Fathers and sons

Haiku for the generations

In the sleepless night,
when ev’rything else is still,
haiku write themselves.

He went to the war
at eighteen. Had its effect,
made him who he was.

At Bomber Command
the rear gunner faces death
over and again.

When it was over
he returned, with the burden
of his survival.

For king and country,
or the queen. Doesn’t matter;
it’s about duty.

A draft resister!
The family is disgraced,
for the father, shame.

Not like my father;
but sometimes, in the mirror,
he looks back at me.

My own parenting
would not be like my father’s.
Messed up, anyway.

Grace means accepting
that the one you argue with
might just be correct.


© Ken Rookes 2017

It was ANZAC Day this week and I did some personal reflecting. These haiku are the result. So far.  Make of them what you will.


At one with the Father

At one with the Father,
the mystery of light;
he shines into the darkness,
he chases in the night.

At one with creation,
at home amidst the dust;
the redness at the centre,
the fire and the rust.

At one with the people,
the tears and the chain;
the wandering and homeless,
the loneliness and pain.

He does not shun the struggle,
dark thoughts or the questions;
embracing of the challenge
and seeking its connections.

Comrade to the travellers
on wilderness journey;
searching for that pilgrim goal
through windings and through turnings.

Confronter of the wealthy
disturbing those who rule;
discomfort for the righteous,
the wise sent back to school.

Friend of peace-creators,
holding frightened hands,
at one with those who protest,
and those who make a stand.

At one with the rhythm,
the feel and the pulse;
seeing truth and all things good,
and weeping o’er the false.

Dust and spirit joining,
in love they are united,
reaching out to gather in;
the love, it is requited.

At home among the humble,
they know him by his voice,
he speaks of hope, of truth and life
for all who make the choice.

© Ken Rookes 2013

Jesus dares to redefine the concept of family


Mark, in the pages of whose gospel

we find ourselves, makes no mention

at all of Jesus’ father.

Perhaps Joseph understood his son

better than the rest,

or else the tradition is correct,

and he had died before Jesus began his work.

Whichever is the case,

Joseph was not leading the family group

when they came to restrain Jesus

and take him home,

before he could do any real harm

or get into any serious trouble.

The reports had alarmed them;

he had always been different,

but they loved him,

and forgave him his eccentricities.

Now he has gone public,

and it is being said, rather too gleefully

it seems to his mother and his brothers,

that he is no longer in his right mind.

Best they bring him home.

Returned to his carpenter’s bench,

they will keep him busy

and watch over of him.

In time he will sort out his thinking

and people will begin to forget.

The family waits outside; expecting, no doubt,

that their errant brother and son

will submit to their collective wisdom,

recognise their love, and come quietly.

Ah, but he has a new family, now!



© Ken Rookes 2012

​ Trinity


Maker of the universe:

ordering the chaos,

painting rainbows,

sculpting outcrops,

planting forests,

spinning the atoms.


Prophet of the kingdom:

embracing outcasts,

telling stories,

washing feet,

bearing sins,

sharing our load.


Guide upon our journey:

renewing the world,

calling the faithful,

bestowing gifts,

expanding minds,

joining hearts.




God who is here.



An older poem on the Trinity, for those who found my new poem a little heavy going

© Ken Rookes