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.

Bread that fills the soul

Haiku of life

He said, I am bread;
bread that fills the soul. Don’t thirst
or hunger, come!

The leaders complain:
How can he say these things, I
am bread from heaven?

God is doing this,
drawing folk to hear my words;
they shall know God’s life.

Open your eyes, ears,
to learn God’s truth, to receive
God’s life eternal.

Wilderness manna
from God fed hungry people;
but later they died.

Heaven’s living bread
gives eternal life. I am
the bread from heaven.

I am bread. I give
my body; a gift of life
for all humankind.

© Ken Rookes 2021

Bread that is true

Haiku for hungry people

The persistent crowds
seek Jesus, boarding their boats
to sail after him.

You’re looking for me
because I fed you with loaves;
but you’re still hungry.

Bread for the belly
lasts but hours. Seek God’s bread,
feeding the spirit.

The bread that is true,
far better than Moses gave,
comes from the Father.

Sir, give us this bread
always; each, every day
feed us with your life.

I am bread for life,
says the Johannine Jesus;
come, believe in me.

Trust the things I say,
do the things I’m telling you:
so fulfil God’s work.

You, who are hungry,
and you who thirst for fullness,
hear my words and live.

© Ken Rookes 2021


Haiku for the hungry

They came seeking signs.
Were not his words sufficient?
Apparently not.

The crowd was hungry
for his words, for the healing
the signs and the hope.

There’s a food shortage;
the hunger is great, it gnaws.
Jesus must feed them.

A boy brings his lunch.
Five barley loaves and two fish.
That will not go far!

Here is mystery!
Somehow all are satisfied;
their hungers addressed.

An impressive sign!
This indeed is a prophet,
the one God has sent.

That is not a sign;
this is a sign! Jesus strides
across the lake

You want a sign? Here
try this, he says, winking, as
he crosses the lake.

Don’t be afraid, it
is I! Jesus says; his words
bringing on God’s peace.

© Ken Rookes 2021

Eight Years Too Long

July 19 2021 marks eight years since a former Prime Minister declared that no refugees who arrive by boat will ever be allowed to settle in Australia. It marked the beginning of eight years of cruelty and uncertainty, especially for those detained on Manus Island and Nauru. Whilst some have been resettled elsewhere, many still face an uncertain future of despair and indefinite detention,

Escaping the crowds

Haiku for a retreat

They have been busy;
the twelve he sent out to share
his life-giving news.

To the wilderness
they retreat, an empty place
where they can rest up.

The lake is their friend!
They sail in their little boat
away from the throng.

He has become known.
Recognition blocks the plan;
the crowds come seeking.

They are shepherd-less,
these sheep. He steps up to teach,
sharing the kingdom.

His fame goes ahead.
In Gennesaret the crowds
see him and gather.

They hope to be healed.
We all do. Come, Lord Jesus;
we, too, are broken.

© Ken Rookes 2021

The reckless prophet

Haiku for troublemakers.

The reckless prophet,
a baptiser known as John;
trouble has found him.

A sordid story.
The stepdaughter dances. Lust
overcomes the king.

He offers her half
his kingdom. What do you want?
The baptiser’s head.

The king is sorry,
but with all the witnesses
he grants the request.

The wilderness man
is silenced; the forerunner’s
work brought to an end.

worthy: reckless defiance
and foolish courage.

Where are our prophets?
Are their foolish words still heard;
or are they silenced?

What would it take to
silence me? Much less, I fear,
than it took for John.

© Ken Rookes 2021

Getting on with it

Haiku for disciples

There is nothing new.
People still take great offence
at what Jesus says.

The self-styled righteous
can’t believe that such wisdom
can reside in him.

We know his brothers;
he’s just a carpenter’s son.
Look, there’s his mother!

Some pretend to be
followers; ones who listen
but forget to love.

So-called holy hands
are raised high in devotion,
but won’t do love’s work.

He has instructed
the twelve, revealed the kingdom;
now he sends them out.

You won’t need a bag,
don’t take spare clothes, bread, money;
our God will provide.

Go, share my good news.
Some will hear you, some will not.
That’s the way it is.

© Ken Rookes 2021