The Baptiser cries

Haiku of expectation

The Baptiser cries
loudly his words to repent,
and weeps in silence.

In his op-shop clothes
of camel hair, leather belt,
catches them off-guard!

Make ready, he says;
things are changing, a new day
is about to dawn.

You privileged ones,
presuming on your birthrights;
produce fruits of love.

No place for smugness
you who think you have arrived;
you must live justly.

Flee the coming wrath;
produce fruits of justice, and

One is coming soon,
with greater, more powerful
words of hope and life.

He will bring judgement.
There is really no need; we
bring it on ourselves.


© Ken Rookes 2019

Out into the wilderness.

Haiku for considering

The Spirit led him
out into the wilderness.
Time to think and pray.

Fasting forty days,
the pangs gnaw at the belly,
the mind becomes sharp.

The tempter comes by
to clarify the issues
and offer advice.

If you are the one,
the Son that God is sending,
make bread from these stones.

I could use some food.
There’s so much more to living;
I’ll take the hunger.

Look at the city!
Throw yourself from its towers;
angels will catch you!

It’s there in the book,
if you make demands on God
you’re missing the point.

Power and riches!
Trust me, you can have it all;
simply worship me.

Enough! says Jesus.
Life is real, becomes worthwhile,
when you’re serving God

The tempter decamps,
leaving Jesus by himself
to weigh his options.


© Ken Rookes 2017.

Other poems reflecting on the temptations of Jesus can be found here, and here. and here.

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

In the wilderness

There must be a thousand temptations,
any dozen of which assail us
in any given twenty-four hour period.
Each one is subtly different,
but when we collect them
and place them under a microscope
we find that they all share the same essential DNA;
that they have all evolved from the one stem.
Power, wealth, comfort,
(I must have that!)
To be left alone to enjoy a peaceful existence,
(somebody else’s problem, not mine /
I’ve done my bit / am I my brother’s keeper?)
To be free from pain, suffering
(and therefore to forsake the work of love).
These, and the countless others,
all share in the same evolutionary taxonomy.
One, three or a thousand,
we all face our temptations,
every day.
Like Jesus in his forty-day wilderness struggle,
and through the years that followed.
Every day we face our temptations
and hope that, like him,
we can overcome.


© Ken Rookes 2016

Streams in the desert

 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom…  Isaiah 35:1

Raise your voices, faithful people
as you tread with determination
the kingdom road.
The journey is long and uncertain,
some say foolish,
but it is the way of promise;
with glorious Zion
the destination, and its Lord as our home.
Journey with those whose ears
have been unstopped,
that they might hear the songs of the faithful.
Walk with those whose eyes
have been opened to see
the surprising defiance of desert blooms.
Travel in company with leg-leaping
comrades, no longer accepting
the sad label that declares them lame.
You shall not lose your way.
Formerly this was a land of despair,
despondently arid and dust dry desert.
Now, with newly opened eyes of faith
we see the joyful springs;
water flowing among green reeds and rushes;
sparkling with life and filled with hope.
© Ken Rookes

Another poem for the third Sunday in Advvent can be founf here.

Crying in the wilderness

Crying in the wilderness,
weeping in the bush;
feeling some of the pain,
fear, despair and disappointment.

The prophets have been silenced;
only their tears remain,
dripping unseen from holy cheeks.

They say the Lord is coming.
Perhaps it is the tears,
the necessary tears,
by which our hearts are prepared.

Weeping in the wilderness,
crying in the bush.

© Ken Rookes 2013

Yes, I know the exegesis is dodgey, but it might just hold some truth, anyway.

Another poem for the second Sunday in Advent, year A, can be found here.

Christ in the Wilderness: The hen

Stanley Spencer paints like a grounded angel;
his Jesus sprawls upon the earth
as one who is at home in the wilderness and humble.
His sad face broods distractedly
over the red hen gathering her precious chicks.
His thoughts will not be contained
within the picture’s frame.
At one with creation,
and aware of the complex threads
of interdependence between its creatures,
bird and insect, fox and fowl;
he understands darkly the pain and the dying
that are life’s unavoidable consequences.
When he departs, the hen will be on her own
and her brood vulnerable once more.
Ah, Jesus, you cannot be everywhere;
you will have to allow ‘nature, red in tooth and claw’*
to find her own balance;
and you will have to trust
that those whom you have called
will continue to weepingly reach with love
to Jerusalem’s waiting children, and all the others.

* In Memoriam A.H.H., a poem by Alfred. Lord Tennyson

© Ken Rookes