Monday, 30 June 2014

James 3 verse 1

If you have stared into the abyss
And the abyss has stared back
If you have peered again
There starting on your way
Following all that you love;
Then I will listen to you.

If in the pursuit of your dreams
You have cowered under the gaze of despair
But risen again
To fall again to rise again
Knowing that one day you will
Stare into its eyes
And see your hunter become your prey.
Then I will share your dreams

If your journey takes you 
Anywhere nearer
To the weak,wounded
Broken hearted,betrayed sinners,
And Saviour,I will walk with you.
                   If not.
                   Hold your peace
                   Keep your dreams
                   And go your way.  
                                                 Wilf    12/2002

Stories in need of a happy ending

1. The Charcoal Man

Who am I? What is my permanence?
I am etched in charcoal
On a board that everyone else owns
They have smudged and rubbed 
                 nudged and dubbed
                 judged and snubbed all that I am
In favour of what they want
Whoever I am now
I am their product.

2. Nearly

He's much like everyone else-unique,
Underneath the adhesions of his own choices
Which made him like everyone else.

You can tell someone who has killed himself
But not if they nearly did.
In a desert that only they feel
There are mirages that only they see
A palm full of pills,
A razor hovering over the wrist,
A gun neatly placed in the mouth.
And if he'd done it he could haunt all those
Who caused him so much pain.
But as it is he haunts himself, you see it sometimes
In his eyes
And he's not like anyone else, he's unique
And he's made his own choices.
                                                   Wilf   07/2003 
    

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Mid life

We are not old
We have not lived the years given to us
We have acknowledged them
But we have not embraced them
We have been their passengers
Not their lovers.

We are weary 
Yet we have not gone very far
We have not sailed the thousand seas
We would not brave the terror of their waves
So we do not know the secrets
Of the lonely and far distant isles.

We have not climbed so high
As to see the impossible blooms
Pushing out of the rocks they have split
To be kissed and to kiss the mountain sun.

Then where have we been?
For we are weary.

Throughout the years that we have not lived
We have hidden the memory
That once we dreamed shimmering dreams
And walked a magic road
So we scorn those who do
And we laugh,yes but we yearn....

What are we?
We defend ourselves in public
"We are not old"
We attack ourselves in secret
"We are too old"
Well if we are then our hope is gone.

But we are not too old,
We are not old enough
We are too young and we need to learn
How to become old
Old with sea journeys
Old with mountains
Old with wisdom that comes 
By embracing our days like seasoned lovers
Then the dream and the dreamer will shimmer again
And we will walk the magic road
Guided by a single star
For here there are no footprints.
                                                        Wilf  07/2003 

Intercession (1)

Did you think that intercession was awfully spiritual?
When it comes in gasps
Like a woman in labour?
When its sighs rise from your guts
With the sharpness of broken glass?

And what do you think about being
The salt of the earth?
Is that spiritual?
Or is it your sweat and tears 
Pouring out over things you may never understand?

Strange:
           When the mind is in anguish
           The body knows what to do
           And God needs it to intercede
           As he needed His, and yes
           It is awfully spiritual.
                                                       Wilf  08/2003
            




The Place where no one goes

This place can not be found
But love may lead you here.
You'll know when you've arrived,it's cold
Jumper-in-summer bone cold
And though you are here to warm this place
You won't feel it if you do.

It is lonely here
Because you are only really here 
When you face the right way, 
Millions live here like tortured ghosts
All going the wrong way
So by the rules of this place,you are alone
Alone with the cries and the scrape of chains
Alone with a world of ghosts.

So why do you come? Away from the halls of joy
To this house of grief.
Oh following the Man-He's here,kind of,well very
This is one of his places
And you have come,some of you 
You who can not bear to leave Him alone
(Where did that feeling come from?)
Has love sent you mad?
Well why not? Mad or not you'll be with him
You'll be afraid as He was afraid
You'll be hurt as He was hurt
But none of this will stop you
For you must come here-some of you
To sigh and gasp and weep
If you want to know its name,that is known by many
But understood by few
It is prayer
This place of grief and ghosts should never have been
So pray that it becomes
A place where no one goes
                                          Wilf         08/2003

  

The man inside

There is the man that you see
And the other that is me:
I am the prisoner and the cage
The subduer and the rage
I am the weeper and the keeper,
The fool at the mercy of the sage
                                                      Wilf  11/2003

The Unstoppable

Poetry ought to be dead by now
After all,God's dead.
The human spirit,the muses
Even truth,beauty,courage and honour 
They're all dead these days
Philosophers,psychologists and all who know best,
They've all said,"Dead".
And as for the bloke in the bar
Who spouts long and loud after a jar 
Or a few
He said,"Dead" too.

So why is it that sometimes everything seems to stop
And the pattern hidden beneath is revealed?
Why does this mysterious familiar tide
Well up within?
Why does "It" whatever it  is
Demand your attention and your toil
Until it is given a form ,a body
So that it can live outside of you?
This part of you which must escape to live?
Very strange.

Oh, and it will live;it will struggle and kick like a baby.
You will be like a woman in labour.
       Cause it to be born
       And you both will be free.
       Deny it birth and
       Part of you will die.

Even the creative block
Is not an obstacle but an anvil
Upon which you and your thoughts
Are to be beaten out and shaped.

Only you can stop the unstoppable
From rising and forming in you.

But even if you do and you dismiss the muses 
As quirks of a psychological shadowland
They will not be silenced
Even if you prove there are no ghosts
You will not stop this haunting,

      You can refuse to be a prophet
      But the prophecy will find another voice.
      The poem will find another hand
      To hammer out its rhymes
      If you try to stop the unstoppable.
                
                                                           Wilf 10/2004  

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Sadness

Sadness,so long my companion,
You were there at the close of every day
When all other voices fell silent.
When battles were won,
And all the cheering done,you were there.

After prayers were said,
And the presence of God flowed and ebbed
It was you who stayed,the grey ground of my being.
You seemed to survive the very cross of Christ,

Little did I know that in His pursuit of me
God was cutting every sinew,nerve and root of sadness
One by one by one
Now it has gone
It died as silently as it lived
And just as secretly;sadness,so long.
                                                            Wilf 10/2004  

Burning Down

Down
In the places
Where dark fire smoulders
Down
Among the roots and dirt
And secret crawling things that hold us 
Down
        It has come down
        Even in these places
        The silent flame burns.
Do not be surprised that the divine seduction
Has found this place and filled it 
With its virgin fire,
For all things are made beautiful
In the Lord's time.
                                               10/2004

Mid Journey

After all the words are spoken
By the tongues of all the wise
Silence comes:the word ,the meaning,
Wisdom that cannot be framed or contained-You.

Your mysterious beauty surpasses all senses-You
No longer condescending to satisfy immature desires
So,they must rise and seek the impossibly unsearchable
In a darkness that love does not see
And which faith knows is filled with You,
The One to whom I am ever joined.

When one day the morning comes
To reveal You in your splendour,I shall be here
For love bears all things,even You!
And I cannot give up my search.

I do not know how I know what I know
But I know what I know is You,
Jesus,Father,Spirit of life.
The One to whom my soul cleaves in love.

                                                                 Wilf 03/2005   



Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The ending

The day finishes unfinished
Our earlier choices and unchoices 
Must have made it so
We came so far and no further
Leaving the end of the day empty
And me
Lonely.
We had failed in some way
And nothing could be done
But if You come now at the end
Even if  You change nothing 
All will be well
                                              Wilf 06/2014

Storm

It's cold.
No warmth in me no fire from God
It's lonely.
Me here and Him there somewhere 
Busy with the universe.
I'm cold and lonely among the mountains
That He hasn't removed
And there are storms here as I rage against Him
Oh God.

When I can't shout or swear any more
I see that life is still the same,I am driving my car
The bins will need sorting out when I get home
People everywhere will still need kindness
And the words of Jesus still hold true
I'm sorry Lord, 

Sometime later I realise Your peace has come 
Peace beyond all understanding
Not because is it so blissfully vast
(Though I have known that)
But because it really shouldn't be 
Where I am
Father thankyou.
                                                   Wilf 06/2014

The Words

The words
So simple,so small and unadorned
They could not possibly hide 
Any great meaning
Except
The pattern and plan
Of someone so simple so pure
He could be known
Through one word 
                                         Wilf 06/2014

To the Strong

There are those who 
look strong,
Either because they have never faced a battle,
Or because they are afraid of showing who they really are
Then there are those who
Are strong
If that is you I'm glad
Because I need you to let me see
The weakness that makes you 
Cry out to God
Then I will know 
There is hope for me
Because I shrink when I see
A steely stainless soul
So show me what you are
When you've fallen in the darkness,
How your childhand reaches up
And is taken by the hand of God
Then I will know there is a way 
Out of my hell.
If you are worried about helping me
I have to say,you will have to go a long way
You will get dirty and hurt
It will be exhausting
You'll wonder if I'm worth it
You'll wonder if God's worth it
But at the end you will realise
You'd do it a thousand times
That's because you are strong

                                                Wilf 06/2014   

Monday, 16 June 2014

From not Fitting

                             From not fitting
                                To fitting
                   Long journey over no distance.
                             From not finding 
                                To finding
                Mountains,river crossings,storms
            From the coast of the shoreless ocean
                      To the drowning in love 
                                Not short
                                Not long
                                Not easy 
                                Not hard
                               Not simple 
                              Not complex
                                Not this
                                Not that
                          The hand of God.
                                                            Wilf 04/2005
                       I was reading a lot of Ruysbroek when I wrote this,and I'm not sure I                                                   know what I was getting at!
             

A Machine Called Martha

1
"I'm looking forward to the future-
The next minute will do as
This one is too full of things already
There is no room for me to live in it
So I must rush into the next one and stake my claim
Before anything else gets there
Then I'll really be able to live"

"I've been saying that for years
But everything rushes in and pushes me out
Perhaps if I go faster....but no it doesn't work
They are always there,the things that fill my time
They have stolen my life moment by moment
For when I look back there is nothing there"

"I don't know who orders me do these things
Or why I obey
But they rush into my future to fill it before I get there
So when it is the present,it is not mine
Perhaps if I go faster....."

2 (Martha contemplates contemplation)

"Perhaps I'll start....... just a little
Now that I'm not too afraid of nothing filling my moments.
Maybe I could live with just me being there
The me that's not very good at being me
I guess I'm afraid of facing who me is,or isn't
I wonder if we'd get on?
I'm scared as well that God wouldn't be there
Or that He would!
Would we get on in that chasing stillness that I fear.
I know about things, but not Him
Would He come?
He said he would, but I don't know."

3 (Postscript much later.)

Christianity is ok.
But
It's not as good
As the real thing.
                                                         Wilf 04/2005   





Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Rupert and the Man in the Garden

Do you remember? The meadows and the woods
So charming and ordinary,but so magical
Where a small bear tumbled into other worlds
Through secret gates and holes and hills.

It would be impossible to make a map of Nutwood
For just when you thought you knew its nooks
Round a corner,
Under a stone,
Behind a tree,was the way into another realm
Which just wasn't there before,
And tomorrow may be gone.
Ah,my heart aches as I look back
But as the song says;
"Sometimes a light surprises a christian as he sings"
Or prays,and sometimes the gate into another world 
By dark inscrutible ways.

The spiritual journey and the geography of Nutwood
They are just the same
And a room can become the gateway to heaven
Or the arena of some mortal combat of the soul
But tonight everything has shrunk away and
I realise with great reluctance 
As faith unsuspectingly follows love.....
         Far far away common sense is shouting out
         But the heart knows in its timid willful
         God fearing,wanting way
         That in this small room as I pray
         A gate has opened into a garden
There,a man is crying almost 
To the point of madness.
I hardly dare admit it,for fear of being profane 
But I feel his pain,
I know I must go to him
In the crazy knowledge that though I am no angel
I who have nothing must
Minister to the Saviour in his need
Just an arm around His shoulder
A listening ear,all I have.

Gethsemane: The time will come again and many times 
I know,when she will call forth my will
To be surrendered on God's altar.
But for now I must lay down my so called humility 
Which here and now is just natural demuring
Because I must remain in this place
Where I do not belong
This is His place and his time
Only love would dare to remain sharing God's grief
Of which no one is capable of worthy
And I feel more like that small bear than the mystics
Who spoke of such things
But,
We are not characters from a book
Nor mere angels who can only serve;
We are made in the image of God
And right now He needs a friend.
                                                     Wilf 06/2005

Thursday, 5 June 2014

The River Borne

The jewels that dance by day
Upon the river's skin
Are flashfast and springy,
But by night they steal
Slow and soft as poured silver
As they pore ponderously over
The secret schemes
Moving beneath the darkened stream.

The secret schemes-the means,
Answers to the reckless prayers
Of those who care so much,
But do not care so much about the means
Or the cost of what is gained or what is lost
In finding all they hope and pray;
The river by night is the only way.

At night the river has a mysterious grace
Weaving liquid sinews under the rushing face
Forming unseen muscles
Which flex and grip and brace
With the current's heady motion
Ever holding, ever speeding 
The river borne in its commotion.
Ever moulding, ever kneading
The brave and reckless ready for the ocean.

They are passing, passing, passing by
The halfly hid and twinkling lights
Peeping from the lush green fringes of the banks.  
Homely tunnels and windows
Of contented cozy creatures
Curled up with cocoa and crumpets
Creaking on comfy settles
By their crackling fires.
The cuddly and respectable residents 
Of the river bank prepare for bed
With nightcap and candle.
Creatures of myth?
But to these the river borne are a myth
And a horror
As they slap fast their shutters 
To keep out all evidence.
For when they pass by night ghosts are awakened
Ghosts of  dead dreams moaning in their chains
But there is hope in this haunting
The dead may live again
To fight and laugh with holy joy 
And even join the river borne
In their journey to the sea.

On and on it flows
Regal and majestic now,slow
But with the power of a conquering monarch.
The vast valley is silent
Before its ancient shaper-
The waters that break before they break
Stone and earth.

Then the gentle laps and waves
That greet the sea
And the river borne
Broken and birthed into eternity.

The estuary is a no man's land
Of mud and mist and marshes
The river's fingers meandering
Over the sinking sand softness.
Here the only safety is surrender to the river
(Even in the whitest rapids this was always true)

Now the river shimmers almost shy
Over upon the place between places.
Its work will soon be done
As its waters meet the waves
That will bear the river borne away.
The fish will be in the sea
But the sea will finally be in the fish
As they speed on as one great shoal
Into a quickening sunrise.
                                                      Wilf    08/2005 


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Something that has never happened

Something that has never happened before:
You.
But be careful
You may not really happen at all
It happens a lot
You may just be happened upon
You know,by life, or rather
By what happens while life passes by unnoticed
So be be careful,well no 
Don't be careful
Then you might stand a chance.
It happens,
Sometimes.                                    
                                                                              Wilf 11/2005