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  • Still Dark!

    So we've reached the end of another week of rather dark poems!  It has been interesting to ponder the responses of those who have read them - some have enjoyed revisting poems they last read many moons ago, others have fund the 'darkness' oppressive.  I suppose in some ways, it reflects our expectations of Advent, and the way that it has shifted from its dark focus on 'the four last things' (death, judgement, heaven and hell) or on the Second Coming (with equal measure of despair and destruction) to a saccharine build-up to Christmas festivities.  The idea that our forebears would have fasted and seen this as a penitential season is unknown to many, to most; it is scary how many churches either ignore the great Advent themes (and they are many and varied) or start singing Christmas carols on December 1st.

    Anyway, yesterday was the bright Gaudete Sunday, I wore my pink suit (pink!  me!  yes!) and we had a wonderful evening carol service with a children's choir to augment and counterpoint our adult voices.  It is still dark, but the light is growing... soon it will be Christmas!

    Here's one of the poems we used last night which seems to capture some of this waiting and hoping and darkness and light...


    Jesus is Coming

    by Lucy Berry


    Jesus is coming.  But not yet.

    First there must be water, blood and milk.


    Jesus is coming.  But not yet.

    First there must be blessings, shame and outrage.


    Jesus is coming.  But not yet.

    First there must be journeys, vists, exiles.


    Jesus is coming.  But not yet.

    First there must be terror, torture and death.


    Ah, Lord, hurry to be born.


    Ah, Lod, hurry from womb and tomb to save us.



  • 'Haphazard by Starlight' - Day 16

    The Bat

    by Jane Kenyon

    I was reading about rationalism,
    the kind of thing we do up north
    in early winter, where the sun
    leaves work for the day at 4:15

    Maybe the world is intelligible
    to the rational mind;
    and maybe we light the lamps at dusk
    for nothing...

    Then I heard the wings overhead.

    The cats and I chased the bat
    in circles - living room, kitchen,
    pantry, kitchen, living room...
    At every turn it evaded us

    like the identity of the third person
    in the Trinity: the one
    who spoke through the prophets,
    the one who astounded Mary
    by suddenly coming near.

  • Gaudete

    Well, some things just have to be done...

     Happy Gaudete Sunday all

  • 'Haphazard by Starlight' - Day 15

    Blackbird in Fulham

    by P J Cavanagh

    A John the Baptist bird which comes before
    The light, chooses an aerial
    Toothed like a garden rake, puts a prong at each shoulder,
    Opens its beak and becomes a thurifer
    Blessing dark above dank holes between the houses,
    Sleek patios or rag-and-weed-choked messes.

    Too aboriginal to notice these,
    Its concentration is on resonance
    Which excavates in sleepers memories
    Long overgrown or expensively paved-over,
    Of innocence unmawkish, love robust.
    Its sole belief, that light will come at last.
    The point is proved and, casual, it flies elsewhere
    To sing more distantly, as though its tune
    Is left behind imprinted on the air,
    Still legible, though this the second carbon.
    And puzzled wakers lie and listen hard
    To something moving in their minds' backyard.

  • 'Haphazard by Starlight' - Day 14


    after Rilke

    by Alan Payne


    your grand circle engulfs

    all the small bright circles

    of the world.  None

    can withstand you:

    meteors trailing their light

    through space, this slim

    candle on a shelf.

    All selves

    belong to you, began

    in you.  You place

    a hand on my shoulder, shift

    hand to wrist, fell my pulse.

    Your gentleness moves

    me to belief: in