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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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

When John heard in prison

Haiku of enquiry

We missed you, Baptist;
your amusing desert rants
made us think again.

The authorities
were less amused; took offense,
waited for their chance.

If you’d stopped and thought
you might have backed off, instead
you’re locked in prison.

So you sent your mates
to find out what’s happening.
They seek out Jesus.

They ask: are you he,
the one we are expecting,
or do we still wait?

Open up your eyes,
what do you see, and hear
as you look about?

The blind see again,
lepers are being made clean,
the lame are walking.

And as for the poor,
they’re hearing the good news
with joy and with hope.

Go, tell the prophet
that God’s kingdom has come near.
Tell him: be at peace.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

Prepare a path

Haiku of readiness

The Baptiser came;
a voice, calling, defiant.
Preparing a path.

In the wilderness;
broken stones and tangled weeds
of human despair.

Through the wilderness
one is coming to bring hope;
a way must be found.

It is drawing near,
this strange kingdom of light, life
and revolution.

Make yourselves ready,
bring forth the repentance fruits;
grace and compassion.

Through the scrub he comes
with his words of love and life;
most unexpected.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

The heaven was opened

The opening of heaven,
by all accounts,
was not an every-day occurrence.
At Jesus’ baptism, by John,
in the flowing waters of the Jordan,
this rare event,
(according to some ancient stories),
took place. On that occasion,
we are told, heaven’s stately doors
swung wide on their ethereal hinges,
allowing the divine spirit to descend
and to mingle outrageously
with that which is human.

While the record may well be incomplete,
no mention is made
of their subsequent closure.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

The related poem/song can be found here.

Silenced

In the fears and uncertainties of first century Jewish politics
an insecure monarch lusts after the niece
who also doubles as his step-daughter.
At a birthday banquet,
the girl entices the gathered dignitaries
with a dance.
Arousing, provocative,
teasing and taunting;
she knows how to shake it.

In the old man’s fantasy foolishness
half a kingdom is offered
as the prize for his pleasant titillation.
A prophet’s head,
severed from its outspoken owner’’s body
and proffered upon a platter,
is the price prescribed
by the girl’s vengeful mother.

A king’s self-importance is never a small thing.
His ego expands even further
in the presence of multiple weighty witnesses;
the offending voice will be silenced.
For good.

It’s been all about power, lust, politics, pride, and retribution.
Between them, over the next two millennia and beyond,
these evils will account for the larger part
of the world’s pain and sorrow.

During that time other offensive voices will be raised
and many will be silenced.
But an outrageous few will recklessly persist
so that the kingdom,
the kingdom grounded in love and truth and sacrifice
will come;
one day,
as promised.

 

© Ken Rookes 2015