We are slaves

We are slaves, sometimes willing,
of another slave who was always willing.
He willed a world of beauty and of love.
We willed that those who had been blessed
would be commensurately generous.
He willed that old people
would learn the way of delight
from their children;
that we who are of middle years
might learn wisdom from those
who had reflected deep and long;
and that children might learn the way of peace
from those who had passed
through the time of struggle.
He willed that the blind
might see clearly with their hearts;
that the deaf might hear the deep calling
of their strange and silent God;
that the dumb might song a song, true
and without words;
that the lame might gavotte
in life’s abundant dance.
He willed that we might follow,
as love’s obedient slaves;
with pain and sweat and tears and joy,
until it is done,
on earth.

© Ken Rookes

Other posts for the coming Sunday can be found here and here

Kyrie Eleison

Lamentations 1:1-6

Painting a forlorn landscape

with hopeless dirty greys, weeping browns

and shadows so persistent

that lamenting inhabitants are seen barely,

merely wide-eyes faintly visible in darkness,

fearful, indistinguishable from animals

cowering bewildered, not comprehending

what they might have done

to deserve such desolation.

So the painter prophet called Jeremiah

pours upon his parchment canvas

the bleak and bloody fulfilment

of the sins of a people.

Were he a contemporary artist

two and a half millennia later,

Jeremiah might use a similar palette

of dust and blood

to portray peoples

who share dark pain and bitterness.

In Afghanistan, North Africa, Iraq, Syria,*

and any of a score of nations

we find them,

reaping the cruel costs of fear

and the sins of the world.

In Australia, too, having sold compassion

for the price of cheap comfort,

we join Jeremiah’s pitiful queue,

desperately hoping for refuge

and a glimmer of grace.

Kyrie eleison.

*Insert your own current places of fear and terror.

© Ken Rookes
Other poems for next Sunday can be found here and here.


The great Apostle
wasn’t much good at spin,
nor would he ever have been elected
to the position
had apostleship been subject to
democratic processes.
“Join me in suffering
for the gospel,” he writes
in a policy speech to his young acolyte;
seemingly oblivious to the oxymoron
that many good people see in that
brief invitation.
Yes, folks; that’s what discipleship
can do for you, too!
Out the window with that ‘prosperity’ stuff;
if you want a world of justice,
truth and love,
it looks like we’re in for the hard slog.
Not quite the good news we were expecting;
might as well vote for higher taxes,
while we’re at it.

© Ken Rookes 2013
More poems for next Sunday can be found here and here.

If they do not listen

If they do not listen,
if the warnings go unheeded
the war will not be ended,
the climate goes on changing,
the poor will always languish,
the wealthy will never let go,
the raucous will not be silent,
kings will still raise armies,
and cheats will keep up their long established practice
by moving their headquarters off-shore.
Miners will make their holes ever larger,
generals will keep sending soldiers to their death,
politicians will compromise for the sake of cheap opinion,
the rich will pay less taxes,
the beggars will not go away.
Desperate people will travel once more on boats,
bullies will have their way,
children will be hurt again,
and mothers will weep
while fathers are immobilised by guilt.
If they do not listen,
love will fall into ruin,
truth will be vanquished,
and the memory of hope is lost. 

© Ken Rookes 2013

The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved

Jeremiah 8:20

The season for salvation
came and apparently passed
with no-one noticing.
We were distracted, captivated
by the wonder and glory
of the collective reflections
in our gazing pool. There is darkness
all around, still it does not bother us
whilst there is even the palest light;
flickering, yet sufficient to see our own
beautiful but blinkered eyes.
There was, supposedly, a season
for repentance, too;
but for that to be effective
there needs to be an acknowledgement
of the reality of the darkness,
and we would rather not know.
Anxiously feigning bravado,
we gather in our harvest
and boast about its yield,
blissfully unaware of its bitter nature.
The summer has ended,
and our time of harvest moves
inexorably to a Narnian winter,
wherein we will whisper the rumours
of Gilead’s springtime promise
with yearning, tears
and lamentation. 

© 2010 Ken Rookes

Another poem for Sunday can be found here.

Two masters

Surely Jesus was wrong
with his misconceived diatribes
against wealth and possessions.
He was making some heavy-handed points,
and we all understand that in the heat
of vigorous debate, one is prone
to exaggeration and hyperbole.
It’s not that possessions are wrong, per se;
it’s more that in the wrong hands,
(the self-centred and unenlightened),
the preoccupation with money and wealth
can be something of a distraction.
It doesn’t really apply to us;
we know how to deal with it.
I’m sure that if Jesus was here today
he would recognise the sheer necessity
of wise investments,
a solid superannuation plan,
and a dwelling that adequately reflects
the needs of modern living.
You and I would never let such matters
determine our priorities, or intrude
into our spiritual lives, would we?
No, I’m sure that Jesus wasn’t referring to us,
and that he was simply, at times, guilty
of a little overstatement.
A lot of times, actually.
© Ken Rookes

Another poem fopr Sunday can be found here.