Wednesday, December 25, 2013

White Christmas

Christmas morning sparkles 
white - the early light 
shines in eucalyptus crowns.

Christmas in Exodus


Christmas in Exodus
Ancient Israel’s priestly garments are described in Exodus 39


How like a Christmas tree
the costume Moses made
for Aaron and his kin
resplendent top to end
with "Holy to the Lord".

Decorated bright
four rows of coloured lights
aflame with amethyst and beryl.
By emerald and by sapphire see
a lace of golden filigree.

Long strands of scarlet twist
wound round are streamers
blue and purple dyed, above
where pomegranate baubles hang
with tinkling bells beside.

Attached where chains of gold
on branching epaulets
are onyx lit, are text engraved
with names of twelve boys born
in ancient times to father Israel.

Sons and the sons of sons
shouldered as aleph ox is yoked
like servant King who bears the load
both priest and sacrifice for comers late
fresh grafted to the tree of life.

Atop the tree a turban star blooms 
from a gilded crown that signs afar 
oh holy night, the Lord has come.
Rejoice, rejoice you grafted men
come see your Maker near the inn.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Table


Our dining table is
five Celery Top Pine planks rubbed
with Danish oil to a hard finish
where sit two queens of Narnia
ages three and four
arrayed in op shop glory
at the feast of Kingdom Come.

From where I sit I see
the table’s end grain
in tight rings, calligraphy
serving sylvan poetry, line by line
a lyric for each passing year.

Years before I fitted them with legs
these five planks were a door
hung in our house
where passed in and out
two kings of Narnia
ages three and six
a door left always open
like the messianic portal
until, at last, the feast is set.

Long before I hung the door in place
with cross brace 
like the letter χ for Christ
it was a forest seed
ascending year by patient year
to toss at last a leafy crown
above the canopy.

Stellar the trajectory
from first awakened seed
to prince among trees
whose heart rings 
with an echo
in the canopy of stars
fractal of
galactic growth rings receding
outward by years
measured in speeding light
back and back
to singularity.
To seed of seeds.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sign of Jonah


Lamport Hall, near the Northamptonshire village of Old, possesses
a cabinet with  paintings from the story of Jonah.

In the land
there sits a town
            a small town
            an old town
and near that town
there stands a house
            a high house
a grand house
and on that house
there hangs a crest
            “in passing things
            no glory rests”
and in that house
an oaken chest
            a tall chest
            a painted chest
and in the paint
there swims a fish
            a dark fish
            a great fish
and in that fish
there kneels a man
a stranded man
a wounded man
and in that man
there bleeds a heart

for that which
tears the world apart
a large heart
a God heart
for that which
tears a man apart.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Father's Day


Father’s Day

We’ve had some bleak times
money related, depression prompted
just overwhelmed by the daily grind I suppose
times like most of us know.

Children still at home
I used to find little yellow sticky notes
when I opened my wallet
or under the lid of the tin
when I put tea leaves in the pot
or on my pillow
when I pulled back the spread.

I love you dad they said.

Be encouraged dad.

We’ll make it dad.

Remembering those little notes
will turn any day
into father’s day for me.
Little notes transformed by a child’s love
an alchemy that turns yellow paper into gold leaf.


Abba is Hebrew for daddy.
A few years ago I heard a small Israeli boy
on the street call out to his daddy abba abba
like, right out of the Bible.
Abba forgive them for they know
not what they do, said the God/man
Jesus as he hung bleeding
from his hands and his feet
so that us forgiven fathers can say abba too.
Post-it note to Abba:
Thank you dear God.

Abba, abba, daddy, daddy.

I, the image bearer, sharer
Father-in-heaven pointer
with forefinger wavering
extended toward heaven
but badly smeared with the gunk of my ego
my self preoccupation.
Post-it note to Abba:
Father forgive me.

Father, me, toggled by grace
called to be a God parable
for the little boy
and girl who hear my
careless words
and see my selfish acts
and somehow love me still
and God knows how
see some dim echo of the father of us all
and come to love him too.
Post-it note to Abba:
Thanks for the miracle.

And as time creeps across the calendar
years, and days I’ve squandered
spendthrift preoccupied spending
less with the little ones
than I presumed to imagine
but they with sincerity thank me
for all the times they had with dad
the walks and the reading aloud on the couch
and afternoons at the beach
and I post my note to Abba thankful
for returning the days
that the locusts had eaten.

So now the little running feet are my children’s
children and I see with joy their fathers’ attentive love
as they, I recognise with moistened eyes
rise to a father's high calling
with generosity and joy
and I pray that they
and fathers everywhere
will be warriors, valiant for truth
wise men with worthy words
respecters of women
courageous men with strength to fight
a tidal wave of evil cresting as popular good
attentive men who listen
to the intent of each small voice and hold it
in the hands of their heart like leaves of gold.

Sticky note to Abba:
Thanks for letting me be a dad.



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Southern Cross


Southern Cross

hubris n. insolence stemming from excessive pride
agape n. altruistic love

Australian hubris
is not American loud,
Chinese imperious
Or braggadocio Italian.

Australian hubris is tall poppy aware
gives off self effacing signals
embeds alongside genuine indications
of care for the bloke next door
whose partner has just emptied the bank account
and left with all the kids.

Hubris tussles with agape
that selfless sort of love
that can get a man crucified.

Agape gets short shift
in the back stabs of political ambition
in the climb through the scaffolding
of corporate architecture
in the cosmetically enhanced media
minion of the culture of me.

But for all that, agape will out.

See the one who left his agape mark
at the intersection of poverty and power
a crossroads looking
for all the world
like a crucifixion.