Saturday, 1 May 2010

The Son of God Goes Forth to War

Underappreciating Grey

Grey is the problem child at school,
because he doesn’t get along with the other kids.
The one told to wait in the corner, face the wall,
pull his socks up and think about his actions.

Grey is the forgotten old man in the nursing home,
who when feeling feisty refuses to put his morning teeth in,
and longs to tells you stories about how he single-handedly
captured a German town in World War Two.

Grey is the fat kid always left on the bench,
yet when alone in his back yard can do a thousand
kick ups, and is waiting to set the soccer ball alight
with his fiery boot, and a hole straight through the net.

Grey is the girl who had braces all four years of high-school,
yet when she sings with her voice like rushing wind,
every single hair on my neck stands on its feet,
ready to scream and shout and clap.

Forgive me if skip quickly by the exhibition
with the dolphins and the elephants,
and choose to linger a little while in the room with
the street signs and the office staplers and the concrete.

I pretend to muse to myself something
about the ordinary than the extraordinary. Yet,
in reality all I know is this: if you really must go
to Florida and swim with the dolphins,
you will always need grey concretes roads to get you there,
and grey metal road signs to stop you from getting lost.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Blank White Sheet

I long for the weight of this blank white sheet,
A field as yet unsown, to be lifted from my shoulders.
I pry back every rib of my confined heart
To seek what hides in its depths.

I mount the wind as it blows across the field,
Before it leaves, a train without its passengers,
The stops ahead each slowly descending slopes
To find a rodeo bull caged in his stall.
I clamber up his side and we wrestle
Until our words are written in the dust.

I will scream at the top of my lungs,
As my small fingers brush the crop of new summer wheat,
Leaving as I run muddy footprints
All over this blank white sheet.

(Thank You to my beautiful soon-to-be-wife for helping me craft this one).

Friday, 9 April 2010

The English Hillside (A Resurrection Poem)

The contours of His grace in hills reside,
In rock and pool and sky earth’s beasts abide.
Down watered crag creased streams tumble and roll,
By rounding hills and boot clad feet they stroll.
The thumping feet downward the dirt firm tread,
As strong winds buffet, turning white cheeks red.

What once deemed good by Word now dragged below,
At peak or depth eyes catch no glimpse of woe.
A mountain’s slumber hidden from our stare,
Its mottled face in time suspended there.
A bruise upon the face of cool cracked earth,
From high cast down by tree brings life of curse.

In valley low humbled eyes will yet see,
This Word wrought scene show forth His majesty.
His hands no path or lake or crag erase,
While men the lines of stony hills they trace.
These mighty mounds of splendour will awake,
When earth and sky meet in more glorious fate.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Our high school transgression - 2

When worn upon a man, there is something about the beard, which can be both your best friend and your worst enemy. On the one hand they conjure up the happy countenances of grey grandfathers and fireside fables and hard candy. Yet, on the other, they enable even the sternest of men to sore even higher- with seeming ease I might add - in the upper stratospheres of effective childhood punishment.

Why do I speak of these matters, you ask?

It was upon the face of our head teacher, a most fierce and frothy beard resided. It was the most oppressive of beards a school boy could lay his not so innocent eyes upon, and it was from behind this lion’s mane, our judge recounted detail for detail the pitiable story of our transgression Timings he knew; details he knew; exact whereabouts, all of these with teacher-like precision he knew. I would not be surprised if he had known the color of the clothes on our backs, or the number of freckles on our faces, or, the exact planetary positioning of the moon in the sky that night. The judge , the sole decider of our young adolescent fate sentenced us to the most cruel and fitting of punishments.

A letter.

A simple letter of apology was all that was required of our guilty hands. For a crime so personal however, a crime so mischievous, a crime which tells the story of every young boy, nothing could be more appropriate.

Our high school transgression

His voice snatched my conscience in mid air. Out of a group of two hundred, six remained. We lined up like suspects against the prison wall. Except we weren’t suspects. Not one who was amongst was innocent. We were guilty. All of us…very guilty.

We took our seats upon the school bench. It was hard. At least it felt hard, like we’d been sat there for hour already. It had been thirty seconds…maybe a minute. Time meant nothing anymore. Until our sentence was over, here we would remain. Our adolescent knees thrust high up in our faces. The ends of our pants far beyond our ankles. We were tall, and the bench was low to the ground.

My fingers were firmly fastened against the underside of the bench. My knuckles white, unlike my conscience. That was far from white now, it was more black. Or maybe a dark. Grey, like the storm that was about to ensue.

The judge approached the bench, letting us marinade in our own guilt and shame. He didn’t speak. He didn’t need to speak, but we knew he would. He just watched, not uttering a sound.

His words etched themselves into my very bones. Through my skin and through my flesh. “You boy’s know why you are here, don’t you?” We didn’t reply. We didn’t say even a word. He spoke again, and no reply we gave him. The tension had stolen our tongues, like the moment of our transgression had stolen our consciences.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Out of the darkness...

This particular section I enjoyed in Peter Leithart's book House for My Name. He is discussing the contrast of light v dark in the Johannine gospel.

He draws a parallel between living in the dark as the living under the old covenant administration, and living in the light as embracing the new. Usually the assumption is made that walking in the darkness means that you are some way not saved, and you are far away from God. For those in the old covenant that may well be the case, but it is certainly not true for all people. There were those that walked in the dark who still knew God, but that needed now to step out into the light. This is the problem John is addressing here.

"But how are the Jews 'darkness'. The reminders of creation help us see what John means. Light and darkness are used in John 1 in the same way as they are used in Genesis 1. In Genesis 1 darkness is not evil. God separates light and darkness and still says both are good. Darkness is a part of creation; it is what comes before dawn. Since darkness comes before light, it is like the Old Testament period. It is good in itself, but the old covenant darkness is always intended to be temporary. It is supposed to last only until the light comes, until day begins. The sin of the Jews is not living in the darkness. Before the light comes, that is only thing they can do. Their sin is to cling to the darkness when the light has come. The sin is for darkness to seek to overpower the Light, instead of giving way to the Light. The sin is to love shadows rather than the reality."