Tag Archives: Christ

5 Dialogues: 5 Your Neighbour As Yourself

Parable and Paradox hi resHere is the fifth of my five dialogues on the two great commandments. I described the whole sequence in this post. The poems are taken from my new book Parable and Paradox, available from Amazon or on order from any bookshop. do come to the launch at Girton college on 14th June at 5:15 if you are free. This sequence will also feature on my new record Songs and Sonnets. Click here to learn more and support that project if you wish. This final poem in the series reflects on what it might mean to love my neighbour as myself. As always you can hear the poem by clicking on the title or the play button.

Luke 10:27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

 

V Your Neighbour As Yourself

 

My neighbour as myself? I cannot learn

To love myself at all. I look away,

The dark glass only shames me and I burn

At what should never see the light of day.

 

I’ll be the judge of that, for in my light

Judgment and healing meet you equally.

The self you loathe is precious in my sight

And I will have you love it into me.

You and your neighbor, both must made whole.

Her heart’s as dark and needy as your own,

So you must love her in her hidden soul, 

The very soul she’s trying to disown.

Love her as you are loved and you will find

Love is your heart, your soul, your strength, your mind.

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5 Dialogues: 4 With All Your Mind

My Motto!

My Motto!

Here is the fourth of my five dialogues on the two great commandments. I described the whole sequence in this post. The poems are taken from my new book Parable and Paradox, available from Amazon or on order from any bookshop. do come to the launch at Girton college on 14th June at 5:15 if you are free. This sequence will also feature on my new record Songs and Sonnets. Click here to learn more and support the project if you wish. This fourth poem in the series reflects on what it might mean to love with all my mind. As always you can hear the poem by clicking on the title or the play button.

Luke 10:27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

 

IV With All Your Mind

 

With all my mind? With all my open questions?

My restless questing after hidden truth?

With all my science, all my suppositions?

My search for certainty, my lust for proof?

With all my mind? its logic and obsession,

Its wordless reveries, its language games,

Its reason and its deep imagination

Its mysteries, its riddles and its dreams?

 

With all your mind, with every gift I gave you,

For every drop of truth is drawn from me.

Not that your mind itself will ever save you,

But that it lives within my mystery.

Ask and be answered, seek and you will find

I am the life of every loving mind.

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5 Dialogues: 3 With All Your Strength

Do Come if you can!

Do Come if you can!

Here is the third of my five dialogues on the two great commandments. I described the whole sequence in this post. The poems are taken from my new book Parable and Paradox, available from Amazon or on order from any bookshop. do come to the launch at Girton college on 14th June at 5:15 if you are free. This sequence will also feature on my new record Songs and Sonnets. Click here to learn more and support the project if you wish. This second poem in the series reflects on what it might mean to love with all my strength. As always you can hear the poem by clicking on the title or the play button.

Luke 10:27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

III With All Your Strength

 

With all my strength? What little strength I have

Is shadowed by the instruments of death.

I crawl from dawn to dusk towards my grave

As frail and fleeting as my every breath,

And all the strength of broken humankind

Seems only spent on pain and cruelty,

To magnify the malice of the mind

And crush the poor in deeper poverty.

 

And that is why you need to love with strength, 

And offer all that little strength to me,

That you might let me mend it, till at length

We bear the weight together, set you free,

As one who knows how all is borne above,

And meets all malice in the strength of Love.

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5 Dialogues: 2 With All Your Soul

Parable and Paradox hi resHere is the second of the five dialogues on the two great commandments I described in my last post. The poems are taken from my new book Parable and Paradox, available from Amazon or on order from any bookshop. do come to the launch at Girton college on 14th June at 5:15 if you are free. This sequence will also feature on my new record Songs and Sonnets. Click here to learn more and support the project if you wish. This second poem in the series reflects on what it might mean to love with all my soul. As always you can hear the poem by clicking on the title or the play button.

II With All Your Soul

 

With all my soul? I scarcely know my soul.

The age I live in doesn’t think it’s there,

They cut me up, where you would make me whole,

And think your promise only empty air.

They say I’m hormones, chemical extremes,

Enzymes unwinding blindly, selfish genes,

Just empty gestures and repeated memes.

With all my soul? I don’t know what that means.

 

Before the first life stirred my spirit called you,

I knew you when I wove you in the dark,

I made you more than all the forms that mould you,

And kindled in your depth my hidden spark

So let them say your soul is empty air,

Love with your soul and you will know its there.

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Five Dialogues: 1 With All Your Heart

Parable and Paradox hi resAs part of the run up to the launch on June 14th of my new book of poetry Parable and Paradox, I am going to post here some of the poems you can find in the book. I am starting with a series of five dialogues  I have written about the two great commandments, in which I try to explore what it means to love with all the heart, all the soul, all the strength, all the mind. these sonnets take the form of a conversation between the speaker and Christ. I say ‘the speaker’ because although I use the first person in the opening of each of these poems and I certainly speak with my own heart and soul, I hope that the reader too will be able to identify with the opening voice in each sonnet and so also be able to hear Christ replying to them in the second part of each poem.

Songs and Sonnets as we hope it will eventually appear!

Songs and Sonnets as we hope it will eventually appear!

These five poems will also appear, in a finer recording and with beautiful music, on the new record I am making with Steve Bell and Roy Salmond called Songs and Sonnets. They have started a crowdfunding page to make the recording and procductuion of the CD possible and I would be grateful if you could support it in however small a way. You can find out more and watch a short video by clicking Here. As always you can hear the poem in this post by clicking on the title or the play button. But it will be better still on the record!

So here is the first of the five, reflecting on what it might mean to love with all my heart:

 

 

Luke 10:27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

I: With All Your Heart

 

With all my heart? You know my heart too well,

It’s Yeats’s rag and bone shop. Will it do

To start my loving in that little hell,

Closed on itself and still excluding you?

Could I not offer you some empty room,

Some small apartment full of light and air,

Some portion of my life, above the gloom,

But not this pit of pride, not this despair.

 

Only your heart will do. Let me begin,

To break the ground and plant a seed that grows

Up through the closing darkness of your sin

Till your unsightly roots brings forth my rose.

For I have learned to make the broken true

Since my heart too was broken once for you.’

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A sonnet for the Venerable Bede

bedeThe 25th of May is the day the Church remembers and celebrates the Venerable Bede, who died on that day in 735  Bede was a Saint and Scholar, whose wonderful Ecclesiastical History of the English People, is still the major source for early English History, as well as being, in itself a deeply inspiring book. He is buries in Durham cathedral and set above his tomb, in beautiful shimmering letters is the text of one of the prayers he wrote. My sonnet in celebration of Bede draws on this prayer so I give its text here in both Latin and English and have posted a photograph of it below the poem.

As always you can hear the poem by clicking on the title or the ‘play’ button. This poem is from my collection of verse ‘The Singing Bowl’, published by  Canterbury Press

Bede’s Prayer:

Christus est stella matutina, Alleluia

Qui nocte saeculi transacta, Alleluia

Lucem vitae sanctis promittit, Alleluia;

Et pandit aeternam, Alleluia

 

(Christ is the morning star who when the night of this world is past brings to his saints the promise of the light of life & opens everlasting day.)



Bede

I kneel above your bones and read your words.

Church-Latin letters, shimmering in gold,

A kingdom-glimmer through the dark and cold,

A revelation gleaming on the shards

Of all our broken lives and promises.

Christus est stella matutina

Qui nocte saeculi transacta

Christ is the morning star. He promises

The light of life when this dark night is past…

Lucem vitae sanctis promittit

You speak for all his Wounded witnesses,

The morning star will shine on us at last.

Scholar and saint, illuminate the way

That opens into everlasting day.

Bede's Prayer

Bede’s Prayer

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7 sonnets on the Lord’s Prayer: 6 The Time of Trial

As Evil slams its hammer

As evil slams its hammer

This is the sixth in the sequence of seven sonnets on the Lord’s Prayer which I am posting this week as part of the Church Of England’s Thy Kingdom Come week of prayer leading up to Pentecost. The Sonnets will be published together in my new book Parable and Paradox at the end of this month.

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

I am grateful to Philippa Pearson for choosing the images that accompany this series.

Lead Us Not into Temptation, But Deliver Us from Evil

 

Oh do not bring us to the time of trial,

Deliver us, deliver us from evil.

How is it that your own petitions fail

As evil slams its hammer to the anvil?

For you were brought to trial and not delivered

You let the prince of darkness do his worst

The sun shrank from that sight, the whole world shivered,

The fount of blessing let himself be cursed.

 

How is it? Is it that your dereliction

Makes possible the answer to my prayer?

Am I delivered by your bitter passion,

As you face every evil for me there?

Unanswered answerer, forsaken friend,

Bring me to my beginning through your end.

 

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