Monthly Archives: July 2012

Mary Magdalene; A Sonnet

22nd July is Mary Magdalene’s day, and continuing my sequence of sonnets written in response to the church year I post this for her. As usual you can hear the poem by clicking on its title or on the ‘play’ button.

The entire sonnet sequence, to be called Sounding the Seasons, will be published by Canterbury Press, later this year.

Mary Magdalene

Men called you light so as to load you down,
And burden you with their own weight of sin,
A woman forced to  cover and contain
Those seven devils sent by Everyman.
But one man set you free and took your part
One man knew and loved you to the core
The broken alabaster of your heart
Revealed to Him alone a hidden door,
Into a garden where the fountain sealed,
Could flow at last for him in healing tears,
Till, in another garden, he revealed
The perfect Love that cast out all your fears,
And quickened you  with love’s own sway and swing,
As light and lovely as the news you bring.


Filed under christianity, imagination, literature, Poems

Light, Life, Love, Glory; my series on St. John

The Eagle of St. John

Readers of my sonnet sequence for the church year may have noticed how often I allude to stories or images from John’s Gospel. I confess it is my favourite and recently I have had the chance to reflect on it in prose as well as poetry, in a series of lectures at St. Edwards, which are now all recorded and available, and downloadable, on my podcast. So I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my Sonnet on St. John’s Gospel and also to gather in one place links to all five talks, one on the prologue and one each on the key words: Light, Life, Love, and Glory.

St. John

This is the gospel of the primal light,

The first beginning, and the fruitful end,

The soaring glory of an eagle’s flight,

The quiet touch of a beloved friend.

This is the gospel of our transformation,

Water to wine and grain to living bread,

Blindness to sight and sorrow to elation,

And Lazarus himself back from the dead!

This is the gospel of all inner meaning,

The heart of heaven opened to the earth,

A gentle friend on Jesus’ bosom leaning,

And Nicodemus offered a new birth.

No need to search the heavens high above,

Come close with John, and feel the pulse of Love.

So here are the links to my five talks. You can click on the title to go to my podomatic site from which you can download the talk, or subscribe to them all via itunes etc. or you can simply play the talk from this page using the ‘play’ button.

The Word and the World; a talk on the prologue to John’s Gospel

John’s gospel: Light

John’s Gospel: Life

John’s Gospel: Love

John’s Gospel: Glory


Filed under christianity

A Sonnet for St. Thomas the Apostle

On July the 3rd we celebrate the feast day of St. Thomas the Apostle, so-called’doubting’ Thomas, though really he should be caled ‘Courageous Thomas’, ‘Tenacious Thomas’, ‘Truthful Thomas’! Either way, thank goodness for Thomas, the one disciple who had the courage to say what everyone else was thinking but didn’t dare say, the courage to ask the awkward questions that drew from Jesus some of the most beautiful and profoundly comforting of all his sayings. “We don’t know where you’re going, how can we know the way”? asked Thomas, and because he had the courage to confess his ignorance, we were given that beautiful saying “I am the way the Truth and the Life” Here is the poem I have written for St. Thomas, which is part of my sequence Sounding the Seasons, to be published by Canterbury Press this December. I am grateful to Margot Krebs Neale for the thought-provoking image above, you can hear the poem by clicking on the ‘play’ button below or on the title of the poem and you can hear a  sermon i preached about  St.Thomas on my podcast site by clicking here: Touching The Wounds

St. Thomas the Apostle


“We do not know… how can we know the way?”

Courageous master of the awkward question,

You spoke the words the others dared not say

And cut through their evasion and abstraction.

Oh doubting Thomas, father of my faith,

You put your finger on the nub of things

We cannot love some disembodied wraith,

But flesh and blood must be our king of kings.

Your teaching is to touch, embrace, anoint,

Feel after Him and find Him in the flesh.

Because He loved your awkward counter-point

The Word has heard and granted you your wish.

Oh place my hands with yours, help me divine

The wounded God whose wounds are healing mine.


oh place my hands with yours, help me divine
the wounded God whose wounds are healing mine


Filed under christianity, literature, St. Edward's