Listening and watching

pausing from piles of paper

Spiegel im Spiegel

a cello and a piano

slowly thoughtfully


a hand lifts slowly

in the air


then gently hits the key

but it is in the pauses

that the beauty lies

and then

a touch on my shoulder

a paw tentatively rests

and pauses


have you forgotten that I’m here?

she watches the pianist

and his balletic hand

pause and listen

I tell her

listen to the pauses

that’s where the music lies.



Attende Domine.

One of the great joys of Lent for me is The Lent Prose.  I first heard it when I went to a very High Anglican Church at University and ever since then, Lent just doesn’t feel “right” unless we sing it every Sunday!  It’s words are a striking challenge: “Hear us O Lord, have mercy upon us, for we have sinned against thee.”  It focuses us outwards, acknowledging our weakness and need of a power greater than ourselves.  The stress is less on introspection and more on simply asking God for grace.  It creates what I can best describe as a “mood” of penitence with which I can engage.


Mood is an under-rated aspect of spirituality.  Too often we present spirituality as words or thoughts.  Or as imaginings.  Creating a mood uses our sub-conscious which can affect us more deeply than words or pictures.  Mood can be created by place, music, vision or smell.  It is part of a holistic spirituality, embracing the totality of our being – body mind and spirit.  Perhaps we can get in the mood for receiving Divine grace today if we listen to the mood music of Christian liturgy in Lent?


I have again joined a choir. I love singing with a choir. In normal life singing is an elitist occupation – the X Factor hopefuls alternately lauded and then derided. Our society does not seem to have a place in general for tuneful singing.
But then there are choirs. Some choirs are elitist, selective of their members. I have been in such, sneaking in under the radar. My present choir has an open door policy. I look around and see a cross-section of adult society – teenage students to those whose age has made them careful as they walk. And met together for a single purpose – to weave voices together under the direction of our choirmaster. In so doing they become so much more than their individual efforts.