Even the wind and the sea

Haiku for the storm-tossed.

When evening came
they took the boat, crossed over
to the other side.

Left the crowd behind,
looking for a brief respite.
Other boats came too.

In the stern, weary,
on a cushion, tired eyes;
Jesus falls asleep.

The wind is rising,
grows into a roaring gale;
waves are crashing in.

Fearful, they wake him.
Teacher, are you not concerned?
We could all be drowned!

Rebuking the wind
and commanding wild sea
he speaks: Peace! Be Still!

The wind dies away
and the waves cease their crashing;
Why are you afraid?

Why are you afraid​?
We’ve travelled far together;
have you still no faith?

Who, they ask, is this;
the wind is at his command,
the sea obeys him.

Words for the faithful
when all seems out of control:
Be at peace! Be still!


© 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

How can these things be?


Mysteries and intimations;
things unseen,
unknown and unspoken.
The merest flicker of light
shining in darkness;
gleaming life amidst earth’s dust,
passing beyond birth’s waters
into realms of the spirit.
Places of healing, hope,
regions of truth;

The story-teller from provinces,
famous for his riddles
and tales with unexpected endings,
spoke often of wonders,
things half glimpsed among the shadows,
fleeting and never quite grasped.
No, you can’t grab hold of the wind.
His erudite nocturnal visitor
can only shake his head
and mumble unanswerable questions;
How can these things be?

The mysteries are many,
deep, disturbing and full of wonder:
life, labelled eternal,
generous love, called grace,
discipleship of the passionate kind,
and costly sacrifice.

© Ken Rookes 2015


God’s Spirit tugs, sometimes,
at others she tears at my insides,
saying: Come.
Come from this place of weary comfort
and grey coldness,
where the living is by halves
and sweet sameness cloys;
where edges are dull,
and blunted living safe;
where contentment is exalted and worshipped
and adventure and uncertainty
are disdained and distrusted.
Come to where life is sharp
and uneasy, the aching is strange,
and nakedness honest.
Let surprise and unexpected
delight warm your depths.
I promise you
there will be friendship to match the pain,
joyful wonder to accompany fear’s uncertainty,
and much tear-soaked love.
let rushing wind
and Pentecost fire be your home.
© Ken Rookes

Earth, wind, fire and water.

His words pelted indiscriminately
like a summer storm;
you couldn’t avoid getting soaked in his message.
John the crazy water-man
didn’t polish his words;
he left the edges pointy-sharp,
called the crowd a nest of snakes.
Some slithered away. They had come
to satisfy their curiosity,
have a laugh, and boast among their friends.|
Others stayed and listened,
yearning for a speck of gold.
They copped the flaming derision
and reckoned it a fair price
as the prophet’s wave of abrasive words
crashed over them,
leaving them saturated, raw and gasping.

.Sort yourselves out before somebody else does.
The promised one is coming,
so get yourselves ready.

The water-man talked of the advent
of a man consonant with the cosmos,
one who would embody the four elements
from which all creation
has been lovingly sculpted; and a fifth.
He will be present in and amongst earth’s dust,
bring fire to warm despondent hearts,
Spirit-wind to breathe life and hope,
and the water that alone can truly quench
the thirst inside us all.
And a fifth is eternity.

© Ken Rookes 2012

Peace! Be Still!

Without the benefit of radar rain mapping

or Doppler wind display,

Jesus, known among the faithful

as Son of the great Creator-Parent,

manages to deal with the storm.

First century gospel writers

had no hesitation in promoting

the miracle-working capacities of their Lord;

evidence, as it was, of his status as an equal

within the Godhead.

Hey, storm-subduing Jesus,

orderer of waves

and director of the wind,

we could use a few miracles, too!

How about sending some rain down here;

you know that we need it.

And while you’re at it

there are a few other storms

that could do with some divine intervention.

The blizzards of relationships, frozen,

bitter and unforgiven;

swirling tornados of fear and certainty

catching up all in their path;

the burning maelstroms of greed and accumulation,

always hungry for more;

cyclones of despair that build large and wild

to eliminate hope;

the thunderous lightning that deafens, blinds

and denies that which is true and good;

squalls and tempests that accuse and abuse,

causing damage difficult to repair;

and the destructive hurricanes

released by rampant egos

lusting unrelentingly for power.


Speak the word, Jesus!


© Ken Rookes 2012