The Prisoner

The Prisoner

She looks through the bars,

her intelligence

dulled by repetition

of the daily chores

and cheerlessness.

Tears fall

as tortured

thoughts

of her child

growing without

her loving touch.

A glimpse now and again,

never enough

as someone

else

charts her child’s

precious years.

Politicians mutter,

What can her family do

against prejudice

injustice

and perfidy

like this,

taking a woman from her

family,

from her freedom

and framing her,

mercilessly

destroying the fragile

bond, that holds

body and soul

together.

Lord, that she may be free

Amen.

The Road to Emmaus

We were walking between fields spotted with red anemones,

corn growing strong, and across the greened land the trees

lifted their faces to the lowering sun and the growing dark.

—–

The air felt cool on our tight skin, and the sour smell of dust 

rose up in our footsteps with the grief in our harried hearts.

We doubted that he died. We believed him dead. And then,

——

some women with herbs in their hands said he was living.

We walked home talking and thinking, tears and hope both

intermingled with the words in our heads from Mary, Joanna

——

and the others. I trudged, so tired that I felt that I was wading

in the mud of the shallows of the Jordan, my head ached as

with each muddled moment I dragged myself wearily along.

——-

A man caught us up. And, for a while was content to match his

stride with ours. He then saw our expressions and questioned. 

We told the baffling story of a man brutally crucified who speaks, 

——–

defies all we know of the world to walk unaided despite having 

a hideous hole in his side, was beaten til the skin was torn from 

his lacerated back, his ankles smashed with huge wooden nails. 

——–

A teacher he seemed as he led us along through the words

of our own scriptures and taught us that the Messiah would  

suffer these things and then he would succeed to his glory.

——–

As we watched the sun setting over the hills beyond our village

we listened to deep words which slowly seeped into our tired minds.

Does it matter, I thought, what we believe, he is dead and gone!

——–

Our home loomed in the gloom before us and our companion

calm, quiet and kindly walked on. But despite our weariness 

we invited in him to share in the meagre meal in our home.

——–

Our stranger sat strangely quiet as we set out the frugal fare,

We came to table and offered him the coarse bread. It was, 

as he lifted the loaf to pray, that our eyes were opened and saw

——

at our table the risen Lord, his woundedness for us a wonder,

and as we started, so he slipped from our weak dissembling sight,

and looking at the broken bread we believed the unbelievable.

——-

Energised, full dark out but we stumbled along the lanes, owls

hooted and as we neared Jerusalem a night jar sang a song 

of praise. We found Peter risen from his grief and others too.

———

We sang to a God who had dispatched death, conquered fear,

overcome the humiliation of the cross and was here with us; a

God who seeks individuals to reconcile each one to his peace.

The Crucifixion

Jesus gasped for a breath, 

the pain reached everywhere,

the burning in is hands and feet,

his skin burnt in the strong sun,

the flies and ants and birds all

preying on his precious blood.

——

And I saw people from every nation,

every creed, every age, every tribe,

and they knelt before him and bowing

their heads worshipped him, and rising

cheered for the wonder of a God who

accepted horror, mutilation and death

rather than succumb to power and 

domination. A God who is ever thus.

——–

Jesus looked out and saw the crowd,

He saw the proud, the oppressor, the

rapist, sadist, warmongers and those

who had mete out injustice, abusers

of children and bore the torture with

hope in his heart that they will hear,

they will repent, and become like

cherished children and his beloved.

———

The pain tore into his mind,

It burned in his soul and searched

out each weakness. In agony he so

longed for his father and found him

gone. “Eloi, Eloi. Why have you

forsaken me?” he cried; and found it

echoed in the emptiness of a lie. For

Yahweh was there, lashed, nailed, 

bleeding and dying on the cross.

The Gethsemane of the last Supper

Blood, boils, frogs, hail, came the children’s cries,

and soft silence as they remembered the first born 

sons – like me, he thought and will I be recalled? 

He watched their faces, joined in the swell, but

shakily. His last feast with his family of meandering

men and wise women before violence and death.

—-

His hands shook as he felt the bite of the lash, as

he dipped the bread in the bitter, sharp herbs, “This

is my body which is given for you.” Eyes in shock

stare at the pieces and ate as asked, while Mary

felt the sharpness of a sword in her chilled heart. 

She watched as he tearfully lifted the cup of wine,

—–

Elijah unreturned? No, for he claimed it for their own,

stumbling, stunned silence filled the Upper Room.

‘I will not share this feast with you again.” the words

like blows rained down on their drunken merriment,

like that riven sea, rushing, raining down upon them.

He looked at their old, young faces, he so loved,

The children he’d blessed. How would they even

remember this night before tomorrow? A sign he

gives of a promise of forgiveness and grace, into

the gloom he says,“Remember my love. Drink, 

the promise, a cup of forgiveness and hope

for all souls, to be sealed with my own blood.”

He walked alone with them to Gethsemane. He

carried in his heart the unborn child, the abused,

the oppressed, the violent, the warmonger, the

tyrant, the slaver and the slave, the hypocrites

and the helpless – filling his thoughts til he knelt,

in agony and wept, “Father, your will be done.”

Palm Sunday

As we enter into the winter of our discontent

the Son of God rides into Jerusalem on the

back of a donkey that was wild; until he felt

the touch of the Christ child grown. Like the 

unridden,

but bidden that we are, to be broken in

by the gentle touch of hands that were

bound and nailed to a tree, its life given as

he wove its beauty long ago, by a soft smile

that was whipped into screams, as he fought

for hope in life rather than in death, crushed

for an unwilling world. 

——–

Untie us Lord and lead us

to the wells of the water of life, guide us through

this frightened and fearful world of violence,

rape, plunder, poverty, starvation, tyranny and

tribulation, to where we can rest in those loving 

wounded hands, see the love in your smile  and 

know you are walking each step with us and will

weep with us, will right wrongs through us and

help us heal the hopelessness of our hearts cry.

Blindness Threatens

I open my eyes and look to the dark,

thick coils swirl across the vague lit 

ceiling of my changing eyesight and

I imagine all sorts of things are there

floating just outside my vision’s night.

—–

I wonder at the others who lie awake

and test their eyes against the lies of

day, and see through their minds a 

host of many hued delights they love,

playing there just by their bedsides. 

——– 

My heart is churning thinking of all

the life I love, my need to see my

beloved and my children and       theirs;

and the pillow damp with tears; hid

from those kind seeing eyes longing

——–

to help, find a cure, seek a way to

teach, braille, train me to see what

I can, for a long as I might but still

the drop falls and the night palls

and fear grows with the coming light.

——

Mine staved off for now but for others

the grey mist falls. And a white stick

calls so that they might walk amongst

the living and feel the grief of the toil

that boils in rage at the injustice of it all.

The Tithes of Prejudice

They tenderly picked up her body, wonderfully made, brutally murdered,

Her intelligence snuffed out, her wisdom lost, her mothering care gone.

Society wept, crying against the constant bombardment of hate, hate, hate,

spoken through the media social, the radio, the speeches and the street,

as it wielded a gun, killed her, willed her death, for no reason of rationale.

——-

Children growing are taught to loathe, not to think, to despise not to learn,

their minds are instilled with invective, blocking their detective instincts to

ask and probe, to seek and read and find leads that take them further into

a world where there is hope, and to question is honoured, and to examine

the speeches and not be nose led, or gross fed the lies of white supremacy.

——

Instead they are learned in the lore of ignorance as they close their minds

and buy ropes that bind, buy hats that are signed by bigots and yet even

some will test the waters but find that to step away from such hypocrisy is

to break their family, shake friends and take their status. So, they don’t but

there are those who care, bear the burden of stagnant, Godless thinking.

——-

They march in the streets, carrying pleading placards, their minds fixed 

on changing the reels of those; who have been educated to seal their

brains, with monetary gains, choosing the reign of inflicting pains and 

staining the ground with the blood of innocence.  The protesters struggle

straining to shift the ground, see evil reigned in, turn the widening tide, 

promote healing, heroes out to challenge and claim the humanity of 

the

joy

of

diversity.

Then, Now and Tomorrow

I sat beneath the boughs of a tree, once,

and watched the crowds go by. Dressed

warmly against the cold, bright coloured 

scarves, boots and shoes, and even sand-

als displayed beneath shorts of a wry

hard man, displaying his hairy legs and

muscles against the hoar, raw frosts on  

the brown, bare, sleeping, avenue trees.

——-

The crowd moves, like silvered mercury,

in the morning wintry sunshine. Slowly

spreading out and coming together in

harmony. They wave to folk walking the

long winding pathways and, like the tiny

silvery blobs, they pool together and 

they separate and move on to their own

warm fires or cafés for cheering drinks.

——

The children run around playing games 

with balls, throwing frisbees as high as

the topmost branches of the green firs.

One child falls and shattering screams of 

rage echo across the grass and concrete,

of the play areas, and a cool, concerned 

father kneels and administers the kindly

kisses and hugs. We, wait as the noise

——

subsides giving space to, a robin above

my head as it sparkles into life and its,

rich notes rising and falling; delighting my

shocked ears. And others turned and we

smile and watch as he comes to hop on

harried grass, tipping his head, levelling

his bright eyes as if to say, ‘Better now.”

This was a time of many months long, 

and still a robin sings and brightens the

day but I wander through the park as

if I had lost my way. Each of us now

carries our burdens of COVID deaths, 

and fears of our futures as lockdown

follows lockdown. But now the man in

his shorts, a stick supporting wasted 

muscles, each breath broken. We chat

through masks and he mentions being

in hospital and the heinous, horror that

COVID19 is. No one has been spared.

Each face the gravity of the mounting

up of debts, job losses, shoddy leaders,

rising death toll and various vaccines;

and will they help us through to being

a human race that is wary of each other?

Do we like those silver drops attract ?

Or do we prefer being divided? Separated?

And we solemnly ask, ‘ Will there come a 

time again,

when the folk dance will stir again and

welcome the pull towards each other, shake

a hand and hug or will we, our nature now

changed to isolation, continue to slide away?

#MeToo Reclaim the Streets

Reclaim the Streets

For Sarah.

Who made the streets the way they are,

lit, de-littered, guttered, de-rutted, tarred?

Motorists and macadam, shovel wielding

navvies? Contraptions stealing the earth.

——-

Now,  we walk, we talk and balk at the noise,

of the traffic, black gleaming lanes and kerbs

giving grace to a flow of varied vehicles on

their way to a destiny that others have made.

—–

Yet, in the midst of through and thorough fares,

walk women of the newest times, grimy years

of tears under male domination, correcting our

mothers, sisters, aunties, girls and grannies;

——-

they walk those streets in fear and trembling;

as I did when a car stopped at the kerb and 

then as I ran, he followed, nipped around and 

was in my face, til the empty roads and alleys

——-

became a labyrinth and my pursuer like a wild

animal stalking his prey, blocked my exits, he

terrifies me still. Running, hiding, crying, and

shouting, finding an all nighter, shrinking back

——-

to hide from his leering, ogling face and grim

tactics bent on what? I’ll not know. Luckily I

was not a police case, a race, a killer to trace,

learned to avoid the chase, spray the mace. Be

————–

aware of preyers. Take care! Go out in pairs! 

Male friend to walk you home? Or starve, take a 

taxi but they ruined that too. Have a pepper

spray. A mobile phone but they keep their own

——-

beastly distance as they cruelly chant, they

swore, called us whores and aimed at our

cores where we kowtow to a male society, that

never passes any laws, do the police even try

——–

to work for our cause, show them the iron doors,

close their jaws, and quieten their roars, for men

foment, they plot and plan, cos they can. Yet,

Sarah died and so did our right to peaceful

—-

protest?

Together with the true males we’ll take a stand 

turning to one another, and all those precious

names will not die in vain, cos you and I will 

kindle a flame, tame the male wilderness,

reclaim the streets, let justice be the pavement

and respect 

be the

attitude.

The Harrowing of Hell

Is it within, without, was it always

someone else’s tool that they used

to abuse, confuse and cruise their

hate through another’s quick crisis.

——-

Hell hath no fury? Give them hell.

Hell is – other people said Sartre,

The road to hell is paved with –

good intentions. I felt like hell; are

——-

just the many man made ways we 

use a word that holds the world in

contempt; forgets to tell of the one

who came to hell and withstood its

———

snares, despair, and vile wares.

He sparred as he harrowed hell 

on a lonely hillside, braved alone, 

and faced the dreadful darkness down.

———-

He attacked it within and as death

lost its power. he cowered it across

the land, until hell punched the air

with joy over the sealed dark tomb.

———-

Dead, he harrowed evil o’er and more,

til he rose above the empty grave,

and hope erupted, gilding the day

and building a way for you and for 

——-

me to crush and push and thrust

hell, hushing its voice in a troubled

land and hassling it in our hearts

to pulse anew with joy and grace.

———–

To seek it, wreak it, break it and 

there in the darkest moment we

will find the candle set there by

a loving, grieving pearl of God.

The Pain of Womanhood

The lash landed on her bared back,

rupturing the fragile scarred skin

and ruby red droplets scattered

across until they formed flowing

in

rivulets

————

Each stroke shook her heart as

it tried to cope with blood loss,

and pain, and shame, and anger,

at abusive laws set to break 

her

spirit. 

—————-

Collapsing into a bloodied heap,

her hair coated red, and the marks

of many crosses on her battered

back; she prays for the dignity of

dear

death.

——–

They will treat her unjustly inflicted

wounds. They will get her back on

her feet, and then they will punish

her again for nothing more than she

is

feminine.

————

He looks and hates the desire that

he feels. The lash has become his

lust, and anger, that a female has 

stood up to the misogynistic male

self-centred

values.

——-

What has brought women so low

that they feed on a male’s unsub-

stantiated flow and subverted praise?

The answer is that they have always been

macho 

moulded

———

So, womanhood is to nurture not the

male’s domination, for that is corrupting,

but themselves and as they grow and 

fight for their freedom to be, they’ll

free

humanity.

—————–

Each society is builded on blocks of virility,

each fails and blames their helpmeet and

violates her and so nations collapse and

their hope for the future, their very children

die

hungry.