Category Archives: Poems

Pussy willow

This poem has taken more than a decade to come of age.  I found the archeological remains literally on the back of a torn, empty A4 envelope a few weeks ago, and this evening inspiration has flown in from wherever it dwells to bring the dry bones to life….  I began to write it on a Valentine’s Day, feeling single and a little unloved.  The rest you can discern for yourself.

Lithe brown branches
soft silk budlets
fountain-fluff beside the river…
There it pussy-willows-12-3-_0913was: the pussy willow
ranged in swathes of soft profusion.

You, the lover of my spirit,
dwelling in my deepest dreamings,
left a valentine of silver
like a favour on a pillow –

wordless tender consolation.

No red rose or gold-clasped locket
could have rendered sweeter meaning.
Here an unforeseen encounter,
in the shape of pussy willow,
with the Lord of all creation.




Foreseeing: Mary pondered these things in her heart

Foreseeing: a Christmas reflection Luke 2:19

At the Bath and Wells Clergy Gathering Matt Harvey our poet-in-residence talked to us about the Norwegian concept of ‘kenning’.  I’d never heard of it before – the art of ‘describing a physical object in terms of its properties, abilities, attainments or effects’ (thanks, Steve Tilley).  I realised I’d written a kenning piece at theological college several years ago for Morning Prayer and I’ve adapted it today so it can act as a reflection for a carol service (you can use more than one voice if you like to give it more colour)…

Life giver bread breaker storm sleeper blame taker

Scroll reader mask exposer sheep steerer wave treader

Temple razer truth wielder light exuder crowd amazer

Life enhancer, drinker, dancer

Cross bearer dazzle wearer law lover wine renewer

Story weaver, hurt healer, death drinker, God revealer

Lone lamb finder, Satan binder

Sight restorer, desert victor, sin forgiver, hymn singer

Dawn-light pray-er, bondage breaker, bone straightener, peacemaker….

Bubbling up with joy river

Death defeater, grace ladler, never sinner,  heart burner

Tempest husher, Spirit breather, show stealer, table turner…..

Mary worships.

Baby cries.

All the future in their eyes.