Daily Archives: January 9, 2021

Behind Each Number, One Belovèd Face

Listening, to the radio I was  horrified to hear that the daily death toll from Corona was once more exceeding a thousand. It was a strange and terrible deja vu of listening to the radio last Spring, an experience which prompted this poem and this post, indeed this prayer. I am reposting it today in case anyone might find comfort in these words, or a voice for their own prayers:

‘ These are mind numbing numbers and only the exercise of compassionate imagination can give us even a glimpse of the harrowing personal stories behind each one. When I began to hear our statistics mount on our own evening radio news, I found myself again and again in prayer, knowing that even though I only heard the numbers, God knew and loved and died for the people behind those numbers.

All this found its way into the concluding section of my Quarantine Quatrains which I am posting here as a poem on its own’

VII

35

At close of day I hear the gentle rain

Whilst experts on the radio explain

Mind-numbing numbers, rising by the day,

Cyphers of unimaginable pain

36

Each evening they announce the deadly toll

And patient voices calmly call the roll

I hear the numbers, cannot know the names

Behind each number, mind and heart and soul

37

Behind each number one belovèd face

A light in life whom no-one can replace,

Leaves on this world a signature, a trace,

A gleaning and a memory of grace

38

All loved and loving, carried to the grave

The ones whom every effort could not save

Amongst them all those carers whose strong love

Bought life for others with the lives they gave.

39

The sun sets and I find myself in prayer

Lifting aloft the sorrow that we share

Feeling for words of hope amidst despair

I voice my vespers through the quiet air:

40

O Christ who suffers with us, hold us close,

Deep in the secret garden of the rose,

Raise over us the banner of your love

And raise us up beyond our last repose.

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Like Dew Upon The Grass: A Response To Psalm 72

Psalm 72 is one of the great prophetic psalms about the coming of the Messiah as a king who will bring justice and peace. A Prophecy whose fulfilment begins at Christmas but which will only be fulfilled completely on the last day. The lovely verse about his gentle coming in the nativity: ‘He shall come down like the rain into a fleece of wool: even as the drops that water the earth,’ found its way into the beautiful mediaeval carol ‘I Sing Of A Maiden:

He came all so still
Where his mother was
As dew in April
That falleth on the grass.

My poetic response to the psalm echoes the carol but also picks up on the great Hope for the coming of Christ’s peaceable kingdom which runs through the whole psalm.

As always you can hear me read the psalm by clicking on the play button or the title.

These poems will all be gathered together and published on January 30th under the title David’s Crown.  There is already an Amazon page for the book if you wish to pre-order it Here

LXXII Deus, judicium

 


Another psalm to praise your light and life

Another song of longing for the King

Who is to come, whose coming ends all strife,

 


Who will defend the poor, descend and bring

With him the saints in glory and a new

Heaven and Earth.  And then those saints will sing

 


Their triumph song, and all that’s tried and true

Will live again beyond the reach of death.

Yet he has come already, like the dew

 


Upon the grass, borne on the quiet breath

Of God’s own Spirit, Christ the saviour came

To Bethlehem, like rain on the good earth

 


And those who met his love and learned his name

Became like him and kept this hope alive

That one day the whole world would live in him.

 

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