Ken is a poet and an artist, among other things. He is also a Minister of the Uniting Church in Australia. In 2011 he self-published a book of poetry, Promptings and Provocations.
Ken currently lives in California Gully, Victoria. He is working out how to use his time in retirement, mostly through poetry and art. From 2013 - 2015, he lived at Willowra, a remote Warlpiri community in the Northern Territory, where his wife, Jane was School Principal.
Most of Ken's poems are responses to the three-year lectionary cycle of bible readings. An exploration of posts from three / six years earlier should reveal other poems responding to the same readings.
Days of darkness, days of fear. The sun is hidden, Even the moon directs its light elsewhere, bending its rays away from planet earth. The stars absent themselves, as if there is not yet enough darkness. Theshadows expand and creep to embrace the forlorn landscape, growing warmer every day.
The Son of Man, they say, comes in the clouds to gather the elect. Does he?
There are signs for those who can read, but the good christian folk cannot see them, having found more earthly distractions. The fig tree’s lessons have been forgotten.
The generation did, in fact, pass away, as have hundreds since Must have got it wrong.
His words, Mark tells us, will remain for all time. The good christians all concur, but find it hard to agree on which ones.
The story tells us that the master will return at an inconvenient hour. The faithful servants will not be fazed.
A flashing, fleeting, sometimes disturbing
insight into mystery;
leaned towards, grasped after,
shared, delighted in
and meditated upon.
It becomes a source of joy and hope and healing;
yes, and then it is argued and debated,
memorised, written, codified, engraved,
painted, and sculpted in stone.
Thus religions begin,
and transmute into sacred edifices.
In the normal course,
through the operation of time,
they are made tame, domesticated, polite.
Gaining respectability, they proceed
to participate in the intricate processes
of politics and power.
Thus the Teacher confronts
and warns against the Scribes
and the Pharisees who justify and defend
the religion of their day.
His own humble insights
will follow the same tragic trajectory
through two millennia,
to be perverted by power
and sad politics.
Would that we had the courage
and the determination to free them;
to paint coarsely, across pretending walls
of bluestone, brick, and glass,
his ancient but not quite forgotten message.
A word sprayed defiantly
for neighbour and for enemy,
or scrawled urgently in humble chalk;
into a religion of comfortable raised hands
and reassurance that I,
out of all humanity,
(you too, of course);
have a reserved place
in some imagined paradise.
Soft and cloying.
He spoke of sacrifice and love.
giving stuff away.
Of taking the rejection
And of dying.
Love for neighbour,
With a ratbag foreigner
made the hero
of a story about love.
Baptism into death,
and the cup of suffering.
Not much that can be recognised
in this baptised into prosperity
fearful of strangers
it’s all about me
Sunday religion of happiness and satisfaction;
while the planet grows hotter,
the innocent are brutalised,
and the wealthy grow even fatter
and more obscene.