Tag Archives: poem

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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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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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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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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