Sunday, 30 May 2021


The trees resolved that they should choose   
Their own anointed king -                 
A king they would not dare refuse                
To serve in everything.                      

Asking the olive they began:             
“No I will not forsake            
My oil which honours God and man             
For my own title’s sake”.                  

The fig-tree they asked secondly:                  
“I will not leave fruit             
And sweetness for a king’s display   
Which will not contribute”.   

Thirdly, they spoke unto the vine:     
“I have new wine to please    
Both God and man, so I decline        
To wave above the trees”.     

But finally they asked the thorn:       
“Have confidence in me;       
Rest in my shade. But if you scorn    
Fire will devour each tree”.

DCB in Poet's Glen on the edge
of the Pentland Hills


Wednesday, 26 May 2021


The pious man is like a tree
            With amply-watered roots;
And in its season you may see
            The richness of its fruits.

The righteous man is like a palm -
            In freshness he disports
With dignity, without a qualm,
            As planted in God’s courts.

Jehovah’s trees are satisfied,
            Planted by Him, and blest;
Through him each bird is now supplied
            With space to build its nest.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021


From the gnarled bush
Only another thorn: “Away with
This man!”

One quickly-fading leaf
From a dry tree: “I find no fault
In this man.”

But, in the rocks, a miracle -
One perfect bloom: “Have nothing to do with
That righteous man”.

Or from a dying thorn-tree
One tender flower: “This man
Has done nothing amiss.”

A stark tree puts out
One bud - “This man
Was just!”.

It blossoms:
“Truly this man
Was Son of God”.

A plethora of colour
Burgeons - “God has made this Jesus
Both Lord and Christ”.

Scenes in Midlothian

Saturday, 15 May 2021


Help me, Lord Jesus, to provide
The wood offering - to maintain
What is for thy service, without
Pretension, to dependably
Supply unmemorable and
Unsung effort. As others have
Laboured, their names now known only
To God, make me expendable,
Reduced to ash. As Urijah
Would not act for his own comfort
If the Ark and God’s people were
In the fields, even if it meant
His death. As Naboth of Jizreel
Would not abandon his father’s land
Whatever the cost - even if
It meant his death. As Christ’s bondman
Paul spent and was spent, night and day,
That God’s service should continue,
That God’s testimony remain,
Even to the point of his death.

The wood-offering is mentioned in Nehemiah 13, which is the last historical chapter in the Old Testament, just before hidden years until the Lord's first coming.

Wednesday, 12 May 2021


 Near West Linton

Go up to the mountain and bring wood
That the house of God may be built;
Long since should your sloth have been eschewed,
With your selfishness and your guilt.

Go bearing your axe to hew down trees
That the house’s beams may be strong.
Your vigour will not regret your ease
As you quit the place of your wrong.

How long will you sow but will not reap,
Have your gains in bags full of holes?
The house of your God lies waste, a heap -
Rise, for benefit of your souls.

Go, find there is wood to bear each weight,
There is wood whose scent is refined,
And wood to be carved to decorate
Till God’s house accords to His mind.

How soon will your blessing have accrued!
God will give your singing a lilt:
Go up to the mountain and bring wood
That the house of God may be built.

Sunday, 9 May 2021


Whitehill House, Midlothian

To make the Ark  required acacia wood:
A supple wood,  well able to endure
And thus to bear  the testimony through.
The copper altar  required acacia too
To bear the fire  and all the heat produced
That God’s delight  should daily be ensured.
But this wood also  standing as it was hewn
Formed boards by which  the tabernacle stood
Since only this  in all its strength conduced
To form the tent  which God Himself would choose.

One kind of Man  could be before God’s heart:
Suited to God  within His inner Man.
Only the Christ  could be the perfect Ark,
One kind of Man  in sufferings and charm
Clears the approach  by which we may advance
To God’s abode  where we may boldly stand.
One kind of manhood  alone is consonant
With Christ Himself  and God can rest in that.
Men after Christ  now have their heavenly part
Which will remain  when death and sin are past.

Thursday, 6 May 2021


 More of Glensax

Gopher wood had the capacity
To sustain life’s
Capacity for differentness.

“A vine was before me”
Purple with fruit for

Acacia wood could bear,
Could form unity
And could be borne.

Cypress gave its tone
To the instruments
Made from it.

Fruitfulness was the apple tree
Distinguished among
The trees of the wood.

Excellent as the cedars!
Dignity and stateliness
Amongst the twisted thorns.

What a grand entrance
Was through
The doors of olive-wood.

Was that too inferential for you?
Perhaps various qualities of wood
- Grains, textures, fragrances, strengths -
Interest or enlighten. History too,
Ancient sources and customs, might provoke
Emotions or thoughts. But that is below
My purpose here: as the cup-bearer
Had a vine before him I have a
Man: His qualities, mien, customs.
The grain always straight, the textures
Beyond man’s apprehension, the fragrance
What delighted God, the strength to break
Death’s power, to bear us through. Name
Once again - Man according to God.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021


Exodus 15: 25

Jehovah showed Moses wood
Without God showing us
We would not discern
The distinctiveness of His Man.

Jehovah showed Moses wood
Not distinguishing the variety
No species can encompass
The distinctiveness of His Man.

Jehovah showed Moses wood
Our bitterness
Would only be dispelled by
The distinctiveness of His Man.

Jehovah showed Moses wood
It has always been His delight
To see, and to bring to our sight,
The distinctiveness of His Man.

Glensax, Scottish Borders

Sunday, 2 May 2021



Amid man’s constant grappling,
His insolence and fraud
Christ was a tender sapling
Before the eye of God.

He did not take resources
From man’s domain of dearth -
But drew from heavenly sources
Untrammelled by this earth.

And God’s heart was observant
Of that exotic Shoot,
The One who was His Servant,
Who rendered God His fruit.

Here He was the Succeeder
In God’s eternal plan -
His bearing as the cedar,
Our Bridegroom, and God’s Man.

Nations will find Him tender
As He returns to stanch
Their wounds when come in splendour -
“The Man whose name is Branch”.

In power He will have finished
Man’s wilfulness and strife;
Men will taste undiminished
Fruit from the Tree of Life.