Monday, 21 April 2008


The birds have secrets.

The ravens know where there is a cupboard in the sky, full of food for frightened prophets.
The doves know when the flood will end, and when it is safe to venture down the mountain into the unknown.
The crows know how long it takes a mustard seed to grow, and when we will all find nests in the top of the great tree of the kingdom of God.
The sparrows know where the Father's eye is, and have learned not to worry about tomorrow.
The eagle knows when to shelter the young and when to ruffle them off the edge to try their sticky feathers.
The eagle also knows how to wait on the wind till its wings rise up and away from weariness.
The dove knows the path of descent into water and fire, moved by the breath of heaven.

The hermit thrush sings evening prayer and the tundra swans lift the song north to a glassy sea.

The birds have secrets. 

Sunday, 20 April 2008

rara avis

Today we went on a motorbike ride in the sunny Sunday afternoon, down to the river where the rocks are warm and the bugs are lazy. The water was too cold for toes but not for beetles. I saw eight hawks circling in the sky, a rara avis in an invisible meeting place. I watched them watching me. They told me it was going to rain. Then they told me they knew the secrets of the kingdom of heaven. But we have forgotten how to listen. I stared hard and tried to open my ears as they circled round and around. Then the wind picked up and they disappeared over the ridge of the escarpment. We got back on the bike and drove southwest, where the sun was melting into ocean-coloured clouds. On the way home it started to rain. All I can say is the birds knew.


Tuesday, 8 April 2008

sit awhile

Sit by me awhile
Let’s talk about God and the stars and the distant seashore
Hold my hand lightly and smile
We’ll look for our future in the cloud shapes above
Tell me a story
The kind you save just for me
We are friends and strangers and lovers
Bound to one path and to each other
Love is a mystery
And the soul is a deep place
Let me in and let me swim


Monday, 7 April 2008

hey prophet

Hey prophet
Keep your eyes clear
You can still see through tears

Do not lose heart
The weight of glory is heavier
Though it is unseen

Free your tongue
There is power in a whisper
And love speaks from the gutter


Saturday, 5 April 2008

magic births

The afternoon has warmed its beams
And wakened spring from all its dreams
This current is our merry bed
We watch the swans fly overhead

A canopy of feathered white
Encompass us in magic flight
We set a sail for western skies
We watch the dusk around us rise

The feathers turn to falling stars
We are alone and night is ours
The river floats into the moon
Magic births and love will soon


The Last Rose of Summer

I first heard this poem by Irish poet Thomas Moore sung as a duet by Hayley Westenra and Méav Ní Mhaolchatha. To me it captures both the sadness and beauty of a change in season and our deep need of companionship in a fragile world.

'Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
To give sigh for sigh.

I'll not leave thee, thou lone one!
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter,
Thy leaves o'er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
From Love's shining circle
The gems drop away.
When true hearts lie withered
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit,
This bleak world alone?

Thomas Moore

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

how do i see you?

Coming home on the bus tonight, we passed by a homeless man with his empty Tim Horton's cup, sitting on the curbside of a busy corner. A family of several generations crossed his path, well-dressed, likely on their way to some fine Toronto entertainment. The adults picked their way around him, but there was a boy with them, about nine years old. He walked within inches of the bundled-up man, and openly stared as he passed by. I could sense his questions and childish wonder - why is this man here? why does he have nowhere to live? why does no one look at him? why doesn't he look at me? It seems we grow out of those questions and formulate our educated opinions which make us comfortable with doing nothing, at least very little. But the child challenges us to look again, to stare impolitely and perhaps meet the gaze of poverty. I don't have an answer, but that doesn't mean I forget the question.

There's a song by Jason Upton I recently rediscovered called "Power in Poverty." It stares impolitely into my heart and desires.

There’s a power in poverty that breaks principalities
That brings the authorities down to their knees
There’s a brewing frustration and ageless temptation
To fight for control by some manipulation

The God of the kingdoms and God of the nations
The God of creation sends this revelation
Through the homeless and penniless Jesus the Son
The poor will inherit the Kingdom to come

Where will we turn when our world falls apart
And all of the treasures we’ve stored in our barns
Can’t buy the Kingdom of God?
Who will we praise when we’ve praised all our lives
Men who build kingdoms and men who build fame
But heaven does not know their names?
What will we fear when all that remains
Is God on His throne, with a child in His arms, and love in His eyes
And the sound of His heart cries?


I see you through the smog
A fierce orb of plasmatic glory
Our pollution puts you in a new light
You glow through the dark
Wasted breath catches in our throats
To render worship speechless

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