Ascension

The way Luke tells the story
in his two-volumed tome,
the ascension and resurrection of our Lord
was really the one event,
neatly book-ended by the two men
dressed in dazzling white
who sneak up suddenly beside the disciples.
I presume that the need for two figures
is to avoid the possibility that, if there were only
one, he might confused with
the risen Lord himself.
Handy with their rhetorical questions,
the men become a useful literary device,
proceeding to explain to Jesus’ followers
what is really happening.
The ascension is an awkward story, really;
necessitated by a physical resurrection,
and the subsequent need to dispose of a body.
This, in turn, is required by Luke and Matthew
to give apparent substance to the reality
and wonder of divine presence, experienced
long beyond the days when Jesus walked
and worked and lived among them,
recklessly living out his message
of all-conquering love. It is experienced
still. John does not concern himself
with the ascension, and Mark,
at least in his shorter ending,
is prepared to settle for the ambiguity
of an empty tomb.
 

© Ken Rookes

If you love me

If you love me

There must be at least fifty ways
to declare your love.
Some decide to sing it,
shaping it with verse and melody
into a song, beautiful and profound;
or, borrowing words from a poet,
recite it with drama and passion.
Others make it into a dance,
enacting with rhythm and movement
the intentions of heart and mind.
You might employ the red swelling bud of a rose,
perhaps a ring crafted from gold, or silver;
or even chocolates, hand-made and wrapped in foil.
You can spray it, multi-hued, upon a waiting wall,
whisper it in private by the glow of a candle,
shout it, unashamed, with joy;
or weave it into a cheerful scarf.
You could write it with a roller pen;
if you prefer, use quill and ink
on parchment paper, with X-es on the bottom.
It can be painted with pixels,
pulsating with light on the screen of a computer;
you might post it in a blog,
solicit lots of likes on Facebook,
or even print it off and pop it in the mail.
You might make a clever video,
upload it to Youtube, and hope that it goes viral.
Your message of affection can be carved earnestly
into the bark of a tree,
or spelled out in a blooming daffodil surprise,
emerging from the earth when Spring comes.
You could raise your arms
to the swelling chords of an electric organ,
with fingers splayed towards the imagined heavens;
or speak of your devotion ecstatically
in the languages of angels.
But in the end,
neither the words
nor the manner of their expression
seem to amount to much at all;
If you love me, the Carpenter said,
you will do what I say.  

© Ken Rookes 2014

Willowra Haiku

Willowra Haiku

1
Warlpiri children;
matchstick legs, wild and crazy,
nothing can stop them.
 
2
Leaves shining greenly
over white curved limbs and trunks;
sharp against blue sky.
 
3
Wandering freely
among the trees and grasses;
braying in the night.
 
4
Curious canines
squeeze cleverly through fences
to be shown the gate.
 
5
Bakes the bare red ground,
unrelenting through the day;
fading in the west.
 
6
Corrugated dust
blows red to the horizon
taking us closer.
 
7

Front seat passenger
nodding weary, eyes closing;
who will spot the cows?
 
8
White Brahman stands still,
raises her unconcerned head,
makes us drive around.
 
9
Yapa children climb
twisted limbs, probing hollows;
no chick is secure.
 
10
River filled with sand,
home to buried frogs, waiting;
will it come this year?
 
11
Sorry business camp;
seated in red dust, white ash,
wailing songs and tears.
 
12
When the rains have come
grass shoots quickly tall and green,
pollen makes me sneeze.
 
13
Children wander free,
no fences can constrain them;
mischief guaranteed.
 
14
Gecko of the night,
toes splayed in vertical grip,
darts across the screen.
 
 
© Ken Rookes 2014

The house with many rooms

At home
in the house with many rooms;
the writer of the fourth gospel crafts
a joyous and welcoming picture
of oneness with God,
(however she/he is conceived).
An image of the hereafter?
Perhaps;
I used to read it that way.
 
At home
in a God who is called love,
and with a God at home in us.
At one with creation, generous and true,
woven into and emerging from
the dusty fibre of our fragile planet.
There may be life somewhere else,
but we do not know it.
United into the great body of humankind,
one with our neighbours,
our sisters and brothers.
One in faith, one in doubt;
joined together in the shared pain,
the struggles, the tears and the fear.
Hoping anyway.
 
At home
in this house with many rooms;
but not quite.
 

© Ken Rookes 2014

Shepherds and doors

Shepherds and doors

So many doors,
colours, sizes, shapes;
some swing from the left,
others from the right,
some slide.
Inwards opening,
outwards swinging;
so many choices.
Which doors are for me?
Will it be the journey within,
beyond,
or both?

The fourth gospel
designates the Good Shepherd
as the gate, a door through which
his sheep might enter into life.
When I passed through that door,
many years ago,
I was told by some earnest
sisters and brothers
that there were certain doors
to be avoided
for fear of one’s eternal life.
These well-meaning friends
insisted that those who travel
through such doors will be lost.

So many doors,
so many dangers.
I went through one anyway.
Had to;
too many questions,
too many doubts.
And maybe,
just perhaps,
notwithstanding all the warnings,
it was the Shepherd
who was waiting at the other side.

© Ken Rookes 2014