We walked, still


We walked, still, even
after her energy had
waned far, unreplenished
by the ordinary grace of
food once consumed easily
and by most simply taken
for granted

And in the walking saw
and felt again and again
that nourishment may
be drawn for the soul
though the physical frame
tires and slows and evening
firelight glows

illuminating kaleidoscopic
memories and warming
hopes long held and yet
aspired to. Yes, we walked
still. And as though they had
been aware of a greater than
usual urgency

on Christmas Day in rain
around mid-afternoon and
a five mile tramp from our
beloved fireside she stooped
to feel snowdrops newly
raised from earth between
her fingers

Not too late this arrival –
not too late – it was a
timely coming
and is now a photograph
developed upon the backdrop
of my mind. Souvenir
We have come. We remember

And we walk, still
again and again

Simon Marsh

Then and now and will be


for JMT, 1960-2018, on the eve of her birthday

And on the hillside
where we stood
the something that passed
between us
as though it were a
tidal current was already
as old and as new as the
Ancient of Days – in the
retrospect and in the
there and then and now
and in the prospect of
all eternity

That light, that current –
illumination and anticipation
launched a something that
is the everything
Immortal –
Yes, something to be
like a song among the
stars, laughing and crying
held safe and aloft and
flying –
on that hillside
held and holding

you and I encountered a
Divine Love and knew it to be
an Undying
in us, primarily
in those graced moments
but also in whomsoever –
and all are ultimately
capable of simply
letting go, and smiling and
then the final thankful sighing –
oh, little one, yes, you
great one

Elevated, celebrated: I love you


Our day of light



No need to wonder what heron-haunted lake
lay in the other valley,
or regret the songs in the forest
I chose not to traverse.
No need to ask where other roads might have led,
since they led elsewhere;
for nowhere but this here and now
is my true destination.
The river is gentle in the soft evening,
and all the steps of my life have brought me home.

Ruth Bidgood

Late Fragment

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

Raymond Carver




It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men,
From heaven’s all-gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains,
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o’er its babel sounds
The blessèd angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!

For lo!, the days are hastening on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendours fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.

E H Sears

un jour sans pain est un jour sans vie
a day without bread is a day without life

The little one born in a stable (and in other stables) beneath the stars in Bethlehem (which in Hebrew means House of Bread)  arrived in a ‘birthday suit,’ a marvellous and extraordinary strategy adopted by every little one that had come before, and every little one that came after – insofar as instantly recognisable humanity is the only (and the only important) identification. Alpha and Omega. In this Beginning, and in every Beginning, and in the Beginning at the End.

Fleetingly, unaffiliated, unclothed and unbadged, this little one, every little one, belongs only to the One Universal Family.

Fleetingly, unaffiliated, unclothed and unbadged, this little one, every little one, arrives as a sign, an angel, a message, something anointed, something breathed into, Some One to be remembered and celebrated. Like the bread of life itself. Like the milk of human kindness and compassion.

Clear as cold night air the message of the arrival, of all such arrivals, touches humankind.

un jour sans pain est un jour sans vie
a day without bread is a day without life

Let the whole earth give back the song which – all too fleetingly – these little ones sing.

From my heart to your heart, whomsoever and wheresoever you may be: may you have a kind, full and thankful heart. And the Shalom of good bread tonight.

A reset button

We keep eating our way through the arms of the Universe, desperate for something large and quiet to hold us

Mark Nepo
Things That Join The Earth And The Sky
Short Wisdom On A Long Planet, page 4

Here’s ten minutes or so’s worth of invitation (to me and to you) to sit still and quiet for a space – a reset button, if you like – a perspective-shaping quelling of life’s overload circuits. Food for hungry souls. Something to keep coming back to, home to. A bookmark.

Thank you to all who have recently shared, and often share stillness and quietness and love with me. x

Acorns, owl feather and ribbon

photo at pixabay

I once spoke to my friend, an old squirrel,
about the Sacraments –
he got so excited
and ran into a hollow in his tree and came
back holding some acorns, an owl feather,
and a ribbon he had found.
And I just smiled and said, “Yes, dear,
you understand:
everything imparts
His grace.”

St Francis of Assisi
Translation by Daniel Ladinsky
Love Poems From God: Twelve Voices from the East and West

My beloved Dad died last Wednesday. Mum’s now in hospital having fallen and broken an arm a day later. Many miles away we’ve been seeing the inside of hospital too. And friends have just been bereaved … and … and … and … well, everyone in the world knows how it goes, for all of us, for some of our time. Grief. Pain. Fear. Distance.

So is Francis right? Does ‘everything’ (even if not quite literally) impart grace? I’ve had a few opportunities to find out over a scary weekend. And my answer’s a resounding ‘yes!’

Here’s a bit of a list: wonderful life-partner, children, grandchildren, siblings, cousins, parents, aunts and uncles, advisers, counselors, doctors, nurses, neighbours, weight-bearing friends around the world and ‘there’ and ‘here’. Friendship’s love, candles lit, and prayer communicated from afar.  ‘A Taste of Italy’ on TV, memories of ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ sung at high volume by my parents, sister, brother, cousins, children, and me. Thank you notes from baby grandchildren and a great-niece. Deep meditation’s peace.

I’m with you, Squirrel: acorns, an owl feather, and a ribbon [you] found. I just need to remember to run into the hollow. And there, and also everywhere, I find, and am found. Grace.