Category Archives: faith

Elijah

The dry air crackled with Baal-smoke.
Next door’s party was infiltrating. I could
read the signs in smoke so I spoke them: No
parch-quitting rain for a while. Things got hot, I hid
in a ditch. Ravens provided stomach-comfort.

Sooner or later, my words would fry my own drinking water.
They did. I scooted deep into Baal-smoke
territory. There I did what I could
for my widow host. No flour, no oil, no
son’s life would run out on this watch. Nothing here hid

from Yahweh-care. Turns out no
life, no quiet widow-life even, can be hid
from the scourge of life-giving comfort.
We waited for water.
The widow’s bread-baking aromas dissolved into the Baal-smoke.

Royal wingman Obadiah: not one averse to providing sly prophet-comfort.
But his king was really angry re: no water.
Also, angry that Yahweh could blow me like a smoke
of Invisibility. Was decided I could
bring everything to a logical confrontation. No

trouble for the Troubler-who-no-longer-hid.
A contest to provide a deluge of comfort,
precipitate fire and burst open realms of heavenly water.
Turns out that ecstasy wearies those dancing for smoke.
Turns out that if anyone could fire up the mountain, Yahweh could.

But under the broom bush it seems all my high-chariot energy could
run out. It seems I’m no better than any, and there’s no-
one who is. That’s why I’m lying here, and that’s why I hid.
But. Turns out no capital-T troubler can escape angelic comfort
and widowy baking skills. This time with water.

Turns out there was no end-time comfort in wind, earthquakes, no
revelation in fire. I hid my face, I could
feel the silence. The whisper like smoke on water.

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Daniel: against, with grains

We don’t sit well with rich food
We grow without it
In learning, in everything

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Daniel: into exile

Princely sons read campfire sparks
Temple metal clinks
Apocalyptic stars fall

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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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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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Grace for a poor player

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

Grace.

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.

Grace.

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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