About poemsinseason

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.


Haiku of grace

Martha and Mary:
the sisters receive Jesus
and make him welcome.

Someone has to cook the food,
Marha is busy.

On the other hand,
Mary is quite indolent,
list’ning to Jesus.

A gen’rous spirit
is key to any welcome,
but Martha complains.

Lord, do you not care?
she protests, asking Jesus
to judge between them.

It’s all right, he says.
Mary hears my words of grace;
you should listen, too.

Jesus’ correction
is not without affection.
One thing is needed.

It’s about choices,
every day we make them;
choose grace ev’ry time.


© Ken Rookes 2019


The lawyer’s question

Haiku for heroes

The lawyer’s question;
a test of orthodoxy,
unconcerned for truth.

What does the law say?
Love God and love your neighbour.
Now that’s a big ask!

The lawyer wants rules
to define loving’s limits.
Which ones must I love?

A Samaritan,
much despised, is made hero
in Jesus’ story.

Maligned foreigners,
and other ratbags, become
heroes through their love.

The Samaritan
is Muslim, refugee, and
other suspect folk

Unlikely heroes
confront our own shortcomings.
Best discard this tale.

The lawyer concedes
Yes, love is the way to life,
true and eternal.

Here alone is life!
Like Jesus told the Lawyer:
Go and do the same!

© Ken Rookes 2019

Sent ahead

Haiku for mission

Seventy, there were,
in pairs, sent ahead of him
with a word of peace.

Jesus said to them,
The harvest is plentiful,
we must bring it in.

Be a labourer.
Tell of the kingdom’s good news;
touch them with new life.

You will be like lambs;
vulnerable. It’s all right;
that’s the way it is.

Those who follow me
must deal with hostility.
It is always so.

Travel light; no bag,
no purse. Don’t be distracted
from the work of peace.

Some will welcome you.
Stay with them, be satisfied.
Bring healing, breathe hope.

It is coming near,
God’s kingdom; we’re bringing it.
This is a great work.

Rejoining Jesus
they spoke with joy and wonder
of what they had seen.


© Ken Rookes 2019

With time running out

Haiku for decisions

With time running out
Jesus knew that he must go
to Jerusalem.

The company came
to a Samaritan town,
but they were rebuffed.

Why Jerusalem?
If you’re only passing through
don’t bother to stay.

We should punish them;
call down fire! said James and John.
Jesus rebuked them.

I will follow you,
a man said. Foxes have holes,
but I am homeless.

I will follow you,
a man said, but I must wait
for father to die.

The dead must bury
their own. Leave them, you must go
proclaim God’s kingdom.

I will follow you,
but first I must say farewell
to my family.

To plough a straight line
you cannot keep looking back;
likewise the kingdom.


© Ken Rookes 2019


Gerasene country

Haiku for crazy people

Gerasene country:
among the tombs and the swine,
the broken man roams.

Naked to the world,
cut off from society
he is in torment.

With shackles and chains
they have tried to restrain him.
The man is too strong.

When Jesus arrives
Legion comes to confront him,
bringing his demons.

Whether it’s demons,
mental illness, brain damage;
he still needs healing.

The swine dash headlong
into the lake, carrying
dark spirits with them.

The towns-people came
and found the man clothed and sane,
sitting with Jesus.

Please leave us Jesus,
it’s all too much, we’re frightened!
So he departed.

Let me come with you,
the man begged. No, said Jesus,
Go, declare God’s deeds.

So the man went home
restored; to live, to love, and
to tell his story.


© Ken Rookes 2019

One and three.

Grappling haiku

They call it myst’ry
this trinity thing, holding
concepts in tension.

After all these years
still don’t really get it.
I don’t think God minds.

Think how Parent God,
with Jesus and the Spirit,
strangely coalesce.

One God, three persons,
traditional formula:
all else heresy!

Does our imagined
God monitor errant thoughts;
scoring our faith?

Perhaps I also
am heretic. Woe is me!
Or does it matter?

The truth that matters:
God somehow strangely present
in our loving deeds.

O Holy Spirit,
Divine Parent and His Son,
let me live in you.


© Ken Rookes 2019

The Spirit will come

Haiku of promise

They sing lots of songs,
sweet romantic songs of love,
to Jesus on high.

Do you cringe at them,
those romantic songs of love,
Jesus, Son of Man?

If we love Jesus
it’s not about singing songs,
but obedience.

Pouring his Spirit
on the ones who prove their love,
doing what he says.

The Spirit will come
to abide in and with you,
present in my place.

He stands beside you,
an advocate and teacher,
recalling my words.

I give you my peace,
my Spirit and my presence
to guide your living.

When the troubles come
let your hearts rise above them;
do not be afraid.


© Ken Rookes 2019