Grown Up


I mean, am I actually,
Really competent at anything?
How does it feel to be a grown up?
To know, I mean really know,
That you’re not bluffing,
That you have a handle,
That you know how to read the map the right way round?
To navigate the maze and treat
All things in the proper way they deserve–
Tell me–will I ever master anything?
I keep hearing about potential,
But what good is it if it’s never realised?
Is authority–the right to speak and have others listen–
Just on the other side of that door?
I mean, I fear the floundering,
The floating through the world and
Doing nothing hitherto undone,
And of being content with that.
I’ve only got a couple dozen thousand days
To become someone!
But who am I becoming?
How am I becoming?
Through what means will I become this
Man you say I am?
I want it.
I don’t want to bluff.
I can’t afford to.
Maybe the world can’t afford me to.
I’m just sick of being pretty good at most things
And above average in others–
I want to excel.
I want to grow up.

10 April 2015


Bereaved of My Own Grandeur


That moment your holy laughter rose,
When I recognised the sound,
When I knew it was that old mirth.
It was that same bellow of joy
That once stirred.
It was the laughter that broke the sadness,
It was the laughter that lifted the cloak
That lifted the sadness and inhabited.
It’s back.
A voice I longed to hear but
Whose sweet tones I had almost forgotten.
Too soft, too subtle, too strong.
Unshakeable, gentle steel.
You’re welcome.
I’ll take my shoes off.
I wouldn’t want to traipse the mud and dust in.
I am nothing, nothing.
What can I clasp to in such a presence?
How could I endure?
What use is my mask?
My pretension? My make-believe?
When the light penetrates.
Unhidden. Laid bare.
Bereaved of my own grandeur
For I stand before yours.

22 January 2016




On an argument.

A child, an impudent child,
Mad at not getting my way,
Or a hurt,
Or I don’t know what.
In truth, my real offence evades me,
Spiralling, I’ve lost the thread
That was tethered to righteous indignation.
I can’t be sure it was ever tied.
I once had a right,
Now I can’t even remember.
I want to feel like I have a right to be me,
But do I?
Did I give that away in my vow
To be one with you?
My mind and heart know that this is already conferred,
So why do I take up arms?
Why insist on taking offence from one who
Unfailingly means me well?
But look at me, look at me,
Haven’t I been unselfish?
Haven’t I been putting you first?
Why don’t you do the same?
Was it all a rouse?
Was I quietly and piously manipulating?
I don’t think, or at least I hope earnestly, not,
And yet, how pure, clear and unsullied can I
Ever prove my motives to be?
I should give and expect nothing in return,
If it is unrequited, what is that to me?
You, do your duty son,
And remember your own wisdom appears
Much less virtuous from up here.
Remember me, remember in the midst,
Bring me there and let me in,
Stop wishing your destruction,
Let me be the strength and let me
Take the offence.
That’s the kind of rock I am.

28 January 2015


Am I Building My Babel?

On a hope deferred.

Am I building my Babel?
Brick upon brick
Constructing an edifice
Of my own achievement,
A monument, a stairway
Ascending by the effort of my own might.

Am I building my Babel?
A ziggurat or articulate
Profound, impressive thought,
Words are it’s stones,
Thoughts it’s mortar,
The materials with which a man
Makes his mark on the universe,
Though veneered with a sparkling
Coat of praise,
A dialect which aggrandises the speaker
And not the Subject.

Am I building my Babel?
Am I building my Babel?

Am I building my Babel?

Unawares, an effort to reach heaven
Which in truth tries to
Become it’s equal.

May this tower be decimated.

Am I destroying my Babel?
Am I rebuilding Jerusalem?

January 2013

Poetry, Reflection

To Those Who’ll Listen


To a friend.

What a flimsy raft is the unexamined life,
A well unplumbed,
A feast uneaten,
How can eyes be ajar and yet not see,
Or ears be hollow but fail to reverberate?
I wish I could whisper to your desires,
‘There is more. Much more.’
But my thoughts cannot be your thoughts,
For they inhabit different pages in a different book,
But still I long,
I long to edge open the door’s beaming light
And gently lead you into the dance.
But who am I?
Just another blind man learning
What shapes and colours must be like,
A proud one at that,
With hints of a patronising paternalism,
Is this an abundance of redundances?
Are my words spent like evaporated dew?
I have to give what I can,
And trust, yes grasp- to Faith,
That a human heart can be tenderised,
That willingness can be sown,
But in the process I feel the solitude,
Of one who sees a tapestry in every fleeting glimpse,
Who hears a heartbeat in the footsteps and machines,
But whose fellows seem content to
Lick the icing, but never…

Words are like a gift,
In language I create very near ex-nihilo,
And so,
Together with the one who calls,
I join in the song and
Sing to those who’ll listen.

27 September 2014

Poetry, Reflection, Theology

Where Feet and Wings Once Fleeted

A theological reflection in poetry.

There is a shapeless face which stretches
Itself across the earth,
Mysterious and magnetic,
Turned to and fro by powers unearthly,
It’s shades and contours defy the mind,
Shifting its structures unpredictably,
Not to be contained,
And yet it must,
For by its filling we and all around us live,
Utterly unique yet completely indispensable,
Our relationship is strained both by too much
Or too little contact,
We must ourselves be contained by its rigid fluidity,
Finding both our greatest delight and terror
In the same countenance,
The rich seek to see you,
Body and all,
To gaze upon your beauty- always safely at a distance,
While the poor would be happy with
But a lock of your hair,
But our desires are naive-
No, vain.
For even a touch of your finger
Could decimate our edifices,
You cannot be tamed nor plumbed,
Nor will you obey our command
We are foolish to attempt to capture the beauty,
As if it could be possessed,
But this is our problem:
We want beauty we can keep,
And use,
And pet,
Little aware that this soft face could destroy us.
We want to chart and measure and quantify,
To have a mystery we can fully explain,
But we must be content,
Humble enough to sit
Where the feet and wing once fleeted.

9 September 2014


I Asked For a Dream


I feel that cry of eternity in my heart,
It’s an impulse
A whisper, faint but unmissable,
That urges me to search for the source,
The fountain from which the beauty flows.
An uneasiness lingers over me
Peering into the vapours of coming clouds,
Their approach is relentless,
But their passing ethereal
I search for a rock on which to
Raise my eyes above the mist,
But my footing slips away into nothingness.
What form does that never-ending present take in me?
That song sung over me in the womb,
The tune of which is always on the edge of memory,
But never quite within reach.
Is not my existence an echo of that melody?
I asked for a dream and
All I saw was a glimmer,
A brief instant illuminated a new path
Which vanished just as quick.
But though the road may be darkened,
I still recollect it’s direction.
So though my foot tread trustingly,
I cling to the memory and pray for the daylight,
The beauty my goal and
The song my sustenance.

9 December 2011


Deaf Ears


To a friend.

Fear my words are falling on deaf ears,
My heart is hurting to death here,
How many who claim to be about the Father’s business,
Are really on their own thing,
Treating him like a boss does their assistant? 
How quick we are to forget that you are with us,
Because you’re out of sight we put you out of mind,
And we think we can hide ourselves in the process.
Foolishness. Selfish.
Acting as if my self is just that, mine.
But where does my self come from?
Where is it based? 
From which Ocean does this seemingly bottomless pond spring? 
Emotions, thoughts, instincts all swirl beneath
far deeper than I can hold my breath to explore.
Deeper and darker, deeper and darker. 
But this vessel is hopeless to remain if unanchored when the tides rise,
Tossed and turned to eventually be wreckage
Washed up on some foreign shore. 
I am to live and move and have my being, 
But earthed in the source and ground of existence Himself. 
Without this tie, the kite not only does not fly but lies lifeless on the grass. 
I turn. I turn. 

27 Sep 2014