Haiku of celebration

Coming together,
two people joining in love;
great celebration.

Gospel writer John
builds wonder right from the start:
spins his wedding yarn.

They were all present:
Jesus, his Mum, disciples;
for the wedding feast.

The Cana couple,
all bouquets and bridal waltz!
Then the wine gives out.

Mother Mary comes
with her high expectations.
My son, do something!

Son, Jesus, resists.
Why bring your request to me?
It isn’t my hour.

She tells the servants,
Do whatever he tells you.
Water jars are filled.

They draw some water,
take it to the chief steward.
What a splendid drop!

The good wine comes first,
the lesser when folk are drunk;
you’ve held back the best!

A kingdom image;
the inferior gives way
to the surpassing!


© Ken Rookes 2019



In my name

Haiku of inclusion

Dividing the world
according to our judgements,
into us and them.

They watched him cast out
demons. Not part of their group!
They tried to stop him.

Jesus said, Let be!
Who does such things in my name
cannot malign me.

Someone not opposed
to the things I do or say
must be on our side.

A cup of water
given in the name of Christ
will be rewarded.

Take good care of them,
the little ones who believe,
that they may grow strong.

Do not be tempted.
Whatever makes you stumble,
best to discard it.

Salt should be salty,
adding flavour to living;
be salt for others.


© Ken Rookes 2018

He came, walking towards them.

Haiku for those who sink.

He sent them ahead
by boat, to the other side.
The crowd was dismissed

Seeking solitude,
he ascended the mountain
to pray and reflect.

Out upon the lake
his friends battled wind and waves,
a long way from home.

In this strange story
he came ghost-like at morning,
caused them much alarm.

The reports tell us
that he walked across the lake.
Fear not! It is I!

Stranger still, a man
steps from the boat to join him;
does all right; at first.

Beginning to sink,
he cries in fear: Lord, save me!
Jesus takes his hand.

Is this an image
of baptism, of drowning
and rising to life?

Like the little boat
we are battered by the waves,
far from land and hope.

The waves engulf us;
We are fearful and we doubt.
Jesus, take our hand!


© Ken Rookes 2017

When the wine gave out

Those things that have grown weary
and no longer serve their purpose,
are to be cast aside;
their place will be taken
by the eager and determined.

The caterers’ miscalculations
threaten to bring the nuptial celebrations
to a premature conclusion.
Water’s cold austerity
gives way to wine by the bucketful;
joy flows abundant and free,
and the party continues.
The attendant throng is suitably amazed;
the man’s mother, who provoked the action,
is merely impressed.

In the hands of her son
the wedding feast is made into
the metaphor par excellence:
life that is fruitful and expectant,
filled with hope, joy,
and laden with possibility.


© Ken Rookes 2016

He came

He came
stepping from wave to wave
defying Archimedes,
and the laws of gravity,
at least according to the story.
This, of course, is a sticking point
for many in our sceptical scientific age,
including me.

“Come,” says the journeying man.
“Come to me,
come with me.
Together we shall travel
to the shadowed places;
where despair is deep, fears imprison,
and worries and concerns threaten to overwhelm.
We shall whisper hope,
touch with love and life,
and bring to birth the peace
for which our weeping planet yearns.
And should the waves rise to engulf us,
and should the primeval chaos
reassert itself to swallow us up,
then we shall sink together;
embracing death
and finding fulfilment.”

© Ken Rookes 2014

At Sychar

At Sychar the ancient well,
said to have been dug by Jacob himself,
continues its unfailing work;
storing the generosity
of the even older spring
in its cool, dark pool.
Deep below the sun-bleached rocks,
it holds enough water
to deliver its aqueous life
to inhabitants of the Samaritan village,
and to all who come looking;
provided they have a bucket
and sufficient length of rope.
Lacking such basics,
the travelling man from the north,
thirsty from his journey,
makes his famous request
of a woman who came to fill her empty jar.
A spirited conversation bubbles up.
From earnest banter it spills out
into life’s exponential invitation;
to fashion a bucket,
to twist a rope, and
to delve deeply within.

© Ken Rookes 2014


Below the sun’s relentless rays
the red earth bakes hard,
loosens with the passing feet and hooves
of creatures, wild and domesticated;
becoming dust again. Human feet,
some clothed in boot and shoe for protection
from hot earth and its sharp and stony projections,
others toughened by their habitual nakedness,
add to the wear of the animals.
The soil holds life,
waiting patiently for water
from largely cloudless skies.
With rock and tree and hill it holds stories,
a spirit library waiting for the singing;
waiting for the voices.
The water, too, holds life.
Borne upon wind, sometimes gathering
in clouded configurations,
anticipating the moment
when the swirling eddies of pressured and rushing air
achieve the necessary imbalance
for the soil’s saturation.
Undreneath the dry sand of occasional river beds,
the ever-present but unseen waters
receive and welcome the probing roots of trees;
which gather moisture, mix it with sunlight,
and fashion it into life for leaf, insect, bird and lizard.
In the scorching sun the leaves release their own
fragrant life offering;
the sharp and cleansing eucalyptian scent
that tells of hope and renewal.
Majestic birds, darkened silhouettes
ascend and wheel. They ride heated currents,
created by the fiery sun
as it works upon rugged valleys and hills.
These were, in turn, wrought slowly
from layers of ancient rock by that same sun,
together with persistent wind
and occasional rain.
Mortal beings.
earth-bound, like the large birds that traverse
these sun-drenched plains,
observe the distant aerial manoeuvres with wonder,
and dream. A few,
kissed by this vision of freedom,
determine also to rise and to soar.
The oxide-red earth;
the unseen wind, sometimes gentle, sometimes wild;
fire from above and within;
water, cool and clear;
the human heart, dreaming and hopeful;
here creation and spirit meet
a necessary and joyous union,
for the fashioning of life and love.
© Ken Rookes 2013