At Lazarus’s Tomb: An Easter poem

He wept, the man who I had learned to trust, And spoke: ‘he who believes will never die.’ My brother, who for four dead days did lie, Rose, stripped, and lived again. This we discussed Endlessly – how could we not? The years went by He married, prospered, then, as all men must Grew old. He stooped and sickened. Returned to dust. And now once more we watch his tomb and cry. ‘The resurrection and the life’ he said, But I await the last of days again. ‘Though die, will live’ – strange words he spoke, and hard; What has he changed, who on the cross once bled? He rose. And rose. Made gates of death, through pain, A door held open by the hands still scarred.

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‘Manhood and Deity’: Two sonnets for Christmas

A pair – and they are a pair – of Christmas poems:   1. Manhood: Joseph You paint me in the shadows, left of scene. His shining light there blocked by ox. Or third King. Or by ass like me. My face is blurred Lest I distract from Jesus and Mary.   Oh, ‘I’m not Hamlet, nor was meant to be’ ‘Attendant lord’ am I, attendant on my Lord— My son (or so I say: obedient word, That masks the uselessness I feel in me.)   This all my calling, all my sanctity To stand detached and silent, unpreferred. My voice? A butler’s, asking concierge On their account, not mine, ‘Pray, room have ye?’   Care? No! I know as well as know my fate: ‘They also serve who only stand and wait.’     2. ‘These are the generations’: Deity God’s being,...

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Spiritus: A poem for Pentecost

Spiritus   De sensibili autem demonstratione spiritus sancti sive per columbae speciem sive per linguas igneas… (Augustine, De Trin. IV.xxi)   As dove to him you came; To us you come as fire. Soft, his soul, and smooth Conformed from conception To be your habitation.   We, though, are misshapen, Angular, deformed, refractory. Like agate eggs our hearts Are stone Lined with scattered, shattered spikes, That surround a light-starved void.   We must be Transformed Burnt clean Melted And then remade.   You sear and cauterize us, Holy Dove. You burn long-calcified layers of self; Blazing, you fill the space within, until Our molten souls are ready to be Reformed By some almighty potter Possessed of flame-proof hands.   But when our...

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Two Gods, Three Faces: An Easter Poem

Two Gods, Three Faces: An Easter poem     The statue of the god who guards the turning of the year Has two stone faces carved. One looks toward the future yet to be One back to all that was. Blame sculptor for the flaw perhaps, but Each face is blank. Unmoved by what is gone, Aloof to what will come.   Olympus’ peak is famous for its cold But still, Could even an olympian god look thus? Gaze on time now gone with just Indifference? No tears? No sadness? No mourning for what might have been? No joy? No triumph? No little smile for real though modest gain? And could his other face be samely flat As it surveys the future? No hope? No fear? No trepidation in those cold blank eyes?   Not even calm, serene. Unable, not unwilling, to feel joy, Or...

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On the Incarnation: Four Chalcedonian Sonnets

‘Haec et mea fides est quando haec est catholica fides’ (Aug. De Trin., I.iv.7) 1. Cyril’s Second Letter to Nestorius  ‘Mother of God’ the Fathers said, and we, If we in faith with them are still to stand, Must say the same. The One born of Mary Is God in truth, united with a man. God – of the Father before all time born; Man of his mother, late in time he comes. God unchanging, not by suff’ring torn; Man in flesh and soul united with the Son. This union wondrous comes not late in life But in the womb occurs at once. And so The Holy Mother does not just bear Christ, But God the Word himself in her does grow.   In pain she pushes God, to this world come; Honour the mother, then, to confess the Son.     2. Cyril’s...

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