Magnificat: a haiku sequence

Haiku for a revolution

A young teenager,
so the ancient story says,
offered up a song.

The girl is with child;
this is a thing of wonder,
of hope and of joy.

Nobody special,
she is God’s lowly servant;
humble, accepting.

Magnifying God,
she sang with praise, rejoicing
at God’s strange favour.

Mercy unconfined,
across the generations,
for those who trust God.

God’s strength surprises
to scatter the great and proud
in their vanity.

From their noble thrones
the powerful are brought down.
Let the day come close.

The poor, down-trodden;
these will be elevated
to God’s chosen place.

The hungry will eat,
they will dine upon good food;
the rich will miss out.

From this young girl’s lips
came words of revolution.
Most disconcerting.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

 

When John heard in prison

Haiku of enquiry

We missed you, Baptist;
your amusing desert rants
made us think again.

The authorities
were less amused; took offense,
waited for their chance.

If you’d stopped and thought
you might have backed off, instead
you’re locked in prison.

So you sent your mates
to find out what’s happening.
They seek out Jesus.

They ask: are you he,
the one we are expecting,
or do we still wait?

Open up your eyes,
what do you see, and hear
as you look about?

The blind see again,
lepers are being made clean,
the lame are walking.

And as for the poor,
they’re hearing the good news
with joy and with hope.

Go, tell the prophet
that God’s kingdom has come near.
Tell him: be at peace.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

Prepare a path

Haiku of readiness

The Baptiser came;
a voice, calling, defiant.
Preparing a path.

In the wilderness;
broken stones and tangled weeds
of human despair.

Through the wilderness
one is coming to bring hope;
a way must be found.

It is drawing near,
this strange kingdom of light, life
and revolution.

Make yourselves ready,
bring forth the repentance fruits;
grace and compassion.

Through the scrub he comes
with his words of love and life;
most unexpected.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

The day is not known

Haiku for watching and waiting

The day is not known,
nor can the hour be guessed at;
the accounting time.

The days of Noah;
doing our everyday things,
expecting the same.

Eating and drinking,
marrying – things to be done
as our lives proceed.

The mythical flood
comes to change everything,
surprising us all.

Fearful images;
one is taken, one is left.
The day is not known.

Keep awake, therefore.
You don’t know when the thief comes.
You must be prepared.

The Son of Man comes
when we are not expecting;
the accounting time.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

The place called the skull

haiku for those who scoff.

It is called The Skull,
this place where problems are fixed
in time-honoured ways.

Bodies are broken
and causes brought to an end,
Hopes meet their nadir.

People standing by
join their leaders’ scoffing cries.
Soldiers also mock.

The man saved others;
if he is God’s chosen one,
let him save himself!

Not much sympathy
from one who also hangs there;
he joins the mockers

Are you not the Christ?
Save yourself! While you’re at it
spare a thought for us.

The third man protests:
He’s not deserving of this!
Asks: Remember me.

Not permitting pain
to determine love’s limits,
Jesus answers: Yes.

© Ken Rookes 2016

End time warnings

End-time warnings are stock-in-trade for the literalists
who delight in making pronouncements on behalf of the almighty.
These words tell of the fragility of human existence,
of the imperative to mend our ways,
and of the need to be ready.

Accusations, betrayal, hatred, death!
(Rest assured, not a hair of your head will perish!
Work that one out.)
Wars, earthquakes, famines, plagues
and other portents!

I was never much interested in eschatological speculations.
And yet with the planet soon to bake in an atmospheric oven,
and life as we know it most likely changing for ever,
Darwin may yet prevail. If not over the Almighty,
then at least over the self-declared faithful.

All those biblical warnings about end-times
are conveniently ignored by those who doubt the science
and who also refuse to pay the cost.
It seems that the temple and the planet might both be cast down,
neither of which would appear to have much hope of restoration.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

In the resurrection, therefore.

Nine haiku for us sceptics

The Saducees ask
good questions: What does it mean:
resurrection life?

They already know
there is no life hereafter;
but does the teacher?

In the age to come?
The question is audacious;
It won’t be like that!

God of Abraham,
God of Isaac and Jacob;
life with God goes on.

God of the living
with whom those who have long passed
share resurrection.

There can be no death
for those who find life in God;
they are God’s children.

Jesus spoke of life
washed with eternal purpose.
They will die no more.

The disciple knows
that resurrection living
happens here on earth.

Can a Sadducee
also be a disciple?
Would that be all right?

 

© Ken Rookes 2016