Daily Archives: December 26, 2018

Earth’s Enigmas: A lost poem

Here is a little Boxing Day holiday diversion.

Readers of this blog may remember that some time ago, I told the story of how I came to write a sequence of poems, arranged in seven pairs, about Seven Heavens, responding to The Music of the Spheres, the wonderful music which Marty O’Donell composed for the game Destiny. (you can read that blog post Here)

In that post I included a link to a video made by a group of players which incorporated with the music and my poems. that video was for Luna, the first of the spheres. They will be posting the rest of those poems in the new year. But in the meantime, as a kind of extra, they have a made a video of another poem I wrote for Bungie and their game Destiny, though this poem was never used in the game. It came about like this: In order to write my sequence for the Spheres Marty sent me over all the music but we also discussed the themes of the game together and he let me into some of its key ideas and images, and something of its over-arching story. The key images he shared with me, images of a lost golden age, of an encroaching darkness, of Guardians who kept up a hope of recovery, of a traveller who could bring redemption, all these of course already had poetic and spiritual resonance for me. Bungie had not specifically asked for another poem but I wrote this one anyway. It is a series of gnomic utterances or enigmatic sayings in tightly rhymed tetrameters which I wrote partly in response to the architecture and story line of the game, but also as a distillation of some of my own thought and faith. The copyright still belongs to Bungie, but to give you a flavour, here are a couple of Stanzas, which might have some oblique resonance in this season of Advent, Nativity, and Epiphany:

Who can count the ages gone?

Who can hear the hidden song?

Who is he who feels and hears

Long-lost music of the spheres?

Hears the secret symphony

Sevenfold in harmony

Sounding present, future, past

Who will hear the call at last?


Far above the city’s domes

Seek the traveler when he comes

Even in the blackest night

From the darkness springs a light

Find the end where you begin

Light without and light within

Seek the secret sages know

Light above and light below


I have recorded the whole poem for them and they have a made a video of it, which has now been posted and you can view it here:

Perhaps it will make a little mytho-poeic listening and viewing for these holidays!


1 Comment

Filed under imagination

The Song of the Shepherds by Richard Bauckham

Image by Linda Richardson

Image by Linda Richardson

In my  Anthology from Canterbury Press Waiting on the Word,The poem I have chosen for December 26th, is  The Song of the Shepherds by Richard Bauckham. You can hear me read this poem by clicking on the title or the play button. the image above was created by Linda Richardson. Linda writes:


The night could not contain their boundless praise. We thought that just a poem – until the night a song of solar glory……’ As I conceived this image I thought it would be ridiculous to try to capture ‘solar glory’, but nevertheless I did try to do that in an image that is pure imagination. At the centre is a blazing star directly above a tiny stable on the great curve of the Earth. Bethlehem is silhouetted on the right, and the wise men on the left, journey towards the Holy Family.

In our lives we are familiar with disturbing sounds, unprovoked rages and savage dreams, and often there is little to say, particularly for people who have tedious jobs, who pack our food on production lines, who deliver our parcels or clean up our streets. But occasionally, we may experience the ‘Glance’, spoken about in the poem of the 1st December. Those are the moments when the veil is drawn back from our eyes and we see the great wonder of our being. Maybe we cannot explain that surge of sweet joy that lasts for only a moment before we return to our humdrum lives, but it is often an unforgettable and incomprehensible moment of pure grace. These strange moments remind us that God is always around us and in us, and our part is to prepare an opening for God who may be seen or unseen, but who wants to irradiate us and will only be constrained by our own refusal.

You can find you can find the words, and a short reflective essay on this poem in Waiting on the Word, which is now also available on Kindle

The Song of the Shepherds


We were familiar with the night.

We knew its favourite colours,

its sullen silence

and its small, disturbing sounds,

its unprovoked rages,

its savage dreams.


We slept by turns,

attentive to the flock.

We said little.

Night after night, there was little to say.

But sometimes one of us,

skilled in that way,

would pipe a tune of how things were for us.


They say that once, almost before time,

the stars with shining voices


the new born world.

The night could not contain their boundless praise.


We thought that just a poem —

until the night

a song of solar glory,

unutterable, unearthly,

eclipsed the luminaries of the night,

as though the world were exorcised of dark

and, coming to itself, began again.


Later we returned to the flock.

The night was ominously black.

The stars were silent as the sheep.

Nights pass, year on year.

We clutch our meagre cloaks against the cold.

Our aging piper’s fumbling fingers play,

night after night,

an earthly echo of the song that banished dark.

It has stayed with us.

1 Comment

Filed under imagination