The old people sing

Haiku of fulfillment

Old people hang out
in churches and in temples;
watching and waiting.

Something might happen.
You never know, it might be
the day God appears.

Righteous and devout,
old Simeon was patient;
he would see the Christ.

His words erupted!
This child, he would be the one;
light and salvation!

The old man blessed them.
It is enough, I’ve seen him
Let me go now, God.

He spoke to Mary.
There will arise much turmoil
on the road to peace.

Anna, the prophet,
saw the child, raised her old voice,
and joined in the song.

Wisdom and insight
come not just with the years,
but with openness.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017.

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It was on the Sabbath Day

Haiku for those who would see.

Jesus was working;
it was on the Sabbath Day
that he healed the man.

The Pharisees freaked,
the thing was most improper;
called an inquiry.

What have you to say?
He can’t heal and break the law;
must be a sinner.

A sinner, you say?
He opened my eyes. I choose
to call him Prophet.

Yes, this is our son.
Yes, he was born without sight,
and yes, now he sees.

How did it happen?
Why are you questioning us?
Ask him, he will know!

They inquire once more:
His power must be from God,
says the seeing man.

The crowd was aroused,
the leaders were embarrassed.
So they threw him out.

Jesus found the man.
Now that you can see, he says,
keep your eyes open.

Some with eyes to see
choose the darkness over light;
they make themselves blind.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

End time warnings

End-time warnings are stock-in-trade for the literalists
who delight in making pronouncements on behalf of the almighty.
These words tell of the fragility of human existence,
of the imperative to mend our ways,
and of the need to be ready.

Accusations, betrayal, hatred, death!
(Rest assured, not a hair of your head will perish!
Work that one out.)
Wars, earthquakes, famines, plagues
and other portents!

I was never much interested in eschatological speculations.
And yet with the planet soon to bake in an atmospheric oven,
and life as we know it most likely changing for ever,
Darwin may yet prevail. If not over the Almighty,
then at least over the self-declared faithful.

All those biblical warnings about end-times
are conveniently ignored by those who doubt the science
and who also refuse to pay the cost.
It seems that the temple and the planet might both be cast down,
neither of which would appear to have much hope of restoration.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

Not like other people

Attending the temple,
two men, one upright and proud,
one without merit.

The Pharisee stands,
eyes raised, confident and proud,
boasting before God.

I’m such a good man,
honest, diligent, faithful,
I fast and I tithe.

Go right ahead, God,
pour out your many blessings;
I am deserving.

The tax collector
stands apart from prying eyes;
head bowed to the ground.

Lowers his sad eyes,
aware of his need for grace;
God, be merciful.

They each return home.
The first untouched. The second
justified by God.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

Among the teachers

The boy was precocious, no question;
Speaking of God as father, and such.
Twelve years old, adrift in the temple
and taking it up to his elders.
Being advanced for one’s age
is a quality not always welcomed
by the educated, wise and experienced;
Israel does not need another Samuel.
Still, his youthful idealism captured our attention;
in a decade or so,
given the benefit of our collective wisdom,
he might be made into something,
or Someone.
A useful Someone.
With proper guidance and direction
he could become a minor sensation.
Imagine: a peasant teacher from the northern provinces.
Never happened before,
he could prove quite handy.
S
uch a possibility is, of course, a long way off.


We’ll get him to come back in a few years.
The first step will be to re-channel
that youthful idealism;
then we can begin his real education.

 

 

© Ken Rookes 2015

Let them crumble

The columns and arches
shall be disassembled
the stones will be broken-up
and allowed to erode
in the wind and the rain and the sun.
The stone-masons’ skills
have been brought to nothing.
Let the walls crumble;
no heritage order can save them,
money has not been put aside for reconstruction.
There will be no restoration project
driven by a grand vision
with its attendant fund-raising scheme;
religion, too, will be allowed to collapse.
The man who foretells the demise
of both Temple and Religion,
himself becomes the rock
upon which these flawed vessels
will be dashed and broken.
It will be thrown down,
all of it.

© Ken Rookes 2015

Getting away with it

Wandering around
on the fringes of respectability
and caring nothing for the good regard
of the religious establishment,
Jesus pulled a ‘Pussy Riot’ protest
in the sacred precincts of the temple.
He left behind a chaos of coins and cattle,
upturned tables,
and a whip of cords.

He seemed to have gotten away with it.
They didn’t arrest him,
or throw him, Baptist-like, into prison;
things eventually settled down.
The teacher got on with his unorthodox life,
roving the land in his capacity
as a no-fixed-address itinerant,
outrageously telling it like it was.

Those in authority,
the Chief Priests and the others,
played it cool.
They righted the tables,
rounded up the livestock,
and gathered together the discarded cords.
These they plaited into rope enough;
and waited for the moment.
The arrest, incarceration,
and much worse,
would come.

 

 

© Ken Rookes 2015.