Sunday 19 December 2021


 In the Campsie Fells

Luke 7

At His feet
- Which had borne Him from home comfort -
His myrrh-and-tear anointer
Learned forgiveness of sins.

Luke 8

At His feet
- Which carried Him to where need was -
The man whom mankind could not tame
Sat, clothed and sensible.

Luke 10

At His feet
- Which trod as the Father directed -
Mary chose the good part,

Luke 17

At His feet
- Which were bearing Him on to the cross -
The cleansed, leprous, Samaritan, grateful man
Fell on his face.

Wednesday 8 December 2021


Glen Orchy and Southern Highland Hills

I have been reading "The Three Marys" by Edward Dennett, online at The Three Marys, which is very good.  He comments that they, Mary, the mother of the Lord, Mary of Bethany, and Mary Magdalene, are not the only Marys.  So I started thinking about one who is noted as "the other Mary" in Matthew 27: 61 and 28: 1.  My father used to quote: "It takes more grace than I can tell to play the second fiddle well"; it takes more grace to be "the other ...".  Here are some thoughts (in a sonnet and a half):

One Mary was the mother of our Lord,
Whose subject spirit made her apposite
To bear and care for Him; and thus a sword
Entered her soul; God saw one who was fit.

One Mary sat before the Master's feet
Steeped in His word; and bowed in high regard
At Jesus' feet; and, last, as one replete
With grace, anointed Jesus' feet with nard.

One Mary knew the Saviour's grace expel
Demons; she followed Him to minister
To Him. Through grief and joy she would be well
With Him.  So she became His messenger.

There was "the other Mary"; she was where
He was in Galilee; and there to stand
Beside the cross; there sitting to observe
The place where He was laid; and there at hand
Beside the tomb; when He hailed she was there;
And there to go as sent by Him to serve.

So, conscious of a love that does not vary,
Although the path is smooth or rough or scary,
Be there for Jesus like "the other Mary".


Saturday 4 December 2021



In Glen Orchy (this summer)

"Let not your heart be troubled", Jesus told
The eleven as He girt them for their grief:
Knowing their faith in God He could unfold
That He would be their Object of belief.
He told them, "In the Father's house there are
Many abodes"; He would prepare a place
Distinctly ours, above the highest star,
Where we shall be before the Father's face.

"I go", He told them, and the going meant
The cross, the tomb, the garden, and the throne;
He came alone; but through the way He went
The Christ our Lord did not remain alone.

For, taken from the scene where we have grieved,
It is unto Himself we are received.

Saturday 20 November 2021


Something a little different!  On Thursday I visited Langholm, a town in Dumfries and Galloway.  In one of my lives I am a student studying Sustainable Development, and this semester's subject is land reform.  Ownership of the land of Scotland is concentrated in relatively few hands, and there has been a movement, especially in the Highlands and Islands, for communities to acquire their own land.  The Langholm Initiative has taken this up for Langholm Moor.  So I went for a visit, and produced some verse.  Here is how the land looks:

Slash the plastic tube,

Banish it from the moor:

Let the sapling swell free.

As the native broadleaves

Oust Sitka’s dark monoculture

Let many cultures thrive.

As the mature tree, the sapling,

And the seedling burgeon

Let them draw squirrel and marten home.

As blue and broun gled

Vee over the moorland

Let them harry unharried.

Husbanding the rainfall,

Constraining the burns

Let the peat replenish itself.

Under the eye of heaven

Guarded by new guardians

Let Langholm Moor flourish!

Wednesday 17 November 2021


More around Loch Leven

When Satan offered Him glory
He rejected it, giving
The glory to God.

When men offer Him glory
He departed to the mountains
Himself alone.

But, speaking to the Father,
He could rejoice to
Ask to be glorified.

Thursday 4 November 2021


Loch Leven, Highlands, Scotland

A bold note from the trumpet  Christ at last                     
Returns; with jubilation sound a blast                     

Voicing all beasts' joy in their lot                                                             
Lorises, gnats, pangolins, hippopot                                                             

A                                                                                         Grand                                                                                        
Rejoicing echoes, loud and resonant,                                                                                       
From antelope, flea, dolphin, elephant,                                                                                       


Friday 29 October 2021


 Zephaniah 2:3: "Seek Jehovah, all ye meek of the land, who have performed his ordinance".

Friday 22 October 2021


I have put together her the sequence of verse regarding our God and Father which I wrote and posted recently.  They are intended as a sequence of separate poems rather than as one poem.  I have used the form rhyme royal , a form introduced into English poetry by Geoffrey Chaucer, and used by James I of Scotland in 'The Kingis Quair'; the name may derive from his royal use.  Marja and Arsty have provided me rhymes embedded in photographs which I have gratefully used.
but the desire always is and must be that God may be glorified.


Your heavenly Father knows that you have need
And therefore He will graciously provide
With clothes to wear, and bread on which to feed.
He is the One in whom you may confide,
As you set sins against yourself aside;
And all the wealth of heaven comes in view
Because Christ's heavenly Father planted you.


Your Father who is in the heavens gives
Good gifts, and as His people's nature shows
His feature of forgiveness He forgives.
He gives good gifts because your Father knows
What's better than the gifts you might propose.
And, as the gifts He gives you are applied
In lives, your Father will be glorified.


When you give alms let your left hand not know
What your right hand does; for "thy Father" sees
In secret: He discerns what you bestow.
Close yourself in when you bow down your knees:
"Thy Father" only is the One to please;
And do not fast for other men to see:
"Thy Father's" grace "shall render it to thee".


When those who love our Lord and Saviour gather
To pray unto the One whom He made known
They have the liberty to say, "Our Father ...".
They long to reverence His Name alone;
They long to see the glory of His throne;
They trust in Him to bear them on His arm,
To meet their needs, and shelter them from harm.


"My Father's" will was Jesus' first concern
And those who do it know His graciousness
As those who are His family, they learn;
They are the persons whom He came to bless,
And with His Father those He will confess,
Because, before He went to bear their guilt
He said, "not as I will but as thou wilt".


So Jesus answered, saying, "Father, Lord
Of heaven and earth ..."; the One who has the right
To give to each their suitable award,
Has hidden things from those who claim the light,
Since giving to the poor was His delight;
The wise may model heaven by astrolabes:
The Father gives His model to the babes.


When Jesus Christ the Lord returns to reign,
To make an end to man's world's dismal story
Of lawlessness and sorrow, death and pain,
The start of which was sin, and end was gory,
His coming will be in the Father's glory,
And He will see, reigning in truth and peace
The Father's kingdom flourish and increase.


Faced with the death of one who was so young
"Talitha koumi" were His words; we see
Holy emotion through the Hebrew tongue.
"Ephphatha" was the word He used when He
Was shown a thrall of Satan to set free;
What wells of grief Gethsemane induced,
And "Abba Father" were the words educed.


The younger son found how he had been missed
When he came to his father and confessed;
How readily he was embraced and kissed;
How readily he was adorned and dressed,
And how he learned the father as he blessed.
The father was not only one who cared,
But one whose great desires and tastes are shared.


Thrice in the chapters of prevailing dark
The Lord said, "Father"; first, at that crossroad
Where the road taken, and its end, were stark;
"Father, forgive them ...": next the Saviour showed
The weight of grace before He bore sin's load;
And last, in words we barely understand
He placed His spirit in His Father's hand.


As the disciples watched One who would rather
Face death than fail to do Another's will
They saw a first-beloved with a father.
That One, who in His service could be still
Within the Father's bosom, could fulfil
God's purposes, as One whom God prepared:
It is by such a One God is declared.


The fathers of the men who followed Moses
Ate manna in the wilderness - and died;
But Christ has come, and in His life discloses
The living Father, whom He glorified.
And through the Lord we may be vivified:
Through Christ, who is the Living One, streams course
Which have the living Father as their source.


The Lord said, "Holy Father"; I ask why
It is, "A holy Father's constant care",
We sing, "Keeps watch with an unwearying eye"?
Because a holy Father is aware
Of the world's wiles, against which to prepare;
Kept in the Father's Name, who chose to bless
According to the Father's holiness.


It was a righteous thing that One we know
As Son was loved before the world's foundation.
He has come forth in light and love to show
The Father in the joy of that relation,
Although exceeding this world's contemplation.
So "Righteous Father" was the name employed
For One whose company the Son enjoyed.


But for three hours the Saviour did not say,
"Father"; but, "My God, my God, why hast Thou
Forsaken me": oh, cry of deep dismay
And bitter anguish. Yet He did not bow
His head till all was finished.  We may now
Say, "Father" through the work that was achieved
By Jesus in the three hours when He grieved.


Satan, the flesh, and sin, in their own fashions
Have clashed against me to disturb my soul;
But I turn to the Father of compassions,
The God of all encouragements, and roll
My burden on the One who will console;
In spite of ills my foes seek to impart
The Father of compassions binds my heart.


When first the light broke through the primal darkness
It gave this earth hope it would live anew,
Although exposing chaos in its starkness.
Then great and small lights graced the settings due
To them, while looking to the Light that's true;
Father of lights, since then each light that's burning
Comes from One with no shadow and no turning.


The risen and ascending Man could say,
"My Father and your Father"; all was done
To make the Father's name known in this way:
This glorious Name could be revealed by none
But the victorious beloved Son;
In everything this Person has made known
The glory of God's purposes is shown.


If we will live, we must be subject to
The Father as the One who has the Name
Father of spirits; He will bear us through
His chastening.  We gladly own His claim
Upon us since it from Him we came;
He rules our spirits in a way to suit
Our needs, and to secure from us His fruit.


When all God's work in prior time was done
He sent, is spite of this world's bile and blather,
The One who most delighted Him, the Son
That sonship might be known by those He'd gather.
The Spirit of His Son cries, "Abba, Father";
No longer bondmen, they rejoice to be
Forever with the One who set them free.