Missing out: a haiku sequence

The tax-collectors
come to listen to his words;
he greets them as friends.

The righteous grumble
while the Pharisees complain;
avoid such sinners.

He tells a story
of a father with two sons;
weeping for them both.

One son travels far,
he wastes the family’s wealth
then he smartens up.

His dad is waiting,
not in anger but in love;
calls for a party.

They are reconciled.
Love, forgiveness, grace; these three
renew our living.

The older brother
is unimpressed. He reckons
he’s been missing out.

“These years I have slaved,”
the son complains “And for what?”
“It’s all yours,” says dad.

“I wept for my son
when he was lost. Now he’s back;
we have to party!”

We are all the same;
the worry of missing out
extinguishes love.


© Ken Rookes 2016





Jerusalem Lament

A haiku sequence

Unconcerned Jesus,
ignoring the monarch’s threats;
he will not retreat.

Jesus the reckless,
challenging Herod the fox;
continues his work.

He is on his way.
His calling nears fulfilment.
Next, Jerusalem.

Sad Jerusalem!
City of wailing and death;
here’s one more prophet.

Mother-hen Jesus
weeping for the absent ones;
those who will not come.

Watch! One is coming,
touched by the divine Spirit;
you will cry ‘blessed!’

© Ken Rookes 2016

In the wilderness

There must be a thousand temptations,
any dozen of which assail us
in any given twenty-four hour period.
Each one is subtly different,
but when we collect them
and place them under a microscope
we find that they all share the same essential DNA;
that they have all evolved from the one stem.
Power, wealth, comfort,
(I must have that!)
To be left alone to enjoy a peaceful existence,
(somebody else’s problem, not mine /
I’ve done my bit / am I my brother’s keeper?)
To be free from pain, suffering
(and therefore to forsake the work of love).
These, and the countless others,
all share in the same evolutionary taxonomy.
One, three or a thousand,
we all face our temptations,
every day.
Like Jesus in his forty-day wilderness struggle,
and through the years that followed.
Every day we face our temptations
and hope that, like him,
we can overcome.


© Ken Rookes 2016

What should we do?


After this, a group of politicians brought a family before Jesus to accuse them.

family 2 sm

“We caught these foreigners crossing our borders without permission,” their leader said. “How should we deal with them?”

“What do your laws say?” he asked them.

“Our laws permit us to send them far away, where they can be locked up among barbed wire, mosquitoes and despair,” said the leader.

“What have you to say for yourselves?” Jesus asked the family.

The man stepped forward. “Our land was filled with fear and fighting,” he said.

His wife stood at his side, as the children clung to her. “We gathered what we could and fled. We came here hoping to find a place of refuge; where our children could be safe and grow and thrive.”

“There!” exclaimed a woman. “You have heard it from their own lips, they deserve to be sent away. What do you say, Teacher?”

Jesus crouched, and drew with his finger in the dust.
Then he stood, looked about him and spoke.
“Let the one who has never feared an election defeat be the one who turns the key.”

The crowd became enraged. They seized him and handled him roughly.

Their leader spoke. “You are nothing but a bleeding-heart lefty!” he said. “What would you know?”

Then they cast him headlong into a ditch; and dragged the family away.

Some other people saw what happened, and wept for shame. They went looking for Jesus. He was sitting on the side of the ditch, wiping the blood from his face.

“This is all wrong,” they said. “What should we do?”

Jesus stood up. Looking into their eyes he embraced each one, and said, simply, “Everything. We must do everything that we can.”


© Ken Rookes 2016.

For some earlier thoughts on these matters see Haiku of Shame

Mountain Haiku Sequence

Come with me, he says
to Peter, James and John;
time to climb up high.

Mountain-top prayers
where earth and heaven come close;
connecting the two.

Wonder and light. Ah,
these things take away one’s breath;
eyes and hearts grow wide.

Moses, Elijah
standing there, bleached and glowing;
speaking mysteries.

The one they followed
also shines, shares the wonder.
Who can this man be?

A cloud, descending,
hides the light-washed ones from view;
then the voice thunders.

It speaks approval:
He is my Son, the chosen;
listen to his words.

The cloud is lifted.
The four remain in silence,
alone with their thoughts.


Ken Rookes 2016