The way home

Some draft song words I wrote after a Christian music conference earlier this year. Any ideas for a title?

1.
You came to us, showed that your pain
was your road to royal glory.
Wipe away tears, give us your joy
Lord, help us understand your word.

2.
Jesus is alive, here with us,
we ask him to show us the road:
Jesus, burn our hearts with wonder
Lord, help us understand your word.

3.
We gather today, we repent
of times we did not want to hear.
Now we turn, we call on your name
Lord, help us understand your word.

4.
Spirit, pour out meaning and hope
on every life resurrected.
Cut our hearts, shine the Christ-light
Lord, help us understand your word.

Chorus.
Praise God, lift your voice, all sing
The joy of the Lord is our strength.
Praise God, life your voice, all sing
Our Saviour shows us the way home.

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My Jacob

Empathy here, at the genesis, a garment
worn to wrestle. The hip bone
wrenched at dawn. A new name
for one at the end of himself. Stones
ground under heels overnight. He won’t go,

that heel-grabber, he wants a full-face
blessing. Under his torn garment,
throbbing with honest pain, his hip bone
is ID’d by my thumbprint. My name:
he knows it. He left it with the stones,

that time he gave my house my name,
rested his head and dream-laddered to me on pillow-stones.
So I won’t go,
and he’ll see the lines of kindness that write my face.
And I’ll feel the pain shouldered under his garment,

thumb-pressed into memories of when he had to go,
flee a father who could not see his face,
the hairs barely plucked free of his garment.
He knows the throbbing truth, has picked it from the bone:
his brother was right when he spat the heel-grabber name.

And yet. He grabs the other truth while we grind stones:
I want to make room for him, to let him go
with a memory of my face.
He will get a chance to replace this garment,
the one holy-torn to our contention’s bone.

Fast backward and forward to other bruised bone:
His own father with sticks carried on boy-shoulders, carried in the name
of a ram-surprised sacrifice. Then, those stones
that cried at the sight of battered shoulders, cross-ready to go.
You will cry, too, at my thorn-pressed, pain-readable face.

At the dawn there I am, and you have a new name.
When your pillows are stones, your dreams wrestle with bruised bone,
remember your holy-torn garment, read my love-legible face.

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Sestina Baptism

My friend kneels as the water
Drips down her length, slipping into channels of love
The same irrigation system draws my tears-
The beauty of a baptised life
Washed into holiness and gently patted dry
Molecules of dirty dissent wiped out.

Peace. The stones have cried it out
Sleeping now, their salty water
Took an exiled age to dry
My friend rescued by love
From the Babylon shores of her life.
But I weep Babylon rivers of tears

My cracked life again springs leaky tears
I always swim far out
Beyond the buoys of a good life
Struggling in the dark water
Dumped back to beach by tsunami love
Like Jonah, high and dry.

My throat is rich-man burnt and dry
Waiting for the Jesus-wept tears
Waiting for extinguisher love
To put the fire out
Or just a drop of Lazarus water
To sprinkle life back to life.

It’s a woman-at-the-well life
Waiting for Jesus in the noontime dry
Drawing words, love and water
Forgetting the on-the-way tears
Singing all the way out
Of sitting-by-me love.

At the baptism lunch a few people love
My daughter’s ukulele strumming. Life
Is remarked on over fruit and cheese. Inside and out
Children fling their towels to dry
Over the fence. There are tears
As they compete for trampoline space and pool water.

Through trails of chlorine I’m happy to remain dry
I’m baptised by on-the-way tears
My spirit splashes happily in love’s water.

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Esther

Maybe for a

time such as this? When
cousins / fathers stand at gates, and
I’m not sure whether I
won / lost / drew that
beauty contest and / or the
Makerlove, covenanted through history, but

Maybe not for a

time such as this? When
cousins / fathers change minds, and
I’m not sure whether I
am / am not / am becoming, the
braver of sceptres for that unspoken / spoken
Kinlove, exiled into history, and

Maybe not around for a much longer

time than this? Resolve, then,
tendrils every word. Hebrew letters
curve into destiny. My scribe hushes mention of the
Consonant One, but herenow,
providential friends, we can
grab some vowels and toddle into the
Yahweh Godfire.

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Olivet discourse

Olivet Discourse

David escapes the Mount of Olives way,
tears pulled down the slope of his
cheek by the proud gravity of
a son’s plan to descend
on his people like
the ground dew.
David weeps
at the town gate. A conspiracy
of tree branches yank my son,
my son, Absalom, into a hair-raised
death. If only me, my Jerusalem self,
if only it had been me.

Later, more if-only tears pulled
down by this heavy mountain
magnetic. Jesus’ donkey
knows the burden too.
The disciples sing peace.
The stones tremble with
the desire to harmonise.
Jesus weeps
at all the lost Jerusalem selves,
the strewn stones, the tender
everyday ground like dust
by another military season.

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Criss-crossing

A child has marked our yellow house with
a crayon blue hashtag by the front door.
Its wavy lines criss-cross, and underneath
the rosemary bush sprawls recklessly.

Those piney fumes criss-cross in the air.
That black snake is probably still out the back,
criss-crossing everyone else foolish enough
to hang twilight washing, as dogs
bark soundwaves that crash against fences.

And grrrrr, the suburban dog collective
has requisitioned a compass entry point, again.
Swinging out from the human on their leashes:
you can see the brown X-marks-the-Spots on the lawn,
that bit east of letterbox on the map.

Let’s get these criss-crossings safe and secure, please.
Could that blue hashtag flash for oncomings?
The rosemary remind us when to go?
(Will the snake tempt me to dump the load, run?)
Dog turds are tricky.
But they show, don’t they,
that sometimes the best thing
is just to pick your grassy way through.

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vinyl cuts

sharp blood
triangulating in fuchsia
no one remembering their
grandmother’s pot plants
the loving windowsills

unreconstructed orange
slapped onto someone’s wall
staining someone’s mouth
sometimes you forget
to wash the evidence
of your ahistorical affair
before getting out onto the street

lines drawn without
tender perspective
there’s no point of cosy beyond
no stilts to hoist yourself
above the problem

to walk round and round
to decide waving flagpoles is no
vertical solution to your
fear of being at the same
eyeline as those not
privileged with facial vinyl

Danielle Terceiro (2015)

lieshout

Image: Van Lieshout, Erik. Untitled. 2014. Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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Jesus sets his face to Jerusalem

When the palm leaves are shown the donkey is waved on through

Its hooves are slowed by the smashed green stickiness, everywhere underfoot

 Jesus, donkey, remember:  

                 Big fish

                 Rumbling darkness  

The gentle donkey lurches,

throws Jesus into the three-day deep. 

 

The big fish heaves Jonah from its pit.

Jonah sets his face to elsewhere,

away from the glare of mercy.                      

 

Jonah’s compassion is a withered plant,

sulking on the doorstep, outside the rain.

Choking down tender dewdrops

                                                come morning.

 

Three women set their faces to the dawn.

They clutch their fragrant grief to themselves.

Come, morning: 

                 Dazzle with your bright angel clothes

                 Frighten us with rising joy.

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Sonnet, 8.00am

A mother sows tears at a railway station,
Mourning a son
who didn’t make it out of a country
Mourning a son
who did make it out of a country
but can’t make it into a railway station.
Tears squeeze though irrigation channels,
whetting international media.

I drink saltwater tea
take my news breakfast
sit in the middle of toasty debris
(what the young mouth jammers left behind).
All quiet in the living room
as families move through fields.

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Onesimus

Onesimus is a first century runaway slave, who returns to his master Philemon with a cover note from the apostle Paul. Paul wants Philemon to take him back “no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother” (Philemon 1:16).

Onesimus
                   On the road to Phrygia

Oh!      Neh!    Sih!      Muss!
Keep on:
Want to see more walking
Quality walking
We all need more of that.

Oooooooooh!  Nesimus
Check your pocket:
Still got that letter from Paul?
Good.  Have a rest, a short rest
It’s a short letter that requires a lifetime’s reading.

Onesimus….nesimus…mussssss
You’re nearly there:
Some last words of encouragement:
You are useful.  More than you know
Yes, I know that your name means useful
It’s what slaves are.

Onesimus
Gone now.
I wish you could know:
Many will rush to greet you,
even if Philemon doesn’t.
Someone will take you inside, another will pull out your chair;
and yes, that casserole on the table-
it’s made from fatted calf.
There will be many angry big brothers,
huffing on the doorstep.
Why are they so angry?
It’s because of all of us,
all of us couldabeen shoudabeen wouldabeen slaves.
We’re no longer slaves,
we’re no longer useful to them.

Onesimus, Onesimus
Who knows?
Maybe Philemon will fall upon your neck with
hairy welcome
And, just there, right there, Jacob will clap the loudest.
Onesimus, Onesimus.  More than Onesimus.
Keep walking
Quality walking
We all need more of that.

Danielle Terceiro 2015

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