Category Archives: faith

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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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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Ezekiel

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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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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