The Hiddenness of Christ

The Road to Emmaus

—-

Talking makes it real,

words inadequately describing,

while walking.

No one would guess seeing the two,

that one unseen, a companion

who bent his head and heard,

hidden for a moment to give space,

hidden from their grief.

——

The moment came and he shared their grief,

a friend for the walk who understood,

and gave insight to their weary steps,

broke the bread of his body,

and hid.

Prayer on the Front Line.

I pray for Ukraine,

that each blade of grass,

flowers, bees and beetles,

birds and butterflies .

—-

I pray for their protection

against the avalanche

of violence and vile

destruction.

—–

I pray for each small child,

girl or boy, their school,

hospital, park and their

climbing tree.

——-

I pray for their safety,

in the minds, bodies,

and, cast away from families,

to be safe from harm.

——

I pray for the mothers, who

wait by the phone,

fathers, changing a job

for tanks, missiles and a gun.

——-

I pray for their hearts

that they don’t break,

that the abusive powers

relent – speaking words of peace.

—–

I pray for the medics, 

short of supplies,

for the vets who cannot

save bomb blasted pets.

I pray that they’ve

healing hands, their touch

to be as Christ, – in the absence 

of enough of everything.

—–

I pray for the governments,

choices they are making,

to save a people or

bury them in ash.

——

I pray for them to see with

a frightened child’s eyes,

to hear the cries with a

shattered mother’s heart.

——

I pray for the world powers,

to put aside their quarrels,

to open negotiations,

and work solely for peace.

——

Prayer is a voice in the wilderness,

a light in the darkness

and always on the front line

of any battle for any life.

The Flames of Death

It was beautiful, the newly shooting buds of ancient trees,

those toppled by the terrible storms defiantly greening,

At our feet the carpet of pungent garlic holding its buds

as precious gifts to a foraging folk and here and there

stars of anemones shining in the dim lit ancient path.

==

We trod on round the scars of fallen rocks, glimpsing

blue sky and rolling waves as they washed the shore, 

relentlessly cleaning the rocks and sand, filling small

coves with tiny shrimps, and cockle shells for the

sustenance of the crying gulls and scuttling crabs.

========

We rounded the corner and felt the cold wind of

death. All around blackened, tortured branches

crumbled into the blackened earth where the tiny

bodies of creatures lay cremated by human hands,

who’ve abused and raped this gentle, gracious land.

—–

Broken by the sight, smell and disgust for our race,

teary eyes took in the acres of what should be golden

tipped gorse, bluebells coming, and a place where

bees would buzz and butterflies dance. But their 

hiddenness in this brutal affair cost them their lives.

——

The stench remained with us as we finally passed 

into green and gentle slopes laying atop the cliffs,

called us to pray for Ukraine and others. There, a

beautious land has been stripped and burned. Both

their fruitful futures killed by callousness and greed.

——

The smoke still hung in the air as we silently pass,

the grim reminder of the disregard for living things.

The blackened soil lives in in our dreams, haunting

our thoughts recalling us to reality that some care

not for creatures, nor climate change carbon stoked

by

their 

fires.

My Winter in Summer

I heard the crunch of tyres on the stony ground still,

as it stopped on the grassy verge and outpoured

chattering children and gathering grownups. Nearby 

the yapping of a small dog, running freely amongst 

the cars disturbing someones quiet moments, and

threatening to knock over the frail taking a walk

in the afternoon sunshine – after a long year sitting.

I felt the sting of tears as I stood alone, cherishing

the sights and sounds despite my sorrowing soul.

====

I look over the cliffs and see the the lumbering

shapes of cows stopping to munch at the green

grass, kept fresh by the rainy days, they chew 

slowly dripping saliva as they relish the juiciness,

and then they slowly subside onto a fresh patch

and resolutely chew their sweet cud while small

patterned calves run between them on their too

long wobbly legs, eating the grass and drinking

the much needed sustenance from the udders.

=====

I saw overhead and heard the call of Choughs

as they jounce through the air showing off their

joy at the world. A greenfinch zee zees in the

blackthorn and a charm of goldfinches swarm

around the dandelion clocks chirping. High

on a tree a blackbird calls and then a thrush 

puffs out his breast and sings a song to warn

of coming storms and yet the joy in his heart

tumbles from his beak into a my bleak living.

====

I walk on and hear a child cry with delight at the

sight of the choices of ices and eyes wide they

look at labels of chocolate, honey, blueberry til

a decision with precision, a waiting smile, hands, 

ready to receive the precious taste of holidays 

and special events that have long since been 

a rarity in their vicinity and well merited now,

melting into small mouths and reviving them

with sugars and colours and tastes and smells.

====

Everywhere there are daisies and buttercups

brightening the brown earth where nature 

produces orchids early and harebells late,

bluebells to mirror a sky of blue on earth,

garlic to fill the air with a pungent delight

and blackberries flowering, preparing the

fruit of jams, jellies, crumbles and pies.

All through them the gorse spikes shine 

gold, spreading their honey scent wide.

==

I walk on with winter in my wretched heart, and 

return towards my home poignantly pondering,

wondering, and wanting to applaud the joy

and hope in all those happy sticky faces, 

and gritty shoes and wished again that my

little ones were here amongst them – and not

locked away by a vile virus that blocks them. 

mocks my aching empty arms and I look at

at the summer through a veil of trickling tears.

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?

A Moment of Grace

For a moment it blazed across the sky,

deep rubies, amethyst and gold as

the sun sank below the sea leaving

me. I looked and saw through the 

colours into a lit space where all

was possible beyond imagining,

For a moment time stopped. 

Then the sun sank and darkness

collected around me – yet still I

carried the glow in my heart, despite

that blanketed breaking night.

==============

A fragile glow, a moment of 

      grace in the face of grief

and loss as the world turns on

its own, destroying the sunrise

over battered broken tree stumps,

children begging for a safe place

and guns being fired on the innocent

while governments manipulate and destroy

but still within. An eternal flame.

2020 Slaughter

Timeless memories of days that mould

our families, and friends come round

for a coffee and a chat. While, the 

insistent echoes of government tell

us what they want us to hear and

what they wilfully want to do. And

——————————-

so many hugless months have slowly

palled and painted faces with sadness

and tears of grief; often shed in lonely

funerals. A life abruptly cut off, and a

short sincere service – ending with no

friendly sharing of the persons life

over curling sandwiches, and sausage

rolls helped down with a bar bought drink.

———————

Children stare out at an alien world

where play is absent from schools and

teachers stand back and learning is hard,

so, they master hand washing instead.

——————

Some, watch from home, as they lie

cancer sick and like autumn leaves 

fall unnoticed into lamentable piles 

of colourful leaves, left to rot and 

return to the earth leaving tracks

of unhugged tears and lonely weeping. Yet

—————————

in a science laboratory somewhere not far

from their door, there are workers seeking

a viable vaccine; and others testing brutal

biological weapons to release, into

the void of senseless violence. And think

themselves progress til the virus enters

their homes and threatens their families.

But governments will fight on building

secret weapons that will murder and 

violate, that will destroy lives, economies,

socialising, livelihoods and still they

march on regardless

making

orphans

and 

silence.

Death Ripped Him from Her.

The jagged edges of his death cut through her heart,

tearing it out and displaying it for all to see.

She looked at it forcing the blood around her body

hating it for keeping her alive when he had gone.

——————-

Texting messages that showed hope, when        she

knew the the white coated spectre’s voices echoed

in her brain, body colluding with mind to shatter

the day which had started out so promising, and now

——————————

as the sun dropped from the horizon and blackness

rose from the earth and seized its opportunities to

draw the light from his countenance too, leaching

slowly the singular life which had shared such joy.

———————-

She knelt in tears, and quietly her head screamed

for something to wind back the time and for this to

be something to warn against tomorrow, not now. 

The wet flowed down her cheeks wetting his dry skin

———————

as she leaned in for a kiss, to remind him that she was 

still there and still waiting for him to come leaping 

back with the adventures of today bright in his eyes,

and the warmth of his arms as they spun her around.

————–

No-one spoke as she shifted her aching hand in his

but somewhere the emptiness glowed with a light

and the crucified, crippled body of another man

whispered, ‘I am here too.”

Death

The impact of death.

I cook something tasty

most nights, he said,

Treats and trials

and she sits on my shoulder

and tells me ‘You batty bugger!’

You should have chopped

and fried til they are soft,

and he goes on lightly listening

to her cheery censorship

which was absent

in the old life,

but keeps her close

in the new.

——————————

It darted again

Looking inside the empty container

dangling soulfully,

vacant.

He died.

And in leaving 

they lost their friend

from whose hand

kindly and continually

they were fed.

—————————————–

She held herself rigid in the dark,

his hand held hers under the covers

and she listened to his breathing,

It was not a drifting dream

but a rock reality that made

it tolerable.

—————————


I cook something tasty

most nights, he said,

Treats and trials

and she sits on my shoulder

and tells me ‘You batty bugger!’

You should have chopped

and fried til they are soft,

and he goes on lightly listening

to her cheery censorship

which was absent

in the old life,

but keeps her close

in the new.