plant.

Yet before animal
Could be animated, or man
Could be man

The particularity of the great light,
Manifested lordship,
Must be revealed.

Monday 30 September 2019


The Light appeared
- The Light of the world -
But cottages, synagogues, villas
Were shuttered or blinded.

Yet, through mercy, a few
Shutters were rotted, blinds
Were frayed: glimmers
Pierced gloom.

Householders peered at the glow,
Loosened curtain or wood.

Cautiously, tenderly
Some souls
Moved to the doors, slid
Quietly into
The full blaze of the Sun.

Friday 27 September 2019


 Her shyness moulded her face
To a solemn look
For my first photo.

Teased, her shyness
Could not prevent the escape of her giggles
From fingers over her lips.

She was exhibit A;
Exhibit B, a cancer report; exhibit C,
The newspaper account of her need.

How often - in nine of her twelve years -
Had she shyly sat
While elders and betters talked over her head?

They gave me cake and a biscuit
As we discussed her.  Then shyly
She leaned forward to brush the crumbs from my knee.

9 September 2019


Monday 23 September 2019


Chariots of fire were not your style ‑
You bent forward patiently with twelve
Yoke of oxen, their damp warmth
And soft breath wrapping you, though cold,
Turning tilth sucked your feet.
Your nostrils savoured fresh earth
‑ And fresh dung. But always your eyes
Aimed for their mark, engraving the fields
With straight, fertile furrows.

Effectiveness. Problems, debt, disease and death,
Barrenness of land or woman, great or small
Personages, your skill with God always answered ‑
Precursor of a Greater, you secured God's solutions.

Water was your special element
Signifying and creating
Both life and death:
To the thirsty kings coolness
But in your enemies’ eyes blood.
Knowing the bitterness you
Could cleanse the bitterness ‑
Since you had crossed Jordan
The axe swam in Jordan:
Was it because when young
You poured water on the hands
Of Elijah, the man of God?

Wednesday 4 September 2019


For your prayers - off to India for the next couple of weeks!
Grace be with you all


Sunday 1 September 2019


If He is the Alpha and the Omega
All titles between belong to Jesus;
if He is the Father's Beloved
He is the assembly's Beloved too.
Since the Lord Jesus is the Christ of God
How wonderful a Christ-ian is to God!
Since the Dayspring from on high has risen
What guidance we have in the way of peace!
Emmanuel has come in - God with us -
So that by His grace we should be with God;
He came that He might become Friend to me
And fold me with those who are friends of God.
If God distinguishes His "gracious one"
He will also pour grace into His lips;
Since He is the Head of the assembly
He's worthy to be Head of every man;
The Person who could call Himself, "I am"
Said also, "I am the door of the sheep".
Since the Just One has suffered on the cross
The just may be justified by his faith. 
Jesus, the rejected King of the Jews,
Will reign in universal kingship.
He is Lord of all we willingly say, 
Before the day when all confess Him Lord.
If already we have the Morning Star
Soon the world shall shine in Messiah's light.
How suitable that the Nazareaen
Should be the branch of true nazariteship;
Since He is the Alpha and Omega
He must have as spouse the Aleph to Tau.
He is a clearer Prophet than Moses;
He is a purer Priest than Aaron;
For the dead the Son is the Quickener:
For the storm-tossed He is the Quietener;
If in His grace He is the Redeemer
Such grace made Him a Ransom for many;
To the One who is Saviour and Shepherd
Belongs the title of the Son of God;
We receive instruction from the Teacher
And refreshing fruit from the Tree of life.
Our  holy, harmless, undefiled High Priest
Bears to our unfading inheritance.
O Wisdom of God, the incarnate Word,
Come and show us the way of prudence.
He who expired is risen: exult Him!
He who excels us all: exult in Him!
We are awaiting the once-slain Yearling:
"Yea, I come quickly", the Lord Jesus says.
Zechariah tell us where His feet shall stand;
And Zephaniah tells where He will rest.

Completed 5 August 2019.

Saturday 24 August 2019


Since the verdict of the cross
Will be overturned
By the Supreme Judge
We love Christ's appearing.

Since Peace shall reign
And mankind shall rest securely
Under Vine and Fig-free
We love Christ's appearing.

Since the forest shall flourish
And cattle increase
And the beasts be at peace
We love Christ's appearing.

Since the Sun of righteousness
Will warm,and lighten, and control,
And the righteous leap,
We love Christ's appearing.

Since the Father's fatherhood
Will embrue earth
And the Spirit permeate
We love Christ's appearing.

Since we shall be beside Him,
Sharing in His headship,
His resplendent Bride
We love Christ's appearing!


In one way there was a verdict at the cross that will not be overturned - for there we were crucified too.  Should I change anything to guard that point?

Wednesday 21 August 2019


Egypt’s water - the first we knew -

Turned to blood

At the twirl of a staff.

Glad were we when the Red Sea’s water

Left the Egyptian shore

Irretrievably cut off.

Bitter were we till Marah’s drink

Was transformed for us

By cast wood.

Fertility greeted us,

Seventy palm trees,

At the twelve springs of Elim.

We murmured, but it was the Rock

Which was smitten; the Rock

Which gave water.

And the Rock was willing

To follow; to serve water

At the lawgiver’s request.

After our wandering years

At last we could wield staves

To dig the well.

The last water, Jordan, dashed

Hopes; till the ark

Championed our passage.

We have been brought to a good land,

A land of waterbrooks, of springs,

And of deep waters,

That gush forth in the valleys and hills.

Wednesday 14 August 2019


(Numbers 13: 25)
Found by searching
These figs - with the grapes,
And pomegranates -
Are fruit of the Land.

(Judges 9:10,11)

Whatever surrounds,
Observe in the fig-tree
Determination to produce
Its sweetness.

(! Kings 4: 25)
Security without anxiety:
Throughout the land dwell
Every man
Under his vine and fig-tree.

(1 Chronicles 12: 40)
Food on asses and camels,
Mules and oxen:meal,
Fig-cakes, raisin-cakes ...
Joy's hospitality.

(Proverbs 27: 18)
Who keepeth the fig-tree - 
Digging about it, labouring,
Putting dung - as reward
Shall eat the fruit thereof.

(Song of Songs 2: 13)
The winter chills,
The chill works
Within.  Sun revives;
The winter figs mellow.

(Isaiah 37: 21)
Even for an irruption
Of vileness from within
The plaster of figs
Provides healing.

Thursday 8 August 2019


I slept. And my Beloved knocked. Alas!
That my response was not alacritous.
How unlike, Acsah springing from her ass,
Or Abigail, my moves were ponderous.
I rose to open but He had withdrawn;
I rose and sought Him but I found Him not.
I asked,where had my Well-beloved gone?
And went to seek Him since I was distraught

The watchmen wounded me. The daughters asked,
What He is like? And then He filled my gaze
With all His loveliness, and as I basked
In all His excellence I told His praise.

Blest Spirit, let me fix my eyes on Him,
And days will not be dull nor I be dim.