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.


We are slaves

We are slaves, sometimes willing,
of another slave who was always willing.
He willed a world of beauty and of love.
We willed that those who had been blessed
would be commensurately generous.
He willed that old people
would learn the way of delight
from their children;
that we who are of middle years
might learn wisdom from those
who had reflected deep and long;
and that children might learn the way of peace
from those who had passed
through the time of struggle.
He willed that the blind
might see clearly with their hearts;
that the deaf might hear the deep calling
of their strange and silent God;
that the dumb might song a song, true
and without words;
that the lame might gavotte
in life’s abundant dance.
He willed that we might follow,
as love’s obedient slaves;
with pain and sweat and tears and joy,
until it is done,
on earth.

© Ken Rookes

Other posts for the coming Sunday can be found here and here

Seats of glory

You know I love you both like brothers,
but I’m embarrassed,
and you should be too.
You don’t get it; you haven’t been listening.
If it was up to me you could have them,
but it’s not that simple
and the others might object.
The seat on my left and the one on my right,
they’re not mine to grant,
because they belong to everybody
and no-one.
There will be no worldly kingdom,
because it doesn’t work like that;
and there will be no heavenly kingdom, either,
because a paradise among the clouds
is just as irrelevant, and disquieting,
as one amid earth’s dust.
There will be no seats of glory;
not for me, not for anyone.
There are no seats, only places,
and they have little to do with glory
and much more to do with serving
and giving and suffering
and living and dying and making peace.
Places for standing and moving,
not seats for sitting and presiding;
places for gathering and for sharing together.
Places for being a servant,
not reserved for the best, or the greatest.
Places for everyone
who is willing to drink the cup
and to immerse themselves
in prickly water-spirit baptised life.
Places for disciples; followers
who allow themselves to be raised
above all the fears and the worries.
Places of connection, with the Spirit,
building justice, love and grace,
into kingdom and community.

© Ken Rookes 2012