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 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).

                   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.

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.

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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Grace for a poor player

Today and today and today
Could there be time for such a word


For this day.
Just to get to the end of it, in
lockstep with the loved ones.

For my four year old.
Who struts, frets and tantrums, because
you shouldn’t have to leave the playground carrying your own bag.

For my friend in hospital.
Return her to mineral health,
rescue her organs from failure.

For my tea-leaves.
Remove the panic that their restorative properties
may never come back.

For all of us,
in every pop-up moment
offering trays of thought that don’t bear the drinking.

For all the todays,
each and all told by an idiot.
Shape them narratively:
give them a beginning, a middle and an end.
No awkward flashforwards,
no sweaty flashbacks gripping palms and fingers
around the neck of now.


Take your pretty place
You’re rich stuff for us poor players

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Psalter Hymnal

Treble clefs: round and round and
up and down and flourish.

Those curly ears- listening, listening
for the black dot birds, perched
on the five wires.

And the bass clefs: well, they were
round wombat bottoms, depositing
seriously deep stuff.

Kids amid the thronging worshippers:
we enjoyed the thronging most
when we could see many little birds,
quavering. And least,
when we had to unearth smooth white circles of
perfect theology, minim by semibreve.

The best things about the psalter?
A Mighty Fortress- we begin with three lovely C’s.
That hymn alone, need sing no other.

Also, the worship tide gently
foaming back towards us at the end.
That final flow of all blessing, praise God for it.

Anything else?  Yes, but it’s not actually in the psalter.
Hearing my friend playing organ during the collection.
It was Lovesong by The Cure,
and nobody knowing what they were dropping coins to.
Well- we did.

Danielle Terceiro

This poem was shortlisted for the 2014 Adrien Abbott prize for poetry

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Headings and Goings

There’s quiet in the library, yes-
but framed by school project talk.
And the IT guy in the back room
hangs a good day’s work on a
loud and friendly hook.

My daughter and I whisper our confusion about
complex sentences.
She moves on to mathematics. I knit.

A tutor tells a boy to google
the Plague, or the Black Death.
She’s good with search terms and headings.

I am knitting still.
Next to me numbers crunch silently.
Time for some thought-filing.
Today, under? Let’s try Moses.
Whose cheeks were burning with burning-bush heat
way before he started on writing and books.
Who could only preview a link to the Promised Land.
Who hit the mouse button way too hard,
way too many times when the rock didn’t refresh.

Just as well God is good with headings.
Let’s go with Prophet. Capital. Underline.
Actually, we can put three prophets in just here.
Subheading Warm Cheeks? (From:
burning bush, fiery chariot, glory of God).
And you can google a picture of the mountain later.
Because now, we’re talking about leaving.

Yes, I am.
Homework’s not quite done,
we’ll get there soon.
Got a few more days to get there.
Let’s go.


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Did you forever
feel that wrench of hair?
Pulled onto the banks of
so many visions by that strong hand.
Prophetic pathways
lighting up inside that head of yours.
I imagine you gasping for normalcy
by that river,
as it widened and widened.

Did you think a lot
about those wheels within wheels?
And all those eyes
on the wheels within wheels?
At least cherubim didn’t have to be
pulled into glory by their hair.

The wheels within wheels mode-
it’s what I wish for many.
Well, specifically,
for young girls on the back of a truck
driving them away from education
and safety. Wheels within wheels,
dear girls. To bring you back,
back under the expanse.

Some burning hashtags, helpful also,
if cherubim could throw them at
the departing tyres.
And someone, please, adjust the
trucking suspension system.
So those girls, dear girls,
can move with spirit.

And let the satnav system show
visions of God.
So their eyes, so many eyes,
can be washed to sparkling
by the widening river.

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A song

How amazing it will be, when the strife, suffering and violence in this world comes to an end and we are able to rest in the presence of our Lord Jesus.  And how beautiful, that He has disarmed all the violent kingdoms in the world (including our own cruel fiefdoms), not with violence, but with humility and a perfect love that suffers along with us.

One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:

that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
         all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
        and to seek Him in his temple.
Psalm 27:4

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Colossians 2:15

And I’ve written a song in response.  Please let me know if you enjoy the words and/or music!

…And apologies if you uploaded it as soon as it was posted- there were a couple of errors in the chords, which I’ve fixed. Ta!

Beauty wins the day

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Keeping your white-collared shirt crime-free

It seems as if at least one regulator always has the opportunity, in the run up to  Christmas, to  grab some HEADLINE about WHITE COLLAR CRIME.  To lob a nice little media release out there about (alleged) corporate  misconduct, just in time for the weekend papers and just in time for the corporate lawyers, in-house and out-of -house, to cancel their European skiing trips.

Last December, the Australian competition regulator filed a court action that alleged a criminal cartel between a big Australian retailer and  some multinationals. It alleged that these  companies  had a secret “Project Mastermind”.  Company reps met (allegedly) to discuss ways to fix the prices of laundry products, and worked together to introduce standardised “ultra concentrate” laundry products.

It’s a shame that the ultra concentrate laundry powder did not do more to keep all the white-collared shirts looking clean.

I have worked as a competition lawyer, and before that, as an investigator for the Australian competition regulator. I am still, always, intrigued by white collar crime.  My YA novel paddled a little in these waters.

 It really seems that people should know better than to get together with competitors to mastermind a market.  In Australia, market sharing and price fixing are criminal offences.  Most big company people, whether in sales or product development or whatever, have had some level of compliance training.  Many of these people would have a technical or legal person sitting in an office down the corridor who is always happy to have a “Can we do this / Why not? / Can we do this other thing? / Why not?” type of discussion with them.

At a law firm I worked at a special t-shirt was made up for our competition law retreat.  The front of the t-shirt had a picture of Adam Smith and this quote:

“people of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices”.

I think, perhaps, that regulators are *especially* suspicious where reps of competing firms meet outside company premises to engage in “merriment and diversion”.  This is where my own suspicious imagination runs:

Time to leave for that competitor gathering.  There is some official stuff on the agenda, but other merry and diverting discussions are sure to pop up.  Let’s get  changed out of this suit and slide down the dress code to “business casual.” These chinos and polo shirts and [insert female quivalent here: I was never sure] are so… freeing.  After a couple of drinks the legal and technical guy/dame who lives down the corridor (and who is not invited to this event)  is SUCH fun to joke about.  He/she is always so slow to get with the new product.  So slow that he/she hasn’t worked out that the phrase “Thanks, friend”, is used by the whole team as code for “Can’t you ever give advice that is tailored to the real world?!”  And yes, it’s so fun keeping the “Real World” share drive far, far away from his/her computer…

Perhaps the Adam Smith t-shirt could be compulsory to wear under business suits?  So that his words would always be there, written across the corporate heart. And if the suit was discarded in preparation for a competitor gathering, his eyes would be watching over all the merriment and diversion.

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In 2013 I was excited to discover…

(a) excellent Christian writing about writing;
(b) Christian music that I could play, over and over, without “Christian music fatigue”; and
(c) Christian spiritual memoirs, so good I read them too quickly and need to pay them another, slower, visit.


(a) Thank you Bret Lott, for writing so well, and writing so well about writing, and writing so well about being a Christian and writing. You reminded us that Christians writers can and should put effort into creating literary fiction. You reminded us that this fiction will honour the sovereign, supernatural God if it jumps into the messiness AND hope of living.

(b) Thank you Bifrost Arts and the Welcome Wagon. I knew I would find my musical treasure one day. I love these slide guitar pennies more than all the shiny pop coins of Christian music. And Rain for Roots.. I’ve sprinkled this goodness for children into my family and into the lives of a few in my church and playtime group. They’ve enjoyed the rainy goodness too.


(c) Thank you Sheridan Voysey, and Carolyn Weber for writing down your lives. Sheridan, for writing so honestly about how you and your wife have continued to grow into God’s love after you gave up your cherished dream.  Carolyn, for writing about how your study of Romantic poetry, and your friendships with real life Christians, dragged you before the truth of the great incarnational Love.

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A song about a kiss

The Bible, it’s a book. It’s a book full of different books, that all fit together into one story. The story of how God loves us, and how God rescues us.

And …you may not know, the Bible is a book that’s full of songs. We have, in the Bible, the book of Psalms. The Psalms are songs. They were sung, long ago, by God’s people. Many of these songs were sung in desperate times, when the people were being captured, enslaved, torn from their homes and sent to distant lands. Many of the songs speak of a deep longing for God’s King to arrive, finally, and put things right.

Today, I would like you to remember one of these old old songs. It’s song about a kiss:

I will listen to what God the Lord will say;
he promises peace to his people, his saints-
but let them not return to foolishness.
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.

Love and Faithfulness meet together;
Right Living and Peace kiss each other.

(Psalm 85:8-10)

God’s people, so long ago, were longing for this kiss to happen. They wanted to see God reach into history and rescue them with a huge kiss. And then they would live forever in a kingdom of right living and peace.

And it happened. We know this from the Bible. Right Living and Peace kissed each other. God rescued his people.

How did it happen? When did it happen?

God loves us so much he sent his son Jesus to earth to be our King. Jesus lived the right way, the perfect way. He obeyed God by getting killed, getting punished so that we would not need to be punished. We can’t live a perfect life. Jesus came to earth to live it for us. So Jesus is our Right Living King.

And Jesus is our King of Peace. His Kingdom of Peace is unfolding every day. We can’t always see it…Life is hard, there is hurt, pain and conflict in our lives and in our friends’ and families’ lives. But through Jesus we can be part of God’s family. Jesus is going to return to earth one day, and all of God’s family will be able to live in perfect peace and happiness under his rule. There will be heaven on earth for God’s people, forever.

So, as you’re walking through the shops and you hear Christmas carols, you can remember that they are songs that celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Right Living King, and the King of Peace. Jesus’ birth is the reason we can sing and celebrate at Christmas, and keep on celebrating forever. Our King has arrived!

Madonna mit Kind (Albin Egger-Lienz, 1921)

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