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.

Notre-Dame de Paris

Notre-Dame de Paris.

Grand reliquary;
centuries of prayers and tears
escape with the smoke.


© Ken Rookes 2019


Sunday. The first day.

Haiku for upending

Sunday. The first day.
The sun returns from beyond;
light chases darkness.

They come to the tomb,
the women, aching, faithful,
to honour their friend.

Bringing their spices
they come to prepare his corpse;
their duty of love.

The stone had been moved.
The open entrance calls them;
Come, see my surprise!

The tomb is empty,
His broken body is gone,
spirited away.

Two men, shining bright
in robes that dazzle the eyes,
come and address them.

Why look in a tomb?
The one you seek is alive!
Remember his words.

The women returned,
(there were at least five of them),
but they weren’t believed.

Peter, however,
wanted to see for himself,
and ran to the tomb.

Only the grave-clothes
were there to be seen. Peter
returned home, amazed.

A tomb that’s empty,
a man no longer present:
should we doubt or hope?

How shall we respond
to this story of wonder,
and to he who lives?


© Ken Rookes 2019

Into your hands

Haiku of the end.

They arrest Jesus
decide upon the verdict,
begin the trial.

Taken to Pilate,
He is accused of treason;
by his own people.

A Galilean,
you say! He’s not my problem;
take him to Herod!

Jesus the healer!
says Herod, all excited.
Show for me a sign!

He keeps them guessing,
refusing to play their game,
keeping his mouth shut.

Pilate resists them,
He has done no wrong. Flog him,
then we’ll let him go.

The crowd shout him down.
Pilate, lacking conviction,
lets Barabbas go.

Beaten and broken
Jesus staggers ‘neath his cross.
The Cyrene bears it.

The inscription reads
This is the king of the Jews.
A king for us all.

They are mocking him:
If you are king, save yourself!
The soldiers join in.

Two others also,
criminals, guilty as charged,
are hanged there with him.

The one also mocks.
The other entreats: Jesus,
do not forget me.

At three he cries out,
Father. I am in your hands!
and draws his last breath.

The crowd return home,
beating their breasts, questioning,
What is it we’ve done?


© Ken Rookes 2019

Riding a donkey

Haiku for an uncertain entrance.

Riding a donkey
defiantly confronting;
they do not like it.

Cry out with the throng,
make with your loud hosannas.
Return in five days.

Here he comes! Jesus
with his words of costly love;
we do not want them.

Beware, you who rule,
serving powerful interests:
Jesus is coming!

© Ken Rookes 2019

Bethany friends

Haiku of love

His Bethany friends
make him most welcome; again.
Jesus is grateful.

Brother Lazarus
reclines at table with him
Martha is serving.

Mary! Ah, Mary.
What are you about to do
to demonstrate love?

Mary comes, bringing
a pound of costly perfume;
pours it on his feet.

The fragrance lingers,
along with indignation:
What outrageous waste!

Such extravagance
and squander! T’was better sold
and spent on the poor.

Returning her love,
Jesus speaks to defend her;
She has done no wrong!

This beautiful gift,
images her love for me;
soon I will be gone.

The poor will remain
to provide new occasions
to demonstrate love.

Gather what remains,
save it for my burial;
it comes soon enough.


© Ken Rookes 2019

The man had two sons

Haiku of grace and resentment

The man had two sons,
Loved them both. The younger one
was eager to leave.

My inheritance,
give me my share now, before
I become too old.

When your years are few,
the party goes on and on;
while the money lasts.

All good things must end.
The cash gone, the boy must work;
starves, while the pigs eat.

Heading for his home,
practising his ‘sorry’ speech:
I am unworthy!

Dad is delighted,
his son is back. Let’s party;
kill the fatted calf!

The older brother
spits the dummy. All these years,
not even a kid!

I am deserving,
my useless brother is not;
I won’t celebrate!

You know I love you,
my Son, you’re always with me;
all that’s mine is yours

Your brother was lost,
now he’s been restored to us:
we have to rejoice.

Try not to resent
the unworthy who receive
their moment of grace.

Remember, you too,
though unworthy, profited
from moments of grace.


© Ken Rookes 2019

We are one

We are one

Human people
children, women, men;
created, according to one ancient tradition,
from the dust of planet earth.
Creatures of flesh,
breathing air, touched by spirit;
blood filled, pulsing, warm with life.
Dust, not stone.
}Together in our humanness.

Lives intertwined, connected,
bound up with each other;
Your joys are my joys,
your loss I feel as my own,
your pain and your anguish are mine.
My hope grows together with yours.

We use different names
to describe the mystery
and the source of our being,
we know that no single name
no individual understanding
can ever be complete
or exhaust that mystery.
We struggle together
striving after truth,
leaning towards love;
always reaching.

We choose hope over fear
generosity ahead of greed,
love before hatred.
Always love.
Always forgiveness,
always friendship;
always we will strive to understand
ur sisters and brothers
so that we might build
a future of compassion,
of justice and of peace.

We will not turn away
when we see people brutalised and suffering.
Whether their names are known to us
or strangers at a distance seeking our help,
we will stand with them.

We will put aside our hearts of stone,
our suspicious thoughts and our jealousies.
We will not speak words that lead to fear,
or hatred;
nor will we listen to them.
We will trust ourselves to love.
Though selfishness and fear
should surround us, they shall not prevail.
We will put aside despair,
and walk determinedly upon uncertain paths
towards a future of hope.
We shall trust ourselves to love.

We are one.
Let me serve you,
help you, encourage you,
embrace you.
We are one.
You are my sister, my brother
my child, my parent,
my neighbour, and my friend;
I find my true self in you.

Together we will dance,
we will sing, chant, and shout.
We will walk hand in hand,
discover ing wonders,
creating possibilities;
working and building,
crying and laughing.

We will pour ourselves out in an offering of love.
We will strive,
stand and struggle together,
knowing that none of us
will be fully alive
until we do.

We are one.


© Ken Rookes 2019


This is a revision of my post. We used it as an affirmation at a combined Churches and Rural Australians for Refugees Gathering for Peace Justice and Inclusion at Bendigo on Palm Sunday.