Thursday, 27 April 2017

disturbance

the claws scurrying across lino,
mousey poking at corners,
not three steps from your pillow,
disturbs like a bull charging at a gate –
which, incidentally, is what seems
to be happening in the flat below
your pacing, the racing – and when
quiet finally soothes your ears, light
peers around the edges
of the curtains.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Midweek Musing: living with – and without – applause

Sometimes these feelings arise. I don't have anything profound to say or do in response, other than to let the feelings in, listen to them, and leave the door open so they can leave again.

It seems so easy to believe I am not very good at what I do. Nominations, donations, affirmations all sparkle for a moment then (all-too-quickly) fade. The applause dies down, the lights spin round to hold another in their beam. And I am unseen.



A colleague chooses your words to speak aloud in a gathering. But friends & colleagues posting the words of any poet but you is all you feel.

Congratulations pour in for this achievement, that accomplishment, but the celebration turns to another and somehow cancels out their good opinion of you.

She takes the time to read your words, says keep that it's good, says you are doing well; but you come away still wondering, am I writing good words? Is this good enough?

You have a place in a prestigious program, have people and organisations sprinkling hundreds and thousands on the icing of your cake, to keep you where they believe you belong, but his does not bind the wounds of rejection, does not numb the sting of all those 'no's , not this time, not what we were seeking.

Invitations to speak, to publish; requests for advice and help and guidance. But still you choose to listen to the silence, hear only the absence of recognition in other corners.



How to cultivate a lasting peace, a confidence of call, an assurance of gift and worth and purpose?

How to carry the affirmation beyond the moment, so that every moment does not hold an expectation, a driving need, for more?

How to enter the joy of being, of doing, of creating, simply for their own sake, not for the acclamation of others, such a sandy base on which to build a fortress of self-esteem.

Applause is not sustainable. It will not endure. Can I wean myself off the addiction without giving up my place on the stage? Is there a way to live the rhythm of back stage invisibility so necessary before performance, and the high point of the artist's life, the reveal – ta-daa! – applause, without living for the applause?


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Praying Holy Week's Story

This week's musing is taken from Pray the Story, where I am posting prayer-poems for each day of Holy Week. Today: Beloved. 




John 13:21–35






next to his heart
I was the one to ask,
though my heart beat
quickened with not
wanting to know: who
is it, Lord? which one
of us will turn from you
in betrayal, who is it?
don’t tell me, please,
and perhaps it will
not be. he simply took
some bread, dipped
the bread, and gave
the bread to Judas.
do it quickly, Judas.
though no one else had any clue
what it was he was about
to do. he took the bread,
but left it there, uneaten,
got up and left in
silence.

next to his heart,
I fell apart inside:
something had shattered,
noiselessly between us all.
I will go soon, too, and you
will look – but can not
follow – no there, but here
you must follow these words,
please, hear them now
again. Love one another –
I love you, and you, too,
will be known by love –
look at me – please love
each other as I do.

and he looked the at the door
which was left ajar,
and we kept silence
for a long while
after

Monday, 10 April 2017

Protest

friends in Australia participated in Palm Sunday marches, and as news of violence floods our screens, relentless, I have nothing but my pen. 


I

and my friends are marching
on the underside of the world;
the plundered island,
desert dry land, marching, marching,
on the underside of the world.

and my friends are sitting
silent protests, as voters,
demanding their Members
listen to the silenced, sitting,
silent protests, voting, hoping, hoping.

and my friends are standing
on the rock, almighty fight
in peaceful non-violence, no
riots, no entrance triumphant,
standing on a rock, fighters, for peace.

and my friends are speaking,
tweeting and sharing and daring
to care for the forgotten, down-trodden,
the victims, the innocent – we are speaking
up and we dare you to ignore us.

II

don't ignore us, don't wipe us
away, discard us, we will stay
this course, will slay your dragons
of fear with our love, won't ignore
them, the Egyptians and Syrians,
the Afghani translator* who paid
like a traitor for us to betray
his service with a sentence; we
will not swipe past the faces
of fathers holding lifeless children,
will not lie down, not pipe down, not back
down; don't mistake us, non-
violent, for weak, easy, push-
overs, we will stand, we will
sit here, we will march on
the underside of the world
and bring it into the light.



* referring to Corinne Grant's speech on Q&A, Aug 2016

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Back on the road to Emmaus

Exciting news – the third of my Holy Week & Easter worship resources, Walking to Emmaus Again, is now available for download from Wild Goose Publications! 

I enjoyed collaborating with Sandy Boyce and Subtle Bricks actors 
to create this poetic and dramatic retelling of a well-loved story 
for Pilgrim Uniting Church, Adelaide, in 2014. 

I hope you enjoy recreating it in your communities. 


Pray the Holy Week Stories



The season of Lent is reaching its climax. The story of Jesus is reaching its climax. How will you finish the season, how will you enter the story this year?

Over on Pray the Story, I will be posting a prayer-poem for each day of Holy Week. For these poetic invitations to pray in response to the story, check in each day, or sign up to receive Pray the Story posts by email.
Already available for those planning worship gatherings are prayer-poems for Palm Sunday and Good Friday.

Don't forget there are some downloadable (and eminently affordable) resources for Holy Week and Easter through Wild Goose Publications, from me and from others.

Follow the tags below for thoughts I've shared here in the past on Holy Week and Easter.

And however you enter the story this coming week, may the Spirit inspire you, challenge you, and transform you.