Advent Hope

May we, who swirl around in a flood- torn world,

clinging to little rafts of love and hopefulness,

see glimmers of a higher throne to make our spirits soar

and tune our ears to the echoes of the greatest loving sacrifice

carried out for us two millennia ago,

the arrival of God on earth

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Spectre

At first, he thought she wasn’t real

So vague her silhouette

But as she entered heads all turned

And some stared in regret

 

So soft her tread across the floor

So hovering her gait

That watchers thought she skimmed the ground

Or so they’d soon relate

 

Towards him moved her silent frame

Unblinking was her stare

His soul was rooted to the spot

Intent, she fixed him there

 

Her breath came cold across his cheek

He leaned to catch a word

But swift her hand revealed a knife

And all existence blurred

 

Some said they heard an anguished cry

Still others, plaintive song

As they beheld his heaving form

Alone, now she was gone

Breathless Autumn

And we would run breathless beneath the bronze-tipped boughs
Feet riffling the Autumn mounds
And you would paint for me scudding puffs of cloud against an iron sky
The heavens reaching to the far horizon
And billowing cumulus would kiss the hills
Bruised and brooding one side, cottony down the other face
Lifted in ecstasy towards the dawning sunlight
And fields of velvet ochre patched with fading green
Would beckon us on
Reckless and unfettered to tumble beside an icy burn
There to quench our unquenchable thirst
For life
For love

The Writer

God supplies the pen, our bodies, and the life giving ink, our spirit. We write the words of the story of our lives each day. Sometimes just random notes with lots of crossings out, sometimes a flowing, well structured narrative. But is good to know that the master manuscript has already been written and is stored for eternity with the One who wants only our best work to be published.

Impatience

Red Admiral butterfly

When I was a little girl I peeled the skin off chrysalises. Not to be cruel you understand, but to help the trapped little creatures escape. I watched in revulsion and fascination as the ugly crippled insects struggled and writhed, silently willing them to stretch their crumpled wings and become the beautiful butterflies I so admired.

Needless to say, they never did. I was so sure when I watched the twitching, pulsing cases that the creatures needed my help. That they were desperately trying to get free, and that my intervention would hasten their escape to a life of dazzling aerobatics.

I am nearing sixty now, and I have only just reflected on this now odd-seeming behaviour. I keenly remember coming across these dried up little packets in my shed (or somewhere equally furtive) and being spellbound when they started to move. It seemed to me cruel to leave them struggling when I could surely help them. I now know, of course, that their struggle is a necessary part of their survival.

That without tensing and pushing and building up strength, the insect cannot hope to burst through its self-constructed shell. Nor could it possibly generate the force needed to pump life-giving fluid into those huge, diaphanous wings. No, there is a process. One which is no doubt painful, and at times the creature must long to give up. But oh, the reward!

To have spent a life earth-bound. Lumpen and obtuse. A day meant for merely gorging and resting. Until a final rest overtakes it. A defeat. An almost-death.

How it must have to still itself, surrender. Let a greater force take over. And with no knowledge of how long, perhaps eternal, this sleep will be.

And then, one bright day, its rebirth arrives. A new consciousness. The sense of limbs where there previously were none. The need to extend, to break out. Tentative at first, it tests its muscle. The elasticity of the shell is too tight to begin with. But little by little, over hours and days, it can feel a rent.

Air on limbs is an encouragement. Folds of some new body part slip free. Cooling, drying, they flutter a little in the breeze. And then the real effort begins. As each pulse sends life into the fabric, a huge, and colourful, and wondrous appendage is raised. And in raising it, the creature itself is lifted. At last two very beautiful, very fragile, but very powerful new limbs elevate the creature. High. Over ground and flowers and other things never before seen. To the sky. To the sun. To the future. Aloft.

And needing no human intervention. Only time. And patience.

Disappearance

Where is the Plough? Reveal it to me now

As morning draws a veil across the sky

And did I dream Orion, brightly cinctured would remain

Whatever fiercer glare obscured my eye?

The promised Bear and maiden seemed to dominate the night

Adorned with myriad starlets they cavorted

But daylight brought their efforts to impermanence it seems

Their place in Heaven’s gateway sadly thwarted

Ah, day, sunlit bathed, illuminates my path

And yet the calls of midnight sky remain

The twinkling pinpricks hovering, just shrouded for a time

Until I gaze in wonderment again

 

Autumn Separation

At the start, we’re curled up tight, folded into ourselves

Tinged a fresh green, we are soft, formless, developing

Then, as we gently unfold, surfaces open, we reach outward

Stretched to our tips, our colour deepens, vivid

Fully flattened to absorb all light, moisture, experience

Whole and energised, extended we thrill to the breezes

Growing, glowing, nothing lacking, mature

Then, at our peak, we ripen

Our growing slows, changes, and tiny parts unseen die back

Our colour slides to golden hues, bronzes, burnished, beautiful

We sense the pull of separation yet resist, straining to our stem

Holding fiercely with our last gasp to remain attached, connected

But then, detachment

Alone we fall, spiralling, pirouetting, a golden teardrop

Yet caught, and giddy

And differently alive

Autumn’s Farewell

The dawn sky stood grey, and did I discern a pinkish blush?

Blank, unspeaking, awaiting the imprint of day

The trees, silent, poised expectant, ready to tremble at the command

And when it came, all quivered in unison, thrilling at a chilled caress

Soon, soon, they thought, a blast will strip us of our summer burdens

And we, released, will commence our departure

Not embarrassed by our nakedness

Unafraid of frigid fingers or icy breezes

For we will slip down, unperceived, a sliding withdrawal

Seeping into the core of ourselves

Tentacles retracting, liquid pooling

Deep into our warm heart

There to solidify

Centred, strong

Storm-stilled, peaceful

Awaiting