Thursday, 15 September 2011


This one needs a little bio.

A year and a half ago my mother was rushed to surgery with a stomach anyeurism, the same night that my father had been taken into hospital for surgery. I flew back to Northern Ireland immediately, and went to the hospital to see them both. Each level in the Royal Victoria has an icon to help identify it. When I came out of the lift on my dad's floor, the first thing I stepped on was the icon - a labyrinth. Those who know me know what an important symbol that is for me, and I took it as a sign from God that - whatever might happen - it's all held in God's care. We sat by mum's bed in intensive care for weeks, and it took 6 months for her to get home. But she made it. She really is a trooper.

I wrote this during those long suspenseful days of waiting.


We cannot confine this time.
It seeps like a wound
still raw at the seams;
worn red from weeping.

We wait with the others in line
‘til sharply summoned
to enter the temple of dreams
where spent gods lie sleeping.

We study the scene for a sign
of a miracle in the round;
for we are powerless it seems
in this vigil we’re keeping.

We establish a rhythm and rhyme
to our days, but have found
that it’s useless. None of our schemes
can stem mortality’s creeping.

Our soul-ache defies anodyne.
On this course we are bound;
and yet, cradled. A symbol redeems:
the labyrinth foreshadows safe-keeping.


I’d share that moment with you if I could;
the morning sun straining through scudding cloud,
swathing the wind-scoured fields in shifting light.
And yet for all her wintery glory bright
The trees and scrawny bushes bowed
Not to her, but to another.

A gale swept in, swept clean across the coast.
And from my armchair, safe, I sensed its power
in throaty gusts that made the rafters groan
and toppled heavy plant pots – left them prone
and helpless, ‘mid spilt earth and flower.
Their squat stability undone.

The skeletons of climbing frame and swing
Keened, as raw elemental air raced through;
shuddering with the strain of staying still.
The lengthening grass preferred to bend, its will
less hardened; rippling like the blue
green sea that swells beyond the dunes.

Strangely moved, I sat transfixed and silent,
breathing shallow lest the spell be broken.
Embraced in peace, when outside all was rage
I lost myself in wonder for an age,
knowing truth was being spoken
in words no ear could understand,

but heart could fathom. The unrepentant
wind was chiding; calling all who live too tame
to wildness. Not to shush the soul’s long sighs
to sleep, but send them skirling through the skies,
airborne, breath-born. Given a name.
Lifted, like a child’s giddy kite.

I’d share that moment with you, but it’s gone.
Swept off on that same breeze to who knows where.
Yet traces linger; a yearning for more
of all that we call life. I slid the door
and stepped into the swirling air
where dry leaves danced in ecstasy.

Monday, 26 October 2009


I amble through this life anaesthetised;
benumbed by duty. All that must be done
saps strength, dulls desire. I once disguised
this shambling; but Lord, let those days be gone.
Sweet Spirit, purge the torpor from my veins,
and get me moving, living, once again.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Timeless Wonder

Fool I am to think that time is ever mine.
It is my master; at least 'til new life's dawn.
I seethe at wasted moments, stood in line,
Forgetting they were never mine to own.
So hear the truth: though days pass slow or swift,
Each second comes to us as purest gift.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


The green sea swells around my little boat
Which bows forlornly with each new wave's rise.
It's restless; simply asked to stay afloat
and bear the water's slap and captain's sighs.
And here they'll linger, 'til he finally sees
Without a sail, you cannot catch the breeze.

Back In The Saddle

Hi folks,

Here I am nearly a year-and-a-half after my last entry and still none the wiser. I am beginning to think this is the story of my life.

I am of that generation which now finds it quite sore to write with a pen for more than a few lines because we're so out of practice, so I'm back online to work out my stuff as and when I can. This is for me, not for you, but bless you for stopping by now and again to check my temperature and make me a cup of hot sweet tea.

I also have a sermon blog called Seven Songs. When I work out how to link it properly, I'll put it on the side.....

Friday, 30 May 2008

So long, farewell....

There's a sad sort of clanging
from the clock in the hall
And the bells in the steeple too
And up in the nursery an absurd little bird
Is popping out to say "cuckoo"

Regretfully they tell us
But firmly they compel us
To say goodbye . . .
. . to you.

(raises hand in final salutation before scratching backside through chafing lederhosen)

Dear friends,

I've been feeling for some time that I need a wee break from blogging to re-think why I am doing it.

Who am I writing for?

If it's me, then I think the blog is not best serving my needs.
If it's others, then there are precious few listening and I might be better to lose my anonymity and open up to wider circulation within my church and parish.

Whatever; I think I hoped for more community out of this, and perhaps these feelings are God's way of saying I need to seek that out elsewhere. That is very much a part of the Slow Work I need to be about.

Despite that, Liz, Anna, Carla and Paul, I really appreciate having read you (and will continue to do so), and wish you God's blessing in life. Thanks for calling by and sharing part of the journey with me. You have been funny, wise and supportive companions.

Don't think of this as goodbye;
more of "adieu, adiueu, to you and you and you".