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.

No longer silent

We used this rap song with its response at our Schools Strike for Climate rally in Bendigo today. (We had about 700 people present) It went well, with a number of people asking for copies. Please feel free to put it to good use.

We’re ordinary people, but we’re no longer silent,
we’re shouting for some action, we’re feeling quite defiant.
don’t keep on ignoring us, we’re angry, we won’t wait,
we want some climate action now, don’t leave it all too late.

We want climate action now, and we’re not going to wait;
help save the planet for us / our kids, we hope it’s not too late.

Our so-called leaders fail to grasp the urgency and need
they ignore the science in the name of wealth and greed.
These fossil fools can’t grasp the truth, reality eludes;
the coral reefs are dying while the politics are crude.

We want climate action now, and we’re not going to wait;
help save the planet for us / our kids, we hope it’s not too late.

Don’t give us your denial, we’re tired of your lying
you only want your profits while the temperatures are rising.
We’re speaking for the insects, the mammals, birds and trees;
We’re speaking for the islands that are sinking ‘neath the seas.

We want climate action now, and we’re not going to wait;
help save the planet for us / our kids, we hope it’s not too late.

The miners keep on digging, rain forests rage and burn,
the CO2 is rising, when will we ever learn?
We’ve walked out of the classrooms, we’re taking to the streets
we’re marching for our future, we’re shouting with our feet!

We want climate action now, and we’re not going to wait;
help save the planet for us / our kids, we hope it’s not too late.


Ken Rookes 2019


Not strong enough to dig

Haiku for those who are caught.

The man was corrupt
in charge of his master’s wealth;
finally caught out.

He is in trouble,
knows that he faces charges;
what is he to do?

To ashamed to beg
and not strong enough to dig;
what a dilemma!

He’s not finished yet!
Uses what’s left of his job
to curry favour.

When he’s unemployed
he intends to be welcomed
into wealthy homes.

Cunning like a fox;
summons his master’s debtors
and discounts their debts.

The master gets wind,
laughs at the outrageousness
of his steward’s scheme.

Make friends for yourself
by means of dishonest wealth.
Strange words from Jesus.

Disturbing advice
for those who follow the light;
Should we be more shrewd?


© Ken Rookes 2019


Haiku of struggle

Jacob heads for home
hoping that time has softened
his brother’s anger.

Jacob is fearful.
He prays for deliverance,
hopes in God’s promise.

He hedges his bets:
sends his ample gift ahead
trying to appease.

Pausing for the night
Jacob buys time, putting off
the confrontation.

Sends the mob ahead,
waits alone. A man appears;
strange, mysterious.

Coming together
in a primeval contest,
Jacob fights the man.

They wrestle, Jacob
and the stranger. No one wins,
The sun is rising.

The man asks Jacob,
Let me go! Before I do
give me your blessing.

I’ll give you a name.
you have contended with God;
you are Israel.

Jacob understood;
he had wrestled with the Lord.
Somehow he survived!

Each of us wrestles
with the Lord in our own way;
we don’t often win.

© Ken Rookes 2019

Finding the lost

Haiku for fringe dwellers

The tax collectors
and all the other ratbags
listened to Jesus.

All the good people
objected: This man hangs out
with unworthy types.

He told them stories
about things that had been lost.
Now they‘re being found!.

It doesn’t matter,
sheep, coins, car keys or people;
the lost need finding.

Grace is ev’rything;
I once was lost, now I’m found.
So the old hymn goes.

The ratbag sinners,
by definition, are lost;
they need an embrace.

They dwell on the fringe;
Jesus, offers them friendship.
No one need stay lost.

Lift up your eyes. Look,
the lost are all around us;
love them like Jesus.


© Ken Rookes 2019

Laughing Boy

Haiku of surprise

Back in ancient times
God wandered with some angels,
met with Abraham.

At Abraham’s tent
the Lord was welcomed with cakes,
yoghurt, milk and veal.

The childless couple,
long past it, would have a child,
the strangers promised.

Sarah overheard,
listening near the entrance;
she laughed at the thought.

The promise mocks her.
Her childlessness is failure;
laughter hides her pain.

The impossible
is made possible, with God;
so the story says.

Sarah does conceive.
Apparently the old folk
still knew what to do.

Laughing Boy arrives.
Lots of joy, hope, and wonder,
not to mention laughs.

© Ken Rookes 2019

Haiku in response to the Narrative lectionary.

The cost

Haiku for disciples

Think priorities.
Discipleship must come first,
before family.

This is difficult.
Know what you’re getting into
when you answer ‘yes!’

The cross you carry
is an instrument of pain.
You will feel its weight.

Finish what you start.
Sit down, estimate the cost
before you begin.

I have looked ahead,
can see what’s waiting for me;
know who you follow.

Carefully reckon
the cost of discipleship:
follow anyway.

Don’t let anything
keep you from the kingdom path.
Be a disciple.


© Ken Rookes 2019

An old creation story

A poem for the Narrative Lectionary


An old creation story
Haiku from the dreamtime

The ancient story
sees the divine creator
sculpting humankind.

The Eden garden;
fruitfulness to be enjoyed,
The man must tend it.

The tree of knowledge
of good and evil is there;
a great temptation.

What did God expect
from her arboreal ban:
don’t eat of this tree?

Humans dominate
the other creatures, even
giving them their names.

The man sleeps deeply
as the woman is taken,
rib-like, from his side.

Fashioned from the ground
the man and woman of dust
belong to the earth.

She is his helper;
he will be her helper, too.
They will be partners

What means this order;
first the man, then the woman?
Damn patriarchy!

Two will become one,
this divine purpose: friendship,
support, and oneness.

© Ken Rookes 2019