On the edges

Haiku of inclusion

On the edges of
Samaria, Galilee,
where nobody goes.

North of Jerus’lem
Jesus meets with outcast men,
unclean, unwanted.

Ten lepers approached.
Keeping their distance they cried,
Have mercy, Master!

Go and show yourselves,
to the priests; they will confirm
that you are made clean.

As they make their way
their skin becomes clean and new.
One man turns around.

The Samaritan
falls rejoicing at his feet.
Jesus, I thank you.

Were not ten made clean?
One, alone, comes praising God;

Another surprise;
the foreigner commended
as a man of faith.

© Ken Rookes 2019



Haiku of struggle

Jacob heads for home
hoping that time has softened
his brother’s anger.

Jacob is fearful.
He prays for deliverance,
hopes in God’s promise.

He hedges his bets:
sends his ample gift ahead
trying to appease.

Pausing for the night
Jacob buys time, putting off
the confrontation.

Sends the mob ahead,
waits alone. A man appears;
strange, mysterious.

Coming together
in a primeval contest,
Jacob fights the man.

They wrestle, Jacob
and the stranger. No one wins,
The sun is rising.

The man asks Jacob,
Let me go! Before I do
give me your blessing.

I’ll give you a name.
you have contended with God;
you are Israel.

Jacob understood;
he had wrestled with the Lord.
Somehow he survived!

Each of us wrestles
with the Lord in our own way;
we don’t often win.

© Ken Rookes 2019

With time running out

Haiku for decisions

With time running out
Jesus knew that he must go
to Jerusalem.

The company came
to a Samaritan town,
but they were rebuffed.

Why Jerusalem?
If you’re only passing through
don’t bother to stay.

We should punish them;
call down fire! said James and John.
Jesus rebuked them.

I will follow you,
a man said. Foxes have holes,
but I am homeless.

I will follow you,
a man said, but I must wait
for father to die.

The dead must bury
their own. Leave them, you must go
proclaim God’s kingdom.

I will follow you,
but first I must say farewell
to my family.

To plough a straight line
you cannot keep looking back;
likewise the kingdom.


© Ken Rookes 2019


Gerasene country

Haiku for crazy people

Gerasene country:
among the tombs and the swine,
the broken man roams.

Naked to the world,
cut off from society
he is in torment.

With shackles and chains
they have tried to restrain him.
The man is too strong.

When Jesus arrives
Legion comes to confront him,
bringing his demons.

Whether it’s demons,
mental illness, brain damage;
he still needs healing.

The swine dash headlong
into the lake, carrying
dark spirits with them.

The towns-people came
and found the man clothed and sane,
sitting with Jesus.

Please leave us Jesus,
it’s all too much, we’re frightened!
So he departed.

Let me come with you,
the man begged. No, said Jesus,
Go, declare God’s deeds.

So the man went home
restored; to live, to love, and
to tell his story.


© Ken Rookes 2019

Now that day was the Sabbath

Haiku by the pool.

In Jerusalem
many invalids, blind, lame,
wait beside the pool.

When the water stirs,
according to tradition,
healing is present.

Portico people
hoping for this lottery
to deliver life.

At the Sheep Gate pool
the lame man lies, unable
to enter in time.

Jesus came, asking
Do you want to be made well?
Did he need to ask?

Stand, he told the man,
Take your mat and take a walk.
That is what he did.

It was the Sabbath
when Jesus made the man well;
most reckless of him.


© Ken Rookes 2019

Going fishing

Piscatorial Haiku

Seven disciples
decided to go fishing:
found themselves a boat.

They went out at night
hoiping that the fish would come
but they caught nothing.

Standing on the shore
the stranger shouted advice:
Try the other side!

The nets are breaking;
It must be the Lord! they shout.
Peter heads ashore.

A lakeside fire,
a breakfast of bread and fish
with their risen Lord.

Jesus asks Peter:
Simon, do you love me more?
Lord, you know I do.

Simon, feed my lambs.
Twice more Jesus questions him:
How do you love me?

even Simon must get it;
love made real by deeds.

He said, Feed my sheep,
take care of my little lambs.
It’s all about love.


© Ken Rookes 201

Not unless I see.

Haiku of growing hope.

Sunday evening.
The disciples locked the doors,
fearing they were next.

The women’s stories,
which might have brought them some hope,
went disregarded.

Jesus came and stood
before them: Peace be with you!
His friends were perplexed.

He shows them his hands
to help put their minds at ease.
Yeah, right; that’ll work!

There is rejoicing,
along with bewilderment.
The stories were true‽

He sends his friends out,
breathing his Spirit, charging
them to forgive sin.

The absent Thomas,
could not believe their reports.
Not unless I see!

Seven days later,
so John tells us, Jesus came,
to meet them once more.

Here I am, Thomas!
See the nail-marks in my hands,
touch my wounded side.

Falling to his knees
Thomas cries: My Lord, my God!
Finally convinced.

You see and believe?
Blessed are those who believe
who don’t get to see!

Jesus did much more.
Were the stories written down
they would fill volumes.


© Ken Rookes 2019