Manna on the Ground

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You can listen below.  All responses happily received.

Very proud to sit under this man’s teaching today. Well done @martinnoutch

A photo posted by @chezadamos on

 

Ash Wednesday

The ash still marks my forehead like a bruise,

So rare, this imposition of a state

Quite unlike everyday, preoccupied

By plans and hurried patchings of short time.

A foretaste of a heavenly banquet’s mine –

Indeed, for as I chewed the bread, sipped wine,

I had no other thoughts at all, just hope,

Pure gratitude and joy, joy still and cold

Like shining crystal in a dirty rock.

That is the flavour of the awaited feast –

The freedom from the guilt and daily fear

Of failing tomorrow’s contracted tasks,

Of wasting the chances to write and to keep…

I have no fear of death, he said, but, ah,

To fail!  A thing I have not known, and fear.

I’ve loved to hear Charles Gordon saying that

For all so many years, since still a boy

I saw that desert city burnt, attacked,

Feluccas swarm across the Nile, close-packed

With jibbah-clad jihadists, Gordon stand

Calm and clear of conscience, ready to die

To prove his point.  How dangerous a film!

But I cannot deny it feeds my heart

And so proves that ideas, when acted well,

And scored with mystic themes, pearl-satin skies,

The bittersweet melodies of wanting,

Yes, ideas can outlast the very stars,

For supernovas have exploded since

The pyramids, the Hadrian wall, some books,

Some towns, some very buildings, all of that!

And deserts have advanced across the plains

Since ancients wrote down recipes for thrush

In honey, piglet cooked in brine with herbs.

Much longer then will last self-sacrifice

When isolated in a parched, dry town.

The dust of all the desert, dust of sin,

Can’t choke the throat the spirit wants to loose

And when I sang in worship, welcoming

The news of Easter, still a long walk hence,

I sang despite the dust surrounding me.

Valentine

The first of many days of Lent,

A walk of indecisive hopes

That fall and flutter, telescopes

Can pick out figures where time went.

 

One moment I have heart to dream,

Then crush it, sentencing my step

To be man’s mark on barren steppe,

And lose my sight of what I seem.

 

The promise of another task,

The light of distant island shore,

A flock of child-like bird adore

And ask the questions children ask;

 

Why does the sea lap up the rock?

The shapes the cliffs make, do they change?

If I walk west, where will I range,

And when return?  Who times the clock?

 

The desperate, half-mocked chance to care –

I didn’t really let the card

Imprinted with a kiss regard

My face’s puzzlement – just there –

 

I stood it on a shelf as if

I understood its sending, sent,

I understood all that she meant

Because I’ve fathomed motive’s glyph.

 

All characters are now to me

Like people populaced in books,

Their eyes give wary or vacant looks,

They seek to conquer, or to be free.

 

Reducing all my colleagues, friends,

And new acquaintances to parts

I vastly undervalue hearts

And so my hope in people ends.

 

Up jumps a hope, and then it drops,

And day by day or eve by eve

I wipe my tears on my sleeve

And harvest sadness with these crops.

 

I know too much, yes that I know

And would be glad, surrendering

The rush of teaching’s rendering

Of people, for the chance to go

 

And live for nothing else but this,

Grass and sand and seagulls’ cries,

Peatsmoke stinging bleary eyes,

Words that heal with their kiss.