Responding

I wrote this in September, after reading a small part of Jürgen Moltmann’s “The Trinity and the Kingdom”. Never has a piece of theology hit me with such force. I re-offer it for this week’s meditating.

It is dark, dark night.

Take this cup – suddenly in the dark

it is too awful. But the warm tide

is receding into the dark

and the cold sweat of emptiness

takes its place. The desperate words

fall unheeded on the stony ground.

Withdrawn in a point of light

God has no ears, only pain

and tight-focussed squeezing of the great

love now raw and bright

above Golgotha. The night is past

but dark remains, and emptiness.

A searing cry bruises the great mind

drenched in the pain of loss and

separation – and this is done

for me, this hellish loss, this bruising …

so that I can see, can understand,

am not forsaken. It is too much.

Too much for me. Too much.

©C.M.M.

Prayer partner

Not a new poem, but one written out of a powerful experience of shared prayer.

And as she wrestled her

headlong thoughts into

focus, strong hands

enfolded and controlled

as if invisible reins

had felt a master’s touch.

And for a timeless space

the shared prayer streamed

beneath the virgin’s gaze

to join the glass-note song

that pierces with its love.

We prayed, you and I,

as the virgin watched.

That much was clear.

But did you know

the turbulence calmed,

the weakness held,

the prayer borne up

on the warmth of your

silent companionship?

I think she know, awaiting

the sword that pierced her soul.

©C.M.M.

Nevada desert

Enormous events have taken place in desert places. Some have been spiritual, some confrontational, some solitary, some involving huge armies. But the desert itself remains, and the silence remains when all else is gone. My experience of desert came in Nevada. I loved the promise of the silence, but shrank from the memory of the nuclear testing which had taken place there. It was as if I was encountering my own devils in God’s silence.

So this is a desert. Grey dust
stretches for miles to rumpled hills –
dust peppered with puffs of thorn
and punctuated by tall spiked shapes.
A heavy silence presses on the ears
which pound in answer as the blood
rushes round. There is no other sound.
No bird sings, no creeping thing
rustles the dry leaves, no water
drips or seeps. The huge pale sky
is windless, and the straight road
an empty slash to the far haze.
God, we are small. But in this place
man became so huge that worlds quake,
in the hideous paradox of size
destroying with the particles of God:
creators of deserts still to be.

©C.M.M.

Invitation

Come, my children, walk with me
through this desert, through the dust,
clasp my hands – you will not fall –
and sing your sweet songs on the road;
bid your loved companions follow
where the daybreak lights the sky.
I will take you onward to
the places you could never dream
until we come to that lone hill
where trees stand black against the light,
their shadow crossed upon the sand
and there your hearts will break and mend
and come forth stronger than you knew.
No, do not weep, my child – not now;
my road will not seem hard at first
and you will know both joy and fear
until the end when through your tears
you see around you flowers of hope
and know that journey’s end is love.

© C.M.M. 03/09

The Visit

This was written during another Lent, in the arid region of Central Otago, in New Zealand’s South Island. The prayer at the time was one almost of protest because it had become all too apparent that the friend with whom I was staying would not live long. It strikes me that there was a similarity between my reaction and the reaction of Peter in this Sunday’s gospel – but the result of that afternoon’s “visit” was acceptance, and peace.

Today I sat late
And the light was different
But a light glowed in my soul
Painfully, almost choking
So that my breathing stopped
As if to listen to the pain
And God was in the hot wind
From the bare hills
As the sun beat on the dry grass
And a rainbow shone through my tears.

©C.M.M.