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.

In my name

Haiku of inclusion

Dividing the world
according to our judgements,
into us and them.

They watched him cast out
demons. Not part of their group!
They tried to stop him.

Jesus said, Let be!
Who does such things in my name
cannot malign me.

Someone not opposed
to the things I do or say
must be on our side.

A cup of water
given in the name of Christ
will be rewarded.

Take good care of them,
the little ones who believe,
that they may grow strong.

Do not be tempted.
Whatever makes you stumble,
best to discard it.

Salt should be salty,
adding flavour to living;
be salt for others.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

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Who will be the greatest?

Haiku for the competitive

Speaking quietly
Jesus taught his disciples
the things that must be.

Of the Son of Man
he spoke, about betrayal,
and untimely death.

It won’t be the end.
After three days he will rise.
They don’t understand.

They were arguing:
which of us is the greatest?
He made them ashamed.

Would you be the first?
Then you must become the last,
serving your comrades.

He placed a small child
in the middle of the group;
took it in his arms.

Welcoming children
is the thing you are to do;
so you welcome me.

When you welcome me
you welcome God; and take part
in God’s own being.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

The big question

Haiku for disciples

It’s the big question:
Who do people say I am?
Have to think on that.

A prophet, for sure;
just like John the Baptiser,
even Elijah!

But what about you,
you who journey beside me
you who know me well?

Breaking the silence
Peter, fisherman, spoke up:
You must be the Christ!

Perhaps I am he,
but do not speak of these things;
they won’t understand.

He began to teach:
The Son of Man will suffer
and he will be killed.

Once more to Peter:
Please don’t talk like that, he said;
This cannot be true.

It is true for me,
and it will be true for you,
if you follow me.

To gain the whole world
is not the same as true life;
to gain, you must lose.

Be my followers.
Take up your cross, just like me,
and take on the world!

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

Incognito

Haiku for staying uninvolved

Jesus headed north
to foreign parts, seeking rest.
Tell no one I’m here.

The word got around.
A woman came to see him;
her daughter was ill.

She was a Gentile
with no claim on this Hebrew,
except that of love.

Come and heal my child,
cast the demon out of her,
give her back to me.

No, it is not right.
My food is for the children,
it’s not for the dogs.

Not fair! She replied.
The dogs under the table
get the scraps that fall.

He must think again,
enlarge his understandings
and respond with love.

That’s a great answer!
Quite right, you can go home now,
your daughter is freed.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

Keep yourself nice

Haiku for a polite and ordered world

Is righteous living
about keeping yourself nice?
Jesus says there’s more.

The holy people
observe the old tradition:
wash before you eat.

Always wash your hands
before you eat. Good practice,
enshrined in the law.

Other rules as well;
the washing of cups and pots
and kettles of bronze.

Pharisees object
to the careless disciples
and their defiled hands.

Isaiah knew it;
the faithless hypocrisy
behind your worship.

You care about rules
much more than you care about
what God is wanting.

It’s time to get real!
It’s the things you do and say
that make you defiled.

Always there is more
than the narrow, centred fears
of the self-righteous.

© Ken Rookes 2018

Difficult words

Haiku of offence.

Eating and drinking,
taking my life deep within;
they abide in me,

They will always live,
nor will their deeds be forgot,
alive in God’s heart.

Difficult teachings,
who can accept them? Even
disciples struggle.

From the spirit comes
true life; the flesh is useless.
Believe in my words.

Many disciples
turned back. His words were too hard,
the way was too tough.

He questioned the twelve:
Do you also wish to leave,
is it all too hard?

Where else can we go?
said Peter. Your words are life;
you have come from God.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018