Mortal flesh and bone,
the divine word comes unexpectedly among us,
breathing the planet’s atmosphere
and covering his itinerant feet
with earth’s red dust.
Here, in company
with the rest of humankind,
he will do his appointed work
of hope and love and freedom.

Later, this man we call “Light,”
clothed in the dust of ridicule and rejection,
(his words are too hard);
will steel himself against the harsh winds
of fickle opinion,
to inhale the deep and bitter air
of suspicion, abandonment and fear.
From there he will embrace the cold nothingness
of our own inevitable end.

And still the Light shines.

© Ken Rookes 2015


Burdens hard to bear

I worry and I fear,
I need and I want.
I am anxious;
I could lose everything.
I am free;
I am burdened.

Some burdens are my own creation;
I tell myself that I am dealing with them.
Others I have received,
unwelcome gifts weighing heavily
upon shrinking shoulders,
from Scribes and from Pharisees,
who, in every age,
know with certainty what is best for me

I am burdened;
I am free.

To feel, decide
to do, to don’t.
To open wide;
to will, to won’t
To bleed, to weep;
to give, to keep.
To rage, to rail;
to struggle, fail.

Listening to the silence
with eyes half-opened,
mind half-closed.

Seeing the ugly,
reaching after beauty,
coveting truth,

I am free,
I am burdened.

Holding on to freedom,
letting go the burdens.
Holding on to burdens,
letting go the freedom.

© Ken Rookes 2014

Myth, par excellence.

Myth, par excellence.


Our intention is to gather
some suitably approved historians;
direct them to collect the stories,
interrogate the documents,
and compile them into a seamless narrative
(We will, of course,
be downplaying the embarrassing bits
and other parts that might discomfort us.)
Thus we shall create for ourselves a History
that we can be proud of.
With some further prodding and kneading,
some teasing-out and coaxing,
and with suitable invocations of the Divine,
we shall recite our story and rehearse it
until it solidifies into a Myth.
A real one, grand and inviolate,
upon which we can build
our tribe / religion / nation.

In ancient Israel,
a remembering meal
is appointed, prepared
and written into law.
This annual repast,
laden with food and symbol,
commemorates a journey
to freedom and nationhood;
one which is tragically interleaved
with dying and grief.
A Passover meal,
to celebrate a divine passing over;
salvation and life for the chosen ones.
For others, sorrow, bitterness
and death.

But that’s okay,
we will cope;
as long as nobody questions
the Myth.



© Ken Rookes 2014



Unbind him, and let him go;
release her from her bonds.
Let them be quickened,
let them be free.
Liberate them from the bands,
the baleful bands
of delusion,
the cords of despair
and graveclothes of fear.
Take the stone away;
let loose the morning’s hopeful light
to chase the shadows from the cave.
Allow sweet birdsong
and the gentle sounds of spirit breeze
to find voice in the previously silent recesses;
so that we who have been dead
might hear the callings of the living,
and, glimpsing some of the possibilities
of resurrection,
consider leaving our tomb.
© Ken Rookes 2014

O Light who is shining

O Light who is Shining

O Light who is shining in all the dark places;
shine on me.
Radiate your hope upon shadowed faces;
let them see
the love and the courage of one who’s defying
the powers that threaten, the gloom that’s denying
the truth, grace and justice; together defining
the kingdom that’s coming to be.

O Light who is true and cuts through the night-time;
shine in me.
Let love glow warm when we’re worried and frightened
make us free;
for action to end all the fear and the hating,
to touch anxious hearts when love is abating,
to bring on the peace for which all are waiting;
where faith, hope and love abide: three.

O Light who is life for all of creation,
shine through me.
We are the offspring of Love’s celebration;
sent to be –
the flickering flames of hope where there’s need,
embracing God’s children, regardless of creed.
To gather a harvest, where love is the seed;
we make this our goal and our plea.

©2010 words: Ken Rookes
music: Judy & Jessica Chalmers
Music may be found at

Further poems for Sunday can be found here and here

He saved others

He saved others;
touched them, blessed them,
warned them, loved them,
heard them, healed them.
He reached out to embrace them,
waited for them,
gave them permission,
wept with them.
He told them stories that lead to life,
laughed at their foibles,
forgave them,
offered them freedom.
He placed among them, children;
invited them to learn,
asked them to listen,
sat with them in silence.
He came into their houses,
entered their lives,
ate bread with them,
shared their wine.
He argued the point with them,
got angry, taught defiance,
played, prayed,
and walked with them
on the road to the kingdom.
He whispered where God might be found;
pointed towards hope,
made peace,
established love,
and showed them the way.
He saved others;
and felt no need to save himself.
© Ken Rookes 2013

Another poem for the Reign of Christ year C can be found here

The Saducees’ question

Having ruled in red ink
a line under life,
some Saducees ask their famous riddle
about the woman, seven times widowed;
the one which has caused
great rabbis and learned scribes
to stumble.
This self-styled teacher
from the northern extremes
should be easily ensnared
and made to look ridiculous.
But the teacher is already captive
to a glorious vision
of life in abundance;
a boundless gift
from a limitless and ever-living God.
Laughing at their keyhole view,
the teacher speaks of hope
and freedom
in the coming age of resurrection.
Soaring unconfined,
his truth mocks the Saducees’
pitiable attempts to enclose.
Rendered speechless,
there will be no more questions.

© Ken Rookes

Another poem responding to this story can be found here