The Gower Pilgrim

The steps of ancients have walked this way,

searching out for easement of earthly sorrows,

seeking souls to bring to an earthy paradise

or expiating their sins with hunger and sorrow,

opening a way for newer treads of modern soles

to journey through the patient places of Gower.

——

Weary living brings the purposeful pilgrim,

eyes  tired of seeing a tense troubled world,

intent on travelling in the holy, loving heart

of a being who reaches through thin places,

where angels hover to assist the seekers and

wounded hands long to hold their burdens.

——

The trail winds though the coastal paths,

down lanes, passing lichen covered trees,

toiling farmers’ friendly waves, tumbling 

water alongside frantically buzzing bees 

searching the wayside sweet flowers, 

and villages of folk, tend loved gardens.

——-

Each step brings new things, a wren calls

and overhead a buzzard hungrily stares.

Waterproofs are stowed against the moods

of the wide sky crafting its treasures hourly;

where the sojourner on the sacred way, 

soul rumbling, is hungry for a holy touch.

——

And so, the pilgrimage takes our hands,

feeding us with grace in the incompleteness

of existence and fuelling us for an unsteady

future; and invites us to take kindly comfort 

to sustain our strength, hearten our prayers

and be broken bread to all our neighbours.

A Sacred Moment

The cloud had darkened, and the lane lengthened,

as my dragging feet walked the dusty way home.

My fears were growing and the worry charging

me with the cost of my acuity. The news was bad.

——

Travelling slowly, saddened and searching, I heard

nearby in a green, thorny thicket a few grams of

feathers, bones and flesh rustled and fluffed, then

interrupted my daydream with a loud, clear call.

—–

A wren, with his hoisted tail, blew my sad and 

gloomy thoughts away as he swelled and music

trebled from his tiny throstle, thrilling me and

retuning me to life in that sacred hopeful place.

—–

Somewhere else a bird sang to his love with

zees and another performed an aria, atop a tree.

They are bastions of creation, holding in their

prayerful songs of praise the glory of their God.

The Trumpet Call of Spring.

( or Hope Denied)

The saffron centred crocus shone against the dark earth,

petals gently unfolding inviting the invasion of light

and insects tending their pollen, enabling production

of tapestry in grass; and secretly new bulbs grow ready

to bring joy and luminescence to the troubled world.

———-

Floating on the breeze bees hover, seeking the sweet

peppery smell of defiant daffodils, with urgent spears 

they break open frozen soil and as buds burst, golden

flowers wave in the wind, bending, heralding the good 

news of heads heavy with the promise of fruitfulness.

—–

The weeping willow hangs its head, as if shamed, down

on the scattering of purple, white, yellow  and orange 

that look on the swaying slender branches with awe til

the tiny buds of fresh green begin the task of creation,

in a quickening garden, a sweet shadowed lovers bower. 

——

So soft, so gentle are the woodlands growing and where

green buds burst below carpets of blue and white, as the

campanula carpet battles for ground with the humble garlic,

and mother’s violets cover the banks, peeping at the sun

which is slowly dappled and darkened under the canopy.

——-

Small birds flit and fuss as they collect damp green moss,

and the woodpeckers knock out their staccato rhythm,

or cackle with laughter as they fly through the branches

that wave and greet the coming Spring, jubilantly they

clutch the new nests and cheer on the coupling hawks.

——–

Suddenly life looks good and growing would be better, 

and fulsomely lovely were it not for the bitter twist, of

wars and weather which wrest from the world the many

majestic splendours of its blossoming and blooming,

killing indiscriminately the proliferating gloriousness.

————-

So, rest in bower, beloved, and feel the swift rising of

the sap in the gloom of a grey winter’s dying throes,

feel the gratitude of the butterfly winged flight, holding

the heat of Spring’s happiness in your heart against-

the cold of the hungry engine of division and hatred.



The Wise Men

It was slow and cold over the malevolent mountains

where icicle adorned camels tread on vague 

suspicions of trails. Their bitter breath freezing

in the air and each of us huddled gasping against

the icy blasts. The camps were hard; starting a

fire and hiding under the rough rugs and skins,

sheltering under the lee of snow weary camels,

with whitened humped backs or cool rocky caves.

——

We thought we’d understand, but soon forgot what 

it was that drove us here. A star hidden by dark 

clouds, just glimpses to direct our guarded gaze. 

Plodding feet of chilly camels. Holding on to the 

idea that somewhere was a birth that was God 

given. Months ago we’d spied the star as it rose, 

spilling its golden beams over the earth.  Each of us 

serious in science, astronomy and have called us wise.

—-

Though seeing us now, cold and blizzard blown, they

might not  think it wisdom that sends us on the way, 

but the desperate need to be in a place away from the 

wolf howling, grinding, wind of violent living. The

drifts of snow became light dustings. And, we could 

see trees and the apathy of mountain passes became 

joy of green valleys where we rested, hunted and then

slept. But the beckoning star called us to continue on.

——

Thru’ the glittering night watches and gathering ourselves, 

we walked on towards a future that may be no future. 

Doubts come in droves in deserts, fearing our foolishness 

we arrived at a place our forebears knew and called the 

city of peace. The gold globe of  the temple shone 

in the late sun and the people jostled us with questions 

and insults as the camels shouldered their way up

narrow streets. Our wise servants buy from sumptuous, 

—–

Thru’ the glittering night watches and gathering ourselves, 

we walked on towards a future that may be no future. 

Doubts come in droves in deserts, fearing our foolishness 

we arrived at a place our forebears knew and called the 

city of peace. The gold globe of  the temple shone 

in the late sun and the curious people jostled us with 

questions  and insults as our camels shouldered their 

way up narrow streets lined by newly laden stalls. 

——–

Our arrival noticed.  We are coldly summoned and

invited in to see the suspicious king whose questions

hurt.  Gradually he reveals the cruel tyranny  of a

jealous man and we are caught in his spider web,

and there is no new- born king, only a silly hope

born of scientific observations and superstition. 

and now with wounded pride we hear his hidden 

snarl as he ask for our return with eyes of iron.

—–

Twas the news of the baby he wanted. Like an asp,

he would worship the opposition. Perhaps we 

were wise after all – searching for goodness and 

seeing through his veiled threats and violence. 

As we left,  the star brightens on the horizon. 

——

Faith, like a newly lit candle wavered and held.

It was not far the unfolding. O’er Bethlehem it

shone. We murmured and mumbled as it stopped.

And we asked of a baby. And we met a few ’til

we saw the child, and felt the surrounding holiness.

No need for words, 

we fell down. 

We worshipped 

that we did not know 

and hoped that this smiling gift 

would bear our hope.  

We gave him from our store 

Gold, frankincense and Myrrh, gifts worthy of him 

and believed in our hearts that God was here.  We left,

 quietly and travelled home on a God given route

with a burning in our hearts:

knowing that we had been

at a beginning.

The Coming of Hope

It was slow and cold over the malevolent mountains

where icicle adorned camels tread on vague 

suspicions of trails. Their bitter breath freezing

in the air and each of us huddled gasping against

the icy blasts. The camps were hard; starting a

fire and hiding under the rough rugs and skins,

sheltering under the lee of snow weary camels,

with whitened humped backs or cool rocky caves.

—–

We thought we’d understand, but soon forgot what 

it was that drove us here. A star hidden by dark 

clouds, just glimpses to direct our guarded gaze. 

Plodding feet of chilly camels. Holding on to the 

idea that somewhere was a birth that was God 

given. Months ago we’d spied the star as it rose, 

spilling its golden beams over the earth.  Each of us 

serious in science, astronomy and have called us wise.

—–

Though seeing us now, cold and blizzard blown, they

might not  think it wisdom that sends us on the way, 

but the desperate need to be in a place away from the 

wolf howling, grinding, wind of violent living. The

drifts of snow became light dustings. And, we could 

see trees and the apathy of mountain passes became 

joy of green valleys where we rested, hunted and then

slept. But the beckoning star called us to continue on.

—-

Thru’ the glittering night watches and gathering ourselves, 

we walked on towards a future that may be no future. 

Doubts come in droves in deserts, fearing our foolishness 

we arrived at a place our forebears knew and called the 

city of peace. The gold globe of  the temple shone 

in the late sun and the curious people jostled us with 

questions  and insults as our camels shouldered their 

way up narrow streets lined by newly laden stalls. 

—–

Our arrival noticed.  We are coldly summoned and

invited in to see the suspicious king whose questions

hurt.  Gradually we learn that he is a tyrant and a 

jealous man and we are caught in his spider web,

and there is no new- born king, only a silly hope

born of scientific observations and superstition. 

and now with wounded pride we hear his hidden 

snarl as he ask for our return with eyes of iron.

——

Twas the news of the baby he wanted. Like an asp,

he would worship the opposition. Perhaps we 

were wise after all – searching for goodness and 

seeing through his veiled threats and violence. 

As we left,  the star brightens on the horizon. 

Faith, like a newly lit candle wavered and held.

It was not far the unfolding. O’er Bethlehem it

shone. We murmured and mumbled as it stopped.

—-

And we asked of a baby. And we met a few ’til

we saw the child, and felt the surrounding holiness.

No need for words, 

we fell down. 

We worshipped 

one we did not know,

and hoped that this smiling gift 

would not be crushed by our hope.  

Christmas, what’s the point?

The lonely are lonelier,

the poor – even poorer,

the weak are slowly weaker,

the spoiled are so spoiled.

And there is a place

where you are either

outside or in. And no-

one asks you to enter.

—–

The sad are even sadder,

the glad somewhat gladder,

the fearful – more fearing.

The workers – hard working

and there is a place

where feet are on the rest,

food is served to the best,

And joy is an Offshore Bank account.

——-

Bastard! they called him,

born in squalor they said,

cuckolded his father she did,

and then he ditched them and

rebelled against their traditions,

Legalism and tyranny.     Instead,

He loved the sick into health,

gave sight to the blind,

restored the dead to life,

and hatred heartened them.

——–

Captured him, killed him quick,

denied him a future. Just to stop

the rot.   Tortured by lash.

Crucified,  Christ on a tree,

They tried to rub him from 

history but love rebounds,

restores and reconciles.

——-

Love gives the weak strength,

Love will feed the hungry,

Love befriends the lonely.

Love cares with the fearful,

Weeps with the tearful, and

Somewhere He is celebrated

still.  His sacrificial love 

flows and received heartens

and always a reason for joy.

——————————————-

Nadolig Llawen, Happy Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel Frohe Weihnachten, 圣诞快乐, חג מולד שמח, Gëzuar Krishtlindjet, Ikrisimusi emyoli, ハッピークリスマス, Счастливого Рождества, Καλά Χριστούγεννα

The Pilgrimage of Life

My long legs reached to the farthest shore of my being,

shoving and pushing through the muddiness of rejection,

and the sucking swampiness of my serious certified sickness,

each step a challenge of my spirituality of distinctiveness,

of my direct thinking to wonder at the great unknown, and

still I’ll move, ever my blurred eyes looking for the briefest

of arrivals and departures, each harried horizon differing 

and developing in her persistence to a protected peace,

a hushed silence in the noise of extant voices, seeking

rest for my soul and a hidden haven of hopefulness.

Love

Those eyes, I look and see myself as he does,

He stares back with leisurely love,

It never wavers,

Each tiny cell speaking peace,

Each lash and brow saying, “Hush.”

Challenged I watch those eyes that watched the children play,

and Blessed them,

turned to the blind and dumb,

and healed them,

looked into the eyes of the broken,

and gave them back a life,

turned the shame of the rejected 

into the warmth of welcome.

greeted the unloved with kindness

and saw them beloved.

I watch and am warmed again.

A Rainbow of Grace

Deep in sorrow I walked the walk of grief,

Feeling in my hurting heart the pain of loss.

Each beat a reminder of them and their sweet

faces now facing an enemy grown by greed.

===

The rainbows arched across the sky, spilling

their palette of colours as it stretched until

it sank into the seething sea, and shared its 

delight in the writhing waves of the sea water.

===

I reached for a brush and paper wanting to

replicate the delicate hues, and share my own

pleasure in a prism given to us signifying that

God’s creation is a gift that cannot be compared.

====

I lay and watched and thoughts flowed through a

third eye to another place. There, there is water

and a dome of coloured rocks and everywhere

dancing painted arcs that ripple and flow with

======

every combination and complication forming

and reforming red, gold, fern green, palest pink,

prime colours and even those we cannot see,

as if a paint chart is playing its own concerto.

====

I opened my eyes and the sky was going grey,

the loss of the grace of that moment grieved

by the heart, yet still in my mind’s eye it lived,

and over the horizon a growing darkness filled

=====

the skies and brought me back to the gloom

of dying children and forest fires breaking

the chain of life and deepening the crush of 

a changing climate that will cause a cataclysm. 

=====

From a grateful gift of grace I walked on 

with a rainbow of hope pulsing with the

rays of refracted sunlight, a lighthouse 

of hope in a dark and troubled moment.

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.