Even the dogs

Weary from the crowds,
he slipped across the border for a break.
A holiday with a few close friends,
up north among the foreigners.
Different people, culture, food.
Best of all, no one knows him here.

The woman’s love
has grown achingly to despair;
such is her daughter’s illness.
Her dormant hopes quicken
when she learns the identity
of the stranger from the south.

Disregarding his request for privacy,
she intrudes, insisting that he intervene
to heal her child.
His response disappoints.
Wrong race, wrong religion.

The man offers a domestic metaphor to justify
his lack of compassion.
Sorry, I can’t help;
the food is for the children, not the dogs.

It takes our breath away.
Suddenly we hear the shrill, cheering voices
of the xenophobes, islamophobes, flag wearers,
shock jocks and opportunistic politicians.

But the story continues;
this foreign woman does not know her place.
She accepts the racial calumny,
but, with impertinence,
throws the image back at the teacher:
Yes, but even the dogs . . .

Even the dogs.
The woman, he concedes, is correct.
There are no boundaries to love
except the ones we fashion from our fears.
The man accepts his lesson with grace,
and setting aside his weariness,
offers her the crumb.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

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And all ate

Haiku for the hungry

Seeking to withdraw,
to find peace, he went by boat
to a lonely place.

They came from the towns
trekking around the shoreline
until they found him.

He saw the great crowd,
and their needs. He went ashore
to bless and to heal.

Evening’s shadows
signal that the day has passed.
The people remain.

Hungers are many.
Send the crowds away, they said,
That they may buy food.

They’ve come to be fed;
we’ll supply for their stomachs
as well as their hearts.

Five loaves and two fish
won’t go far among this crowd!
He blessed, broke the bread.

They passed it around.
Somehow it went the distance.
Nobody complained.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Emmaus

Haiku for an uncertain journey

For a few hours
Emmaus was the centre
of the universe.

Might as well go home,
the two said to eachother.
They had no idea.

An empty journey
devoid of joy, without hope.
Unanswered questions.

Friday’s agonies,
Saturday’s devastations;
now Sunday’s stories.

How shall we believe,
what is left for us to hope,
when will we be healed?

The stranger asks them,
What are you talking about;
what troubles your hearts?

He speaks patiently,
arranging jig-saw pieces
to make the picture.

The falling darkness
leads to an invitation;
he is urged to stay.

The stranger takes bread,
breaks, and passes it around.
Their eyes are opened.

© Ken Rookes 2017

Another poem for this Sunday can be found here and here.

It was on the Sabbath Day

Haiku for those who would see.

Jesus was working;
it was on the Sabbath Day
that he healed the man.

The Pharisees freaked,
the thing was most improper;
called an inquiry.

What have you to say?
He can’t heal and break the law;
must be a sinner.

A sinner, you say?
He opened my eyes. I choose
to call him Prophet.

Yes, this is our son.
Yes, he was born without sight,
and yes, now he sees.

How did it happen?
Why are you questioning us?
Ask him, he will know!

They inquire once more:
His power must be from God,
says the seeing man.

The crowd was aroused,
the leaders were embarrassed.
So they threw him out.

Jesus found the man.
Now that you can see, he says,
keep your eyes open.

Some with eyes to see
choose the darkness over light;
they make themselves blind.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Hiding in the night

Haiku for the timid but curious.

Hiding in the night,
Nicodemus comes, seeking
answers from Jesus.

We have been impressed
by the things you’ve said and done;
God must be with you.

Truly I tell you,
if you would see the kingdom
you must be born anew.

Many years have passed
since I emerged from the womb;
can I repeat this?

Flesh gives birth to flesh.
You are spirit; from Spirit
your true life will come.

The Spirit-wind blows,
moving swift with mystery.
Be born of Spirit

You speak of wonders,
teacher. I don’t understand;
how can these things be?

Listen to my words
and receive them, they are life.
Lift your eyes, and see.

 

© Ken Rookes

When Jesus calls.

Haiku for taking a chance

With John arrested
Jesus withdraws, goes back home;
north, to Galilee.

He leaves Nazareth
and moves to Capernaum.
There he makes his home.

What the prophet said
is about to be fulfilled;
great light has dawned.

Commencing his work,
he begins to preach. “Repent,
the kingdom comes near.”

Walking by the sea
he sees Andrew and Simon
casting out their nets.

He calls the brothers,
“Come and follow, learn from me;
we’ll fish for people.”

Best offer all day!
The fishers laugh, choose the risk,
leave behind their nets.

Further down the shore
He comes across more brothers,
sons of Zebedee.

In their father’s boat,
Sons of Thunder, James and John,
also get the call.

In a flash, the pair
stop, weigh their options, and leave
dad to mend the nets.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017