The lawyer’s question

Haiku for heroes

The lawyer’s question;
a test of orthodoxy,
unconcerned for truth.

What does the law say?
Love God and love your neighbour.
Now that’s a big ask!

The lawyer wants rules
to define loving’s limits.
Which ones must I love?

A Samaritan,
much despised, is made hero
in Jesus’ story.

Maligned foreigners,
and other ratbags, become
heroes through their love.

The Samaritan
is Muslim, refugee, and
other suspect folk

Unlikely heroes
confront our own shortcomings.
Best discard this tale.

The lawyer concedes
Yes, love is the way to life,
true and eternal.

Here alone is life!
Like Jesus told the Lawyer:
Go and do the same!

© Ken Rookes 2019


The man had two sons

Haiku of grace and resentment

The man had two sons,
Loved them both. The younger one
was eager to leave.

My inheritance,
give me my share now, before
I become too old.

When your years are few,
the party goes on and on;
while the money lasts.

All good things must end.
The cash gone, the boy must work;
starves, while the pigs eat.

Heading for his home,
practising his ‘sorry’ speech:
I am unworthy!

Dad is delighted,
his son is back. Let’s party;
kill the fatted calf!

The older brother
spits the dummy. All these years,
not even a kid!

I am deserving,
my useless brother is not;
I won’t celebrate!

You know I love you,
my Son, you’re always with me;
all that’s mine is yours

Your brother was lost,
now he’s been restored to us:
we have to rejoice.

Try not to resent
the unworthy who receive
their moment of grace.

Remember, you too,
though unworthy, profited
from moments of grace.


© Ken Rookes 2019

To become fruitful

Haiku for gardeners

Rotten stuff happens
to both good and bad people;
it’s not punishment.

When people suffer,
have empathy; don’t blame them
for imagined sins.

These words are for all;
reflect on where you’re headed,
be ready to change.

A vineyard owner
plants a fig tree, comes looking
for fruit. There is none.

Three years to produce
and still the tree is barren.
Let’s get rid of it.

The gardner shows grace.
One more year, some manure
and care: Let’s see.

Always one more chance.
So our master seeks for us
to become fruitful.

The chance to bear fruit;
justice, love and hope-filled peace.
Always one more chance.


© Ken Rookes 2019

The kingdom

Haiku of emerging abundance.

The kingdom of God!
A diff’rent reality,
strange, unexpected.

The seeds are scattered.
The sower gets on with life;
the seeds sprout and grow.

First the stalk, the head,
then the grain swells full and ripe,
and the harvest comes!

Take a mustard seed,
the tiniest of them all;
grows big for the birds.

The kingdom of God;
growing fruitful love, justice;
though we may not see.

Many parables,
riddles to confuse and hide;
his friends understand.

The kingdom of God;
When God rules in hearts and minds,
grace and love abound.


© Ken Rookes 2018

Of all his stories

Haiku for a servant people

is engaged less by constructs
than by parables.

He told his stories;
cunning, sneaking up on us,
causing us to think.

Many parables
cause us to squirm. Banish them;
choose other verses.

His stories trouble.
This one disturbs more than most;
gives no place to hide.

The king, (Jesus), expects us
to care for others!

Naked, in prison,
hungry, homeless or stranger;
we must show them love.

The neighbour in need
is an opportunity
to love your master.

Make no excuses.
We will be judged by our deeds;
by how we have loved.


© Ken Rookes 2017

Playing safe

Haiku for faithful stewards

Talents were immense
lumps of money, like a big
CEO payout.

The so-called experts
don’t agree, but a million
will get somewhere near.

Another story.
This time three slaves are summoned,
trusted with big bucks.

Their freehanded boss
is going on a journey.
Take care of my things.

You know how it goes:
Five talent man makes five more;
two talent man, too.

When the boss returns
he commends them. You’ve done well,
I’ll trust you with more.

The one talent man
got cold feet; panicked, anxious,
hid it in the ground.

Here we are! he said
when he came before the boss:
All safe and secure!

He is not impressed.
Security is worthless;
learn to take some risks!

Get out of my sight!
You cannot serve God’s kingdom
if you play it safe!


© Ken Rookes 2017

You must be ready

Haiku for the faithful

You must be ready!
He tells his friends a story,
as is his practice.

Ten bridesmaids with lamps
go out to greet the bridegroom;
a flaming escort.

The neighbourhood girls
invite themselves to the feast
with dancing and song.

The bridegroom is late.
The maids rest their heads and sleep.

The lamps keep burning.

The shout at midnight:
Here he is! Come to meet him!
Bridesmaids trim their lamps.

Five have brought spare oil.
The other five entreat them:
Give us some of yours!

There won’t be enough.
Make haste and rouse the dealers;
buy oil for yourselves.

They return, their lamps
recharged and burning brightly.
The rest have gone in.

The door has been shut.
Lord, lord, let us in! they cry.
Sorry, you’re too late!

Set your sights upon
the kingdom, Jesus told them,
make yourselves ready.


© Ken Rookes 2017