Poem For An Endangered Planet

(On the occasion of the 2019 U.N. Climate Change Summit)

SCRIPTURE FOR THE DECREATION

Let the white bear hunt a new home.
Its home hold no memory of place.
Let the swelling bellies of oceans sink shoreline
in wild jaws of hurricaned bays.
While hurt whales weep for the coral collapsing
like dust.

Let burning eyes fix on red embers of forests.
The black soil abandon scarred fields.
Let heated plains harden like crusts of old bread
and blossoms cry out for the bees.
While hope fails in houses on highways surrendered
to dust.

Let the meltwater mountains go numb in their nakedness.
Let wind wail the dirges for earth.
In the snap of the bones of the shattering ice sheets
let listeners at last learn the words.
While birds ask of butterflies stricken, directionless
as dust.

Then let those who can, when rain pounds like punches
and marshes march into city streets
to meet rivers gray with the gathered grief,
stagger from stunned vehicles,
cross the drowned doorsteps
and recall, as the split wood its tree,
that they are dust.

Copyright ©2019 by Andrew King

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 5, Yr C)

GOSPEL WITHOUT WALLS
(Acts 11: 1-18; John 13: 31-35)

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall. . .” – Robert Frost

Some One there is who ever loves us all,
whose grace declares none of us unclean,
in whose life and death barriers come down:
Jesus is one who doesn’t love a wall.

To love our neighbour, near and far, our call,
and more: to love as Jesus loved, for that,
he stated, truly marks his followers.
Jesus is one who doesn’t love a wall.

And this Peter discovered in the fall
of a rigid prejudice held so long
only the voice of God could shake it loose –
our Lord is one who doesn’t love a wall.

May this, too, be our vision, seeing all
as God sees, undivided by our fears,
resentments, our old sinful selfishness,
God-graced to share the gospel without walls.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Last Sunday Of Epiphany – The Transfiguration (Yr C)

AWAKEN US
(Luke 9: 28-36)
“. . .but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory”

Awaken us.

Awaken us in the fall of the snow, the drop of the rain,
      the crash of the rolling thunder.
Awaken us in the song of the bird, the laugh of the child,
      the gentle hug from another.

Awaken us in the flick of the fish, the leap of the fox,
      the lean of the weeping willow.
Awaken us in the sift of the breeze, the lift of the hymn,
      the gift of a bed and pillow.

Awaken us in the peal of the bell, the coffee’s smell,
      the feel of running water.
Awaken us in the starlight’s gleam, the hot meal’s steam,
      the flash of the diving otter.

Awaken us in the eagle’s flight, the mountain’s height,
      the joy of the talk with a friend.
Awaken us in early morning calm, the medicine’s balm,
      the quiet of evening’s end.

Awaken us in the sip of wine, the warm sunshine,
      the colour of leaves in autumn.
Awaken us in the caring word, the truth that’s heard,
      the fragrance of spreading blossoms.

Awaken us far, awaken us near,
      awaken us with your story.
Awaken us from where we have come to be here,
      awakened to all your glory.

Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King

Poem for The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +17, Yr B)

THE LOVE THAT EMBRACES ALL OF US
(Mark 9: 30-37)

Jesus welcomes the children
The light is passed from face to face
as if from flower to flower
as children, hand in hand, race
to greet the one in whose embrace
the smallest finds acceptance.   Power

is not so often used to serve the weak,
the under-valued vulnerable,
the helpless. But Jesus seeks
his followers to bend to serve, speaks
of being welcomed among the little

and the least; welcoming the very One
who sent him. Have we yearned
for greatness? Here it is, among
these shining faces; and in Christ’s gentle song,
the love that embraces all of us, unearned.


Image: JESUS MAFA. Jesus welcomes the children, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +16, Yr B)

AND THOSE WHO LOSE THEIR LIFE WILL SAVE IT
(Mark 8: 27-38)

I opened the curtain this morning:
the sun was giving itself away
with a brilliant smile.

I walked by a stream this morning:
the water was giving itself away
with a gentle song.

I greeted a friend this morning:
joy was giving itself away
with the warmth of touch.

I thought of your cross this morning:
how you gave yourself away
in holy love.

May I become such grain this morning:
living in what is given away
for another’s bread.

A Poem For My Father – III

PICTURES
(Robert M.C. King: April 9, 1926 – August 7, 2015)

A friend told me once how, waking to her house on fire,
she and her husband grabbed the photo albums first.
She said, “You can replace everything but memories.”

At your visitation, Dad, we had the photo displays
and the Powerpoint slideshow, a few of the pictures taken
in your younger years: you in your Boy Scout uniform,

delivering a speech at the Boys’ Parliament, a few
of you as a young husband and father, ever smiling,
your blonde hair wavy and full. But most of the photos

were post-polio, the hair all but vanished but not your smile;
there you were at weddings, graduations, reunions,
posing with dogs and grandkids, wearing the paper hats,

enjoying every party. Good memories. But what I would
have given, Dad, had I the power of omniscience,
the power to have foreseen this day and event,

to have hidden a camera inside my pocket on just one
of those Sundays you preached in our little village church,
the light from the pink and yellow windows falling

on your blue choir robe as you went from pulpit to choir
and back again, your limp not slowing you down,
your voice lifting clear and strong, the notes

for your sermon scratched on scraps in pencil;
the moment, if not the words, etching into my mind
where no fire of distance, no flame of time,

can ever diminish such memory’s pleasure.

Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +7, Yr B)

THE APPROACHING
(Mark 6: 14-29)

Lamp light catches the edge of the sword
just before its swing
and for an instant John has
a memory of sunlight
dancing on water
and droplets glittering in air
as his hands poured Jordan
over the bowed head of one
who, standing there,
has brought all hope
into one sharp focus,
and he smiles,
his heart already soaring
toward the approaching dove
as the blade begins to descend.