My name is John

Haiku for beginning

Give me camel’s hair,
leather belt around my waist;
feed me with locusts.

Give me a loud voice
enough to shake foundations.
Feed me wild honey

Find me at the creek
with the rocks and croaking frogs.
Water is my home.

Put away your sins;
the darkness in your living.
Let’s wash it away.

Come and be baptised.
Show that you are eager, keen
to begin anew.

One comes after me.
He will do much more than I.
He brings the Spirit.

. . . .

He came from up north
to meet John at the Jordan.
Baptise me, comrade.

The heavens opened
with the voice of approval.
The Spirit came down.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018.

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Prepare the way

Haiku of expectation

The brutal powers
wink smugly, worship Mammon,
plan their victory.

John the baptiser
stands tall and immovable,
prophet for us all.

Hear the earth weeping,
as she waits for her offspring
to remember love.

Something might happen
if we want it hard enough.
Make yourself ready.

The messenger comes
sent to speak God’s awkward truth,
to prepare the way.

One is soon to come.
He brings a word of hope, life,
not to mention love.

Far greater than I;
in him the heavens draw near
with the Spirit’s kiss.

We need more prophets;
women unafraid of truth,
men who make a stand.

They won’t be silenced.
Like the master they follow
they’re driven by love.

Make the pathways straight
for the one who brings true life,
who makes all things new.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017.

He came, walking towards them.

Haiku for those who sink.

He sent them ahead
by boat, to the other side.
The crowd was dismissed

Seeking solitude,
he ascended the mountain
to pray and reflect.

Out upon the lake
his friends battled wind and waves,
a long way from home.

In this strange story
he came ghost-like at morning,
caused them much alarm.

The reports tell us
that he walked across the lake.
Fear not! It is I!

Stranger still, a man
steps from the boat to join him;
does all right; at first.

Beginning to sink,
he cries in fear: Lord, save me!
Jesus takes his hand.

Is this an image
of baptism, of drowning
and rising to life?

Like the little boat
we are battered by the waves,
far from land and hope.

The waves engulf us;
We are fearful and we doubt.
Jesus, take our hand!

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Two disciples

Haiku for those who are called.

John the baptiser,
had a group of disciples
learning from their lord.

A man of insight,
a prophet, fearing no-one,
pointing to the light.

When Jesus turned up,
the way the story is told,
John stepped to one side.

John saw him coming.
“Look, here is the Lamb of God,”
two friends were told.

When they heard these words
they took leave of their master
to follow Jesus.

Jesus turned, saw them,
asked: “What are you looking for?”
Top question, that one.

They did not answer,
asked him, “Where are you staying?”
“Come and see,” he said.

An invitation
for all who come with questions;
and much repeated.

The Lamb of God comes
bringing life and light and hope:
Don’t wait, come and see!

Epilogue.

Andrew found Simon.
“Come and meet the Messiah.”
Took him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him.
“You are Simon, son of John.
I’ll call you Rocky.”

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Needing to be baptised

Haiku for beginners

When he was ready
he travelled from Galilee,
south, to the Jordan.

There he came to John
with a baptism request.
John was reluctant.

You ask this of me,
I should be baptised by you;
the Baptist demurred.

Let it be so now,
Jesus answered. It’s proper
and right to do this.

The river beckoned.
He sank beneath its surface,
finding his calling.

Emerging once more
from the darkness into light;
fills his lungs with life.

The white dove flies low,
with heaven’s voice whispering:
this, then, is my son.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

The present time

Some Haiku

Kindling the fire,
the one that burns so fiercely
divides day from night.

Division not peace.
Inevitable conflict:
darkness versus light.

Baptism the door,
not to comfort or respect;
life fulfilled by death.

Households will be split;
the ones who serve the kingdom,
the ones who do not.

I, disloyal son,
dared to defy my father;
wounding more than one.

The cloud, it rises
in the west to bring the rain.
The north wind scorches.

Register the wind,
read the signs of earth and sky;
interpret the times.

© Ken Rookes 2016

Come to the water

The water, it dances, it gurgles and flows,
it sings alleluia, new life it bestows.
It sweeps over rapids, around unseen bends,
to vistas surprising and landscapes of friends.

This river, it eddies, it catches us all
in long graceful turnings; love’s generous swirl.
This water lives deeply, our thirst, it is quenched;
our bodies are freshened, our souls they are cleansed.

The Spirit is given, she hovers and cries
delights in the dreamings and aches with the sighs.
Surrender to the water, and hear Jesus’ call
to be a disciple, and a servant to all.

Some are wrinkled from birth, some are wrinkled with age;
Hey, come to the water; whatever your page!
Drink freely, my sister, my brother, my friend;
drink deep from the fountain, of grace without end.

The water is justice, the water is peace;
it saturates living, its strivings won’t cease
Let none withhold water, the Spirit commands;
unite in one body and fulfil love’s demands.

© 2016 Ken Rookes

Can be sung to the tune St Denio,
Together in Song
143, AHB 80

I have reworked this from an older poem/song. The original was suited to an actual baptism, this has a more general use, such as for the Baptism of Jesus, this coming Sunday. I think it has been markedly improved.