Saturday, December 29, 2012

have I not loved

I've flown there and back in one exhausting day
to weep, forlorn at a graveside.

I've waked and waited through watches of the night
willing sickness to turn.

I've prayed desperately and faithfully,
daily and yearly
that hearts will turn and be made flesh.

I've gasped in ecstatic joy,
cried in wrenching sadness,
laughed with humble mirth.

I've smiled at stories because I know someone I love will love them,
stored them up in memory to share,
to brighten or stimulate an Other's day.

Gathered tidbits to share,
made favourite dishes,
slaved in the preparation of special gifts.

I've waited patiently,
defended jealously,
watched enviously,
thirsted endlessly,

have I not loved?!!

Just because I haven't rolled roughly on rumpled sheets,
or promised fealty in public celebration.

Just because you see no biological evidence
and cannot see into the deeps of my heart.

Though I have not felt the pleasure of it,
I know what delight there must be,
in walking arm in arm,
in warm sun,
on fair path.

Though I have not tasted the pleasure of a kiss,
my minds mouth can conjure it,
and sup the bitterness of its ending.

I have loved.
do love.
I will love.

You may never see it,
celebrate it,
give me gifts.

You may never organise a party
simply to congratulate me on it's length.

You may never note or mark it at all,

but have I not loved?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Advent liturgy.

Soon it is Christmas,
let all warring cease.
Let us join hands over the discount table.

Lord, we ask that you will bless these gifts
of pav and wine,
turkey, ham and pudding,
and that we who receive them may be truly blessed.

You have slashed the prices for us Lord.
Verily, we thank you.
You have cut the rates for us Lord.
Verily, we thank you.

As we celebrate this precious and solemn ceremony,
and imbibe the blessings of your presence with us,
we ask for your perfect peace,
and a transcendent glimpse of your powerful holiness.


Friday, December 14, 2012

three gifts

Born a king on Bethlehem's plain,
war torn, then as now,
the birth of a prince of peace more remarkable than
pigs flying over a kosher barbeque.

Incense given,
heralding the presence of deity,
as does the scent of blood, sweat and tears,
miraculous proclamation of fleshly God.

Myrrh scents the house,
perfume of a grave and a birthplace,
new life, newly lived, snatched again.
First breath repeated as first fruits.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Real text (to my sister):

A bit more of my broken tooth just broke off...! I feel this is the sort of thing one needs to share with someone. Guess what?! This is YOUR lucky day!! :-) It didn't hurt... Nor does it look rotten. Also, it means there's less of a hole to get food in/dig food out of with tongue. Mmm. So anyway... Yeah. There u go :-)


I am all alone, at night, with a broken tooth.

Real text (from NRMA):

Don't forget to renew your Roadside Assistance before 29/11/2012. If you haven't already paid, call 1300 300 381 or visit


When you next drive out to the country, y'know, to visit the family or whatevs, YOU COULD DIE!! So pay us now.

Real text (to my friend):

Honest, today's the day I'll write down ur apartment number so I know which bell to ring!!


I am incompetent at life. LIFE!! How did that end up being a pass/fail?! You've lived here for ages, I've visited you multiple times, yet, I stand on your step, wondering if I can somehow cheat my way into the right apartment and save my shreds of dignity. Dammit. I cannot!!

Real prayer (to God):

Please be with &$#€¥. Help her to get through this awful day, and comfort her, and help her to keep trusting in you despite the ickiness of it all. Please hold her tight!!


Gaaaaaaaahhhh!!! If you don't sort this, I have no idea what I'm going to do. And yes, this is one of those days where I feel like a total idiot for even talking to you. Please help?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

even today

Depression's worst on sunny days,
when Spring is in the air.

More justified, more rational
when black clouds gather Winter storms
or Fridays fall alone,
with tissues, pie and bed.

On glory days, with spirits high,
the laughter of friends ringing in azure sky,
the gutting fall to darkened deeps,
harsh inner voices and

seems more potent,

Even on this day
I cannot be content.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ellie's birthday

On Saturday, my darling niece Ellie turned two, and I performed as the Heartbeat Poet for the first time. 

I turned these three poems into a cycle - Mother's Day, Spiritual Surgery and For Paris and then finished it off with Sunset and After The Storm (the first two stanzas of this post, resurrection storm).

It was a great experience to speak the poems, and experiment with the visual and aural aspects of performance as well. 

Check out the outfit!

Friday, October 19, 2012

mistress of the pig market/heartbeat live

Hey y'all,

soooooo, my fabulous friend Ali Maegraith is launching her folky/rocky album 'Mistress of the Pig Market' at the moment, aaaaaaaand, on Saturday 27th October, 7pm at Marrickville Road Church, I'll be performing a set of my poetry at her request.

It's the corner of Petersham and Marrickville Roads, $15/adult, $20 with CD - the album is great!!

So, come check out my embarrassing debut styled as a 'performance poet' and enjoy some cool tunes in the beautiful Marrickville Anglican Church.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hebrews 10

Standing not in shadow,
but a vision now.
Still ephemeral,
but light.

What help is that?
To know more but feel nothing?
To stand either side, in the darkness or The Day
but not the middle moment,
the vital strike
of heavenly lightning to shattered earth?

Hope still as fragile,
life still a rehearsal,
the dumb imitation of actions not yet seen, but described.

Press on.

Press on weary soldier,
toward oasis promised.
Haze on the horizon,
not even the scent in the air.


one day soon -
keep stepping,
you can wash,
and drink,
and rest. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Judas stumbles

Night falls.
The sick, sad slip down into darkness.

He walked with you once,
in the day.
Ate with you,
lived with you,
heard you speak and cry.

Day after day,
in the company,
standing by
as crowds came clamouring,
pharisees came wrangling,
mothers came wondering
he knew why.

But in the end,
promised prize faded
next to newly minted glint.
Instant gratification won over delayed bliss.

Suddenly, stark sunshine
lit corpses hung high in the air,
and shone unwelcome in dark, dank caverns
of motive and crime.

night falls.
No light to see money by.

Judas stumbles.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I can't talk to you.

Not that there's nothing to say,
I simply can't form the words in my gullet,
they stick and swallow,
strangled before daylight's meet.

So how long can we stay like this?


Until the words eat through my chest?
Burning through my flesh?

Will you "put up" with my silence?
Or will you walk away?

Loose my tongue
or lose me.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


A really comfortable prison cell,
that's what I've built myself.
It's different than the usual grey walls,
barred windows,
prison food. 

It's the kind where I get to cook what I want,
use the bathroom when I want,
and even visit the outside.

But at the end of the day,
the door slams shut,
impenetrable social barriers, 
tyranny of distance.

The wardens of darkness patrol my mind.

I lie under my blanket,
staring at the cold, blank roof,
wondering how I can waste the day tomorrow
to distract me from these four walls,
this small space,
this tight trap.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tabernacle Series #3 - the one about the goat

Glassy eye, the head stares back at me.
Dead, dead, dead,
Blood covers the dirt around us,
stench of bowel and blood combine,
a grassy smell,
the contents of it's stomach, spilled.

I sit with the goat,
it's body slowly cooling,
warm belly blood attracting flies.

That first spurt surprised me,
violet spray of pumping heart,
staining my clothes,
distracting me from the nanny's screams.

That's no way to die;
a knife to the gullet,
for a goat who did nothing wrong.
Well, except for eating what it oughtn't.

I'm worn out,
full spent from the exercise of courage I'd summoned
for my first kill.
Not yet repeated often enough to feel normal.

She came to me willingly,
thinking I had food,
not expecting the betrayal of a wrench of the head,
blade to the neck.

She'd butted up against my legs,
like a toddler trying to hide in mummy's skirts.

She's a carcass now, a goat no more,
her life-blood drying red to brown,
gritty on my dirtied skin.

Meat and fur,
gelatin and teeth.

welcomed in. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tabernacle Series #2 - Rahab's House

YOU said not to unite your body with a prostitute,
but here you are,

YOU said whoever unites with a prostitute becomes one flesh with them,
but here you are,
loving me,
living in me,
squatting among the darkness and filth.

Woe to me!
I am ruined!
For I am a woman of unclean lips,
a hoarder of horrors,
in a house stacked high with filth.

Burn it down,
cleanse with fire,
remove this tent and build another,
more worthy,
a suitable dwelling for the king. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tabernacle Series #1 - Cross-stiched Welcome Mat

God doesn't live here.
He doesn't need your electricity offer/insurance package/re-directed mail.

God doesn't live here.
Don't expect an invite to cross a threshold stained with blood,
into a welcome of warmth and light.

God doesn't live here,
so don't expect a meal, no, a feast,
good music and a prayer.

God doesn't live here. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

bloody love

Multitasking like a manic monkey in the attempt to prove I'm not a total failure.

Procrastinating wildly in the best style of self-sabotage.

Guilt guilt guilty that my failures drag others down with me.

Help me off this treadmill of woe,
my Sisyphian attempt to win salvation (freedom from painful shame) by works (hopeful/hopeless stabs at success).

Lift up my eyes,
from my navel
to your skies.
Help me truly perceive and believe your measureless graciousness,
staunch affection,
bloody love.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

cutting a covenant

Marriage - sealed with a kiss,
not a cut,
'though intermingling blood
will stain pure sheets,
proving true cost of loyalty:
when broken, hearts will bleed.

Flood - sealed with a bow,
a sign
that rain will not overshoot it's place
as a weapon against sin, the world and the devil,
to overwhelm by drowning.
Clear-cut colour, witness to grace.

Communion - sealed with a cup,
some bread,
a prayer.
Feeble evocation of slaughter:
omitting stink, bile and skin,
but perfect prompt for a meal,
a feast,
of fellowship, grace, and daily need
provided by the promise maker,
cut, out, excluded,
faithful still,
heavenly baker, vigneron and king. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

in the air

In the air

where wild birds soar,
free-wheeling, released,
conquering city smog.

In the air

above this mild, mean, melee
of trampled faces,
broken dreams.

In the air

where cleansing light meets gentle breeze,
no towers, walls, defences
to block brightness, darken, squeeze.

In the air

we'll meet Him.

In the air,

we'll greet Him.

We'll finally be free,
in the air. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

as a fool returns to her folly

my heart hurts

I want to keep striving, keep trying,
to swallow that vomit,
reinvestigate whatever taste I may have left behind,
chew over the chunks,
so maybe I'll realise
why I spat it out in the first place.

my heart hurts

You could grind me in a mortar,
make me dust with a pestle,
then still all my pieces would strain
to re-form,
in order to repeat
the foolishness I've repented of.

It's not a sin,
it's just stupid,
the tempting kind of stupid
that spreads salve on the hole in my hurting heart.

Friday, July 13, 2012

from praises of panadol

My hollowed body and heavy head have kept me sofa bound,
house tied,
as I rally slowly from brief illness.

I had almost forgotten to pray,
reach out,
seek mercy,
because I have paracetemol,
so the worst passed quickly, almost painlessly.
Fretful fever, ravaged throat and thumping head soothed swiftly,
suffering curtailed.
So easy to forget you in scarcity of need,
elevating gift to the glory of the giver,
praising PanadolTM instead of You.

But when I fell, and shivered, and shook on the couch,
room spinning, knees knocking,
shortened breath and screaming mind,
I remembered that without your grace, I'd be dead,
and for a moment or three, I was afraid.

Centuries of small steps:
hand washing,
miracle drugs,
room ventilation,
corset freedom,
plentiful red meat,
clean water,

countless quotidian blessings
conferred lavishly by You
are really all that separates me from
crumbled, forgotten headstones telling tales of
deathly flu,
terrifying plagues,
early deaths
and the truth of human frailty.

You've known all along it takes the rush of the storm
to quicken our pulse
and draw us to you,
calling you from your cushion of rest
to calm and to guide.

So in my brief gasp,
freed undeservedly by you from drawn out fearing,
I echo with David the blessing You deserve.

"Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s."

Sunday, July 8, 2012

hearing Psalm 142

I cry aloud to you, Yahweh,
I lift up my voice to you for mercy,
groaning from the cavern of my bed.

I know I'm only in a cave of deep, dark doona,
that soft pillows surround me,
blocking out bright morning light.

But my spirit is faint within me,
My eyes keep wanting to close.
The path I fear opens up to me,
full of dips and pot holes.

The Devil is in the details,
setting traps,
exploiting the possibilities open to him.
The snare of self-hate,
triggers abounding.
Ambushes of angst,
pinning me down,
robbing me of joy.

This is not 'normal' Monday-itis,
it is any day,
every day.
It is daily life plagued by overwhelming weariness,
chronic sadness
and little green pills.

Look to my side and you'll see I have no right hand man,
Look to my left and you'll see I wear nobody's ring.
No one is concerned for me,
I am the centre of nobody's life.
No one inquires about my soul.*

I cry to you oh Yahweh,
you are my refuge;
the lap I can hide on and bury my face in. 

You are my portion in the land of the living,
today you the only one tying me to that place.

Set me free from my invisible prison,
this weight of wearying worry and woe!
Break these shackles so I can praise you. 
Free me,
that I may praise your beneficent name!

*in God's rich blessing to me, these three lines are hyperbole. The rest isn't. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

the only one

In a dark, dark house
down a dark, dark stair
in a dark dark, cellar
is a dark, dark door
behind the dark, dark door
is a dark, dark room
and in the dark, dark room
is a dark, dark secret,
and you're the only one who knows that it's there. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Jesus Christ, Superstar!

The 16 year old in me is v. relieved
you had compassion on
the guy who lived among graves and cut himself.

The woman in me is glad
you had compassion on
the sister whose leakage told a tale of woe
to anyone with a nose.

The sick person in me is desperately excited
that rumours are flying of a powerful healer,
so I'm ready to shed my dignity and run.

Everything they've told me about you so far gives me hope,
that here at last,
is a promise keeper. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Dear Lord,

thank you for time!

Thank you that with each day in the warmth of your love I can mean the words "dear" and "Lord" more and more fully,

Dear Lord,
the one who has shepherded me so faithfully,

You've dragged me through so many disasters!
You've preserved my life,
against fell fortunes,
sad hours,
and countless accidents that never happened.

You've been a friend in dark days,
quiet moments,
and cacophonous melees,
speaking words of wisdom,
words of life.

I giggle at the virginal wonder
of a bride on her wedding day,
believing so entirely that she couldn't possibly love her groom more.

I giggle at the laughter of years,
the throaty 'ha ha' of Sarah,
shored up by the evidence of decades,
believing such a thing could never happen.

Time in love is your great joke on me,
on all of us.
You knew all along I would look back
in wonder
at that other me
and smirk,
now knowing the next part of the story,
the ironic twist in the tale,
coming for her,
ready to invert expectations,
startle her predictions,
delight her with new depths of knowledge,
and a hefty chuckle at her previous ingenue self.

To my shame and to my delight,
I did not expect this development in the plot;
that a 27th anniversary would be more deeply felt
than a first night in the honeymoon suite.

I will still be surprised,
like Sarah,
at 90,
because even now I've only scratched the surface
of all that you have for me,
for us,
for the cosmos.

I'll wait breathlessly to read the next page of your manuscript,
savouring with pleasure the lines of such mastery,
revelling in the delight of finding a playwright
whose every step surprises,
whose skill surpasses,
whose knowledge of human nature saturates every page,
and whose favourite plot is comedy.

Dear Lord,
my Lord,
thank you for time.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Elijah's complaint - 1 Kings 19

Crouched in the cave,
weary from the journey.
Head spinning,
knees knocking,
remembering the fight.

I knew, and I waited,
I had teased and cajoled.
Your perilous power
rested a moment in my gnarly hands,
so I waited and waited for the tension to grow,
then struck a deft, dazzling, dramatic blow.

But the dance took it out of me,
sent me tail-spinning,
loop looping,
nose diving,
over again.

How much longer do I have to keep tapping out your show?
Pulling rabbits from hats
to blind patrons,
carnival rats?

When will you come,
with your hordes,
with companions,
to sweep savagely down
through this rebellious crew,
once for all showing
nothing up their sleeves
no one behind their eyes?


My stress in dealing with change seems curiously halved by enduring them all in rapid succession.

But where would I be if you'd not placed all these arms around me?
Where would I be if you'd left me out here alone?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

birthday birthday

In 8 days, I turn 27. I have no fixed address, no "career", no children, lots of debt and a somewhat heavy sense that I should have it more 'together' by now.

But my life would not have even been possible in other centuries, other cultures, so despite the mild discomforts, I rejoice in the sacrifices of others that have led me here. For all it's strange disconnectedness, skating aimlessness and burden of potentiality, it is a blessed, blessed life, graciously kissed by love. It's a gift, fashioned for me and given to me by the hands of others.

I am sheltered, fed, warmed and embraced by immortal beings who've opened their lives to me, so I also have a comforting sense that the Lord goes before me, walks beside me, and pushes from behind me. He will never forsake or abandon me. He knows my future, my present and my past, and is weaving it all together in the tapestry of His glory.

But this morning, all my brain would say is, "yeah, you're homeless, careerless, family less; just as it should be. 
You're just a fat fuck who looks like Chastity Bono, wastes time like a stoner and deserves nothing better."

Thank you for the love Jesus. Thank you for caring when you totally don't have to.

Thank you for the love Father. Thank you for guiding and watching over me, even when I sleep.

Thank you for the love Holy Spirit. Thank you for shaping and transforming me, from stunted garden weed toward fruitful, handsome wheat.

"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them was written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written."

Friday, June 8, 2012

and now for something not so different

If anyone out there was wondering what it's like inside my head, talking to God, kicking myself around, this will give you a window. 

I'm staying with some wonderful friends at the moment, the next in the long line of beautiful souls who have taken me in and given me a bed. But, I'll be looking for somewhere more permanent, and the issue I keep circling around is whether or not I can psychologically survive living on my own. 

I just made myself a malted milk, and settled down to type some stream of consciousness:

So, the crap-est part is just before bed.

When you walk through an empty house and there's no one to say goodnight to.

Perhaps Phil is right. Perhaps sleep is death. So having no one to say goodbye to is like dying alone.

And I'm sorry, my smaller-than-a-mustard-seed faith often doesn't comfort me with the truth that I am seen and known, at a time like this, when I am alone.

It's fine in the morning, I'm up, I've got things to do. I'm clearly not dead!

It's a new dawn, it's a new day, and it'll only be a short time before I see someone to talk to.

I could take myself down to a cafe, remind myself that everybody else is alive, and here.

I could send a text, call a friend, set up a meeting.

Why is it a problem at night...?

Alien hours stretch before me.

Hours of vulnerability, unconsciousness. Hours of dark and danger.

Hours of rehearsal for lying in a coffin, dark, immobile, silent and alone.

That is the time of day when I most wish someone was with me, by touch or sound. To hold my hand, or kiss me goodnight, or at least exchange a farewell glance as we peel off to our separate rooms. A shared smile, an acknowledgement that we'll be there together, in the sleep of death.

I can't do it because of the nighttime!

I can do it in the day, when the world's alight and friendly, and birds, postmen, traffic, planes and school bells line my way
through this weary progress,
making it all okay.

I could live by myself during the day only... 

No wonder pillow-talk is such a soothing practise. All the secrets and fears of the day come out.

Off-load, release, before the dark closes in and claims all hands of friendship in paralysing doubt.

I can think of nothing worse than dying in my sleep, because I know it's then I will be most alone. More alone than I've ever been before. Laid out, out cold, already waiting in state. But with no one to observe, except the ants and cockroaches, raking over the detritus of my life.

Come sleep, perchance to dream.

If only I could sleep in day, and stay on guard during all the watches of the night.

Stay alert, watch movies, beat sunrise back to beginning. Then rest, the sleep of victory, knowing I have graced the field with bright banners of triumph, defeating the guerilla camps of night.

By day I isolate by choice. Free walking, loose talking, not minding silence slipping by.

I would even lie down with a lion, just for the warmth. And that's what scares me most.

I'm a sheep, not a feline, and until you call Time, that's not a safe place for me to be. Lions still bite, sheep still bleed, and there's no sense in that picture at all.

But sheep are herd animals, just like the rest of us, so maybe they do feel safer with a lion than with nothing at all...

I don't wanna go hunting lions. 

But I don't want to live alone. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I was stranded by the pool.
As usual.
Too nervous to de-towel and hop in,
afraid of my bare legs and arms.

Other bodies,
already splashing, racing, enjoying themselves
were suntanned,
care free.

I wanted to find a corner where nobody was watching
and slip quickly and quietly into the water
where distorted wavelets could cover my horrid flesh.

Right there,
in that shady corner.
No one would see me there.

I slid in and bobbed around
mildly enjoying my anaemic delight.

But the water held no healing powers.
And when I hauled myself up the ladder,
I was just the same as before.

I didn't want anyone to watch me.
I didn't want anybody to see me at all.

My mind was on one object,
and one object only.


The hope that one day this would all change,
that I would move freely and easily through the world,
make friends,
have a name.

And when you came by,
I didn't realise at first what you were really offering,
I didn't know the solution you provided was what I needed most of all.
We were disconnected,
remote from one another.
I hiding in transparent water,
you standing strong,
speaking soft,
thinking bold.

I missed it.

I missed all those chances.

But you kept coming,
kept being,
kept knowing
that eventually I would understand.

"There is something worse than being sick.
There is something better than being well."*

*this is a quote from a sermon on John 5 by Simon Manchester. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

not to worry

The foxes have holes, you said.
And you were right.

The birds of the air have nests.
It's true.

But the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.

How did you deal with it?!
The itinerancy. The impermanence.

3 years on the road,
three Passovers,
three passings-by,
of loved ones,
of places you visited frequently,
of people you met only once.

How did you deal with it all?

A leaderless leader -
everyone depending on you for everything,
you depending only on God?

Teach me!

Teach me how you knew man, so you did not entrust yourself to him.

Teach me how you survived, when even your closest companions
were distanced sometimes
through ignorance,
and human-ness...

Tell me how you did it,
so faithfully,
so well,
when you were so alone.

Show me how to do likewise.
Show me how not to worry. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Soon your hands will wither.

Those veins you can barely see now
will strike new wrinkles in your skin,
rise up over softened crevices.

Your neck will slouch,
descend to meet the breasts that
also have descended
down down down
to meet the bottomless belly
draped over wasting thighs.

Soon, soon, as time reveals, exposes,
your body will fold in, replace,
become unrecognisable.

This skin contorts, transforms,
is plastic
in the image of its maker.

A constant reminder
of your fragility, changeability, liminality,
the fine, filmy substance of your physical existence

in this epoch.

You should EMBRACE
this final, flaming, sunset spark,
the glory unparalleled of being allowed
to dance and shine before your maker.

And then, look forward
to dawning again,
upon a world remade,
fresh light,
new skin,
new blood.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

the maze

Paused at another crossroads together,
our breath mingles in the frosty air.
Goosebumps rise on my bare arms,
a dull ache spreads to the tips of my fingers.

I'm panting from the effort it took to get this far,
but adrenaline from our flight fights the fear flowing through me.
That fear rises and falls at each twisting turn.
Dangers lurking up ahead,
though usually revealed by your advancing presence as simple spectres of my own mind,
cause constant apprehension.
Growing fat as I grow weary.

My muscles tense, ready to leap according to your next direction.

"Fight or flight?!", my nervous system screams.

But it's not a crossroads at all!
No dichotomous dilemma,
but a gordian knot of possible paths,
circling out and over one another,
too interbred, too intertwined for me to unravel.

Bare directions seem mis-matched to the complexity of this task.
Left or right?
Up or down?
No lacing pattern dances as mysteriously before the eyes.
No portrait weaver's magic matches yours.

This is the maze that you created,
you are its master,
and you maintain it.

"Focus on my hand".
You call out my name.
I reach now,
clutching your firm, reassuring grip.

I stare and stare,
losing the high walls and tortured pathways of this arboreal prison
as my eyes trace the patterns of your palm.
Life-line, cut short
only to begin again.
Heart-line endless,
wrapped, encircling, carved deep with pain.

You have survived the maze.
You have mastered it.
In the paths of your hands
I've nothing to fear from it. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

two roads

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
that's ok, that happens to paths sometimes.

Well, all the time really.
Diverge, fold back, retrace another,
run parallel, distant, high and low,
steep, leisurely and rough.

Our paths have crossed,
we walk on together,
I ask "shall we go this way?"
You want to go the other.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
I hope that we may still wave at one another,
as we walk separately
our different ways. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

mother's day

Every mothers mothers mother's made mistakes.
Frowns, beatings, disappointments, frozen heartaches.
Emotional shutdowns, fire words,
warring jealousies, cold grudges.

Wounds nursed not just for lifetimes,
but generations,
blood passed, mother to daughter,
bruises repeated, one to another.

77 times, and 77 times more.
Forgive, forgive, forgive,
clasp hand to breast.
Swallow the poison again and again,
vomit it up,
get rid of the gall.
Spew out the bile on Jesus'
bare, anointed feet.
Wash off with tears,
and then,

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

supplication from a stupid sheep

You are my shepherd,
and in the right frame of mind,
I shall not want.

You've given me everything a sheep could ask for!

Grass to eat, a flock to hang with,
a good shepherd,
a safe bed at night.

And I love you.

But will you be mad with me if I run away?

Paranoid of the other sheep,
anxious that you are untrustworthy,
poisoned, driven mad by snake's venom flowing through my veins.

What if I run,
not just to get caught in brambles,
or lost,

but what if I run
to throw myself off a cliff?

Will you come and get me then?

Will you bring me back,
and bury my body?

When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
you are with me,
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Except when I think they're an illusion,
or the night is too dark to see them clearly.

You spread a banquet before me in the presence of my enemies,
but my food turns to ashes in my mouth,
and I can't raise the glass to my lips.

Surely goodness, mercy, your faithful loving-kindness will follow me all the days of my life,
but sometimes, in all the wrong circumstances,
loneliness batters me,
and I feel unaccompanied.

I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  

Sunday, May 6, 2012

these three

These three will remain,
Faith, Hope and Love,
and the most terrifying of these is love.

Faith is not scary,
but logical in the extreme.
It is only by faith that breath can be taken in.

Hope does not induce fear,
it is strong and bold,
even in small measure it is robust, though it feels fleeting,
it can only lead to life.

But Love, ah Love.
Love alone can terrify.
Without Faith and Hope by it's side,
love strangles life in the night.
To love as strong as death
without hope of consummation
is to kill your soul with unceasing sorrow.
To love in jealousy as unyielding as the grave,
but to have not faith
is to chew away at the fibres of your own being.

So love in faith, with hope,
or do not love at all.

Love bold!
Risk pain!
Take on the terrifying adventure.
Let love life disappoint, destroy, damage,
but snatch at joy from the jaws of death,
seek out faithful, hoping love,
and thereby find your all.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

i want to be a collectivist

you are my patron and my patriarch.
Your shame is my shame,
my shame yours.
You drew it from me,
bore it in my place.
You were engulfed by the storm of ridicule
and wrath
that was meant to overwhelm me.
My name was picked up,
shared around,
but no longer as a watchword for sin,
but for joy,
cleaned, made whole.

You bore my shame,
don't fail me now!

I'll nag and nag and nag,
til you give me all that's due me.

You won't leave your family unfed,
isolated or alone.

So help me to trust in the honour of your name.
Help me not fear abandonment.

Monday, April 30, 2012

surprise tofu chocolate cake

I think heaven's gonna be a surprise for a lot of us.

Stop making everything so beautiful and sensual!
Stop feeding me pomegranets and chocolate and wine!

I just want a self-assemble, box-shaped, mass-produced mansion,
and for you to hand me all the bits, 
with inscrutable pictogram instructions and no allen-key,
just to teach me a lesson.

And we'll gather in grey rooms,
moaning at the walls,
sharing in the victorious reign of Christ.

Don't you think heaven's gonna surprise us?

It'll be party town!

There'll be MUSIC
and JOY

and from the vibe at most of our rehearsals,
we're gonna be as uneasy as a Grandma at a Bieber concert.  

Sunday, April 29, 2012

echoing Adrian Plass

am i the only one
who gets stressed when having to 'type the words that appear below',
like google is about to accuse me of being a robot,
and i'll never be allowed to tell my friend i love her post?

am i the only one
who gets excited as winter approaches
instead of spring and summer,
who finds a strange thrill in sitting in a backyard, chatting over a cuppa,
with shadows crazy lengthening at only 4 in the afternoon?

am i the only one
who cries when driving alone,
but suddenly feels self-conscious as a truck passes,
as if the driver is going to peer through my windscreen
and judge me as a traffic hazard, and possibly call the police?

am i the only one
who never knows whether to hug the person hello or not,
not because of the unwritten gender rules regarding handshakes and kissing,
but because i never quite believe that this person is happy to see me at all,
and hugging them would be a insult
to their emotional reality,
and make me out to be some sort of ignorant, 'special' person,
who doesn't realise that actually, everyone hates them.

am i the only one
who is never sure if you're actually happy to hear all this stuff,
or if you're sitting somewhere, polite smile frozen on your face,
not really listening,
but working on the crises in the Middle East and other Proper Important Things instead...?

Of course not!!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Martha and Martha.

It's just like Jesus said,

"Get back in the kitchen bitch,
help Martha make my dinner.
We men are hungry, and we have some important things to discuss."

"The kingdom of heaven is like fairy floss,
it looks so good to eat,
but all the promise melts to nothing on burning tongues."

"The kingdom of heaven is like a warm, cosy room,
seen only through a window on a frosty night.
The occupants argue around the fire until the glass fogs,
and no one can see in any more.

Monday, April 23, 2012

face down disciple

I HATE your plan.
Your plan sucks.
A lot of what's happened so far has been awful,
and painful,
some of it tears at my heartstrings,
some of it tears at my throat, burning, strangling.

Your plan has been hard so far,
and I'm done with it.
I'm tired.

I know what I want the rest to be like!
I know how it could be, should be.

It's quiet and peaceful,
With lots of love to give and receive,
and very little lost.


You make everything too hard,
You ask me for too much.

I can't give everything!
Then I'll have nothing to keep me warm!

I know why Judas kept a hold of the purse strings -
it drove him mad to see you waste it like that.

I know why Jonah went to Ninevah -
anything but follow where you called.

I don't know why Abraham took a walk with Isaac,
and found the wood,
and raised the knife.

I don't know why you got up again at Gethsemane and kept going.

I just want to lie here on the ground a little longer...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

feet used to running

Which me shall I show You today?

Do You know the me in my room?
The one not smiling,
dampening pillows with tears,
lolling in sloth.

Do You know the me in the classroom?
Cracking jokes,
getting on with work,
sending 'proper adult' emails about timetables and rosters.

You know both me-s.

And unlike some,
You know both are me,
and when which ones,
are truer still,
and how,
and why.
I stand before You fully integrated,
better known by You than by myself.

It is a relief not to struggle,
to rest in Your total embrace,

and yet, I run,
and hide from Mercy's face,

because my feet are used to it. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

a bit more shameless promotion

Hello dear readers,

as you may have seen a couple of days ago, I have entered a blog competition, and I would LOVE it if you feel able to express your support by voting for me in the Sydney Writer's Centre Best Australian Blogs People's Choice Awards! (Try saying that 10 times, fast, after a few glasses of Shiraz!)

You can get to the voting form by clicking this cool button, yay!

People's Choice Award

You could also just click on this link to get to the voting form.

Speaking now from the dark side of my nature as a media hag, I hereby promise that the first person to comment here to say that they have voted will receive a handwritten copy of the poecy of their choice, and I'll make it all pretty and stuff, so you can frame it, then hide it from the world.

Go forth and vote! (Please please please pretty please! That includes you Mum!)

With love,

:-) Jo

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I wonder what happened to all the other people
who didn't have a burning bush,
but just a bunch of sheep.

I wonder what happened to all the other Lazarus',
who couldn't hear your voice very clearly through their grave clothes,
so were unsure whether to come out or not...

People say, "how surprising. Miracles seem to have diminished.
Maybe they were all made up.
Myths and fantasies."
It's like you're not even there.

But I reckon there's always been some poor sod,
standing next to Elijah.
Straining to hear you in the silence,
but hearing only their own blood,
pounding insistently against their inner ear,
demanding to be fed. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

what's the point?

I left church today feeling bad for not loving you more.
I wallowed for a while,
but nothing changed,
so I wondered if that was the point...

I read J. I. Packer today, and felt guilty for not loving you more.
I wallowed for a while, and beat my breast (metaphorically).
I frowned for at least an hour,
and then wondered if that was the point...

I left prayer meeting today, feeling uneasy about my lack of prayer.
I went to bed feeling hollow and woke up sad.
Then I wondered if that was the point...

Why do these good things turn sour?

Why does everyone else seem to do better?

Why do I fail at the most basic step?!

Why does an exhortation to honour you rightly
turn into a shouted demand
that I can't possibly live up to...?

I live for the few seconds,
sometimes days,
when I know in my heart that you love me.
When I have no problem understanding that you're my Dad,
and you're tenderly leading me,
lovingly admonishing me,
moulding me to be like you.

Breathe in, breathe out.

The feeling's gone...

In between I am anxious,

I wish sometimes,
that someone would remind me
you died to fix this problem I have
of not seeing you, knowing you, loving you as I ought.
There is no problem,
because you see, know and love perfectly
in my place.
And that is the point. 

ta da!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

my sword

It was while we were in Capernaum.
I thought I'd better get a sword.

You kept saying we were going back to Jerusalem,
but I know the leaders there hated you,
even though the people praised you,
I thought, 'we've got to have a sword'.

You never seemed to understand things,
the right way,
the way I saw them.

What kind of King comes without a standing army?
What kind of King wanders through the wilderness,
filled with thugs and thieves,
without a guard to protect him?

Are you crazy?!

I know you did that walking on water thing.
And that you'd raised the dead.
And healed the sick.
But surely we'd need a sword!
My sword.

They came in the night,
as we knew they would.
Cowards and manipulators,
always seeking cover of darkness.

And I was glad I had a sword.

But you.
You told me to put it away!
The first blow struck
was the last blood for my blade.

And then...

Then I really wished you'd let me use my sword.

But all too soon you were dead and buried.
We sat at the table,
wounded and bewildered.
And my sword quivered at my side,
in anger and fear.

Then Mary came running,
she'd left the others,
came tearing off to tell us your body was not there.

I picked up my sword and ran.
Fast feet did fly,
adrenaline did take them.

Whether guards or priests,
people or peasants,
my sword,
my sword,
would fight for your body.

They'd desecrated your honour,
shamed your glory,
ruined your body,
quashed your story.

But I, with my sword in hand
would never let them take you again,
I would take a stand
and fight ten thousand thousand.

But you...

No thief had raided,
no thugs invaded.

had adulterated
your resting place.

And you didn't even need my sword.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

for Paris

Not cold in her grave she lies,
but hot.
Baked back to clay by unforgiving sun.

Three days have passed,
but life's light does not sink down,
piercing thick layers of soil to touch her.

Life's light has not reached
her stiffening, suffocated body at all.

Her silent lips are mimicked now
by silent stares above.
She speaks not death's dark secrets,
while blind teachers disclose empty truths.
Milk stuff,
to minds starved of the meat
so necessary for their journey ahead.

Paris died.
Small child.
And every womb cried out,
empty arms groped for their beloved.

No no no no no no no.

Don't worry yourselves about it,
it didn't happen,
but it did,
so we should shut up now
and eat some chocolate.

Hallmark words will not revive her,
no kiss of life can now resuscitate.

But yet,

your voice may find her,
through soil and darkness penetrate.

Unafraid of death's black shadow,
powerful truth, now spoken as command.


And light will blind her,
breath shall find her lungs again. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Refiner's fire,
my heart's one desire,
is for you to burn me alive,
and melt my skin til it bubbles away.

Launderer's soap,
my heart's one desire,
is to be pummelled by you,
slapped against rocks til my bones break,
ready to do your will.

We listened to words from Malachi on Sunday, and these were my sermon notes, inspired by this song:  I love this song, but it doesn't really capture the horror of the metaphor...

Monday, March 26, 2012

the better plan

The stubborn voice in the pit of my soul never leaves me. 
Quiet for days, it suddenly springs, strangling me with sobs while I hang out the washing. 

I draw the stinging, slicing sword of your Spirit, 
desperately thrusting in defence, 

"You created my inmost being, You knit me together in my mother's womb". 

"Why?" asks the voice from the pit, louder than my own.
"Why did You bother?"

"If You knew my thoughts, if You saw all my days before they came to be, 
why did You make me at all?
You saw this day didn't You?
What a waste of time that turned out to be. 
The omnipotent, magnificent creator of the universe
was apparently concerned enough to make me for this day?
And the next? And the next?

Would anyone have had a worse life if I wasn't here at all?
Was there any point to using up precious resources to give me a brain,
a heart, a body?

I've made a list actually, 
of things You could've spent Your time doing. 
Better things, that would've been worth it. 
Things that would reverse the desperation and decay on this planet. 
Things that would help people recognise and worship you. 
Just a few small things, 
that would've cost as much effort,
but saved a whole lot of pain."

"You go before me and you follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head."
I parry, to no avail. 

"I wish I could sink away into the miry depths,
and never be,
and never have been. 
That would've been the better plan. 
That would've been the fitting thing."

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday's flower falls

Job chapter 28

There is a mine for silver
   and a place where gold is refined.
Iron is taken from the earth,
   and copper is smelted from ore.
Mortals put an end to the darkness;
   they search out the farthest recesses
   for ore in the blackest darkness.
Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft,
   in places untouched by human feet;
   far from other people they dangle and sway.
The earth, from which food comes,
   is transformed below as by fire;
lapis lazuli comes from its rocks,
   and its dust contains nuggets of gold.
No bird of prey knows that hidden path,
   no falcon’s eye has seen it.
Proud beasts do not set foot on it,
   and no lion prowls there. 

People assault the flinty rock with their hands
   and lay bare the roots of the mountains.
They tunnel through the rock;
   their eyes see all its treasures.
They search the sources of the rivers
   and bring hidden things to light.

Friday's flowers fall,
kissing red dust in helpless servitude. 

Miner's horn echoes out across the valley,
shift changes,
bowel of earth disgorges weary bodies. 
Fat, drunk and lazy
on the spoils of the rich seam you placed there long ago. 

Rich reward exploited
halts the march toward the wisdom of life. 
Mind questions not
when fed, bathed and rested,
soul shakes off the peril of dark night. 

Mining means Wisdom's fineries inverted
to present world weary face
to vanity's show. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012


You know that bit,
where you were walking on your way to Jerusalem,
and you'd been there heaps of times before,
but never to die.

And the Pharisees kept dogging your steps,
and snorting in disgust when you met with sinners,
ate with tax collectors,
chatted with prostitutes.

And you know how you told them those stories
about the lost sheep,
and the lost coin,
and the lost son.

Were there many Pharisees in the crowd that day,
Pharisees like me,
who have their lines drawn between their version of right,
and their version of wrong.
Who thought they heard your voice,
but weren't listening properly.
Who thought they could impress you,
desperately wanted to,
but couldn't.

Were there any
or many
of those guys
when you told the story about the lost sheep,
and the one about the lost coin,
and especially the one about the lost son.
Were there any who knew that you were trying to get them to understand
that they were being like the grumpy older brother,
and that instead of recognising grace,
they were multiplying sin.
Did any of them get so distracted by the startlingly wonderful,
appallingly miraculous,
blessedly beautiful idea
that you might run after them
and welcome them back,
that they forgot to listen to that bit
about the brother,
and went away wondering,
"maybe I can come be welcomed home too?"

Were there?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

unity not uniformity

What business have alike to love?
Same mind, same soul,
no wrinkle of dislike at all
to ruffle quiet waters of equality.

Alike in liking find smooth path of love,
same preference, same kind.
One flesh, one mind, one all.
No barriers to blind, to wrench, to maul.

Uniform. They lightly tread quotidian jaunt,
the worst dismay a pause –
before concord resumes, rewards
their complimentary wills with easy certainty.

Unlike unliking found, 'in love'.
Their disparate tongues at ready to disgorge
10 things on each, strong tributes to discord.
100 items of conflicting bias,

1, 000 moments “sent to try us”.
Unlike resemble not a restful lake,
more, troubled sea, conflicting tides,
vast breakers, magnetised

by different moons, near different suns,
alien planets inhabited by different souls,
with different minds, of different kinds.
Competing currents, dangerous reefs,

all threaten to unship this passionate crew,
navigating life's passage to the end
of the world where everything unlike,
alike, will be made new.

Not newly uniform, but united, all love requited.
The fight is tougher for unlike to face,
the trophies greater, a richer taste of grace.
From strife, risk, chance, pain,

comes not like, but love;
the just reward, the sweetest gain.  

more divine maths

sun + park + blue sky = kiss from God

When I most needed it.

Thank you. xo

Thursday, March 1, 2012

spiritual surgery

Split atom,
sliced open.
Gaping wound,
crying for restoration.

Open flesh calls out for second flesh,
a meeting of minds,
to close out all air from the gap.

Oxygen screams past,
calling forth wet tears
to cover nakedness
in sympathetic sorrow.

You attach no alien limb,
but re-attach own self,
suturing skin to skin,
that bodies may meet bodies,
whole and yet co-mingled,
separately complete,
federally joyous.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Worst Confession Ever...

So here it is.
The type of night on which I wish I had a boyfriend on the end of the phone line,
Who I could text and say,
"Are you still up?"

I don't know why it can't just be you,
or some other friendly friend on the line...
I'm not even sure particularly of what to talk about.

So far, I've tried distracting myself with prayer,
Church history,
Elizabeth Gaskell
and Words With Friends.

None of that's really working, but it'd give us something to talk about...!

Of course,
Cosmo wisdom says this is the worst kind of public confession to make,
because it oozes desperation.

When really, it's just a hot night,
and my Prozac,
or my toothache,
or my heartache,
or whatever,
is keeping me awake.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

when lonely

Too weird for anyone to marry,
too isolated for anyone to try,
too pep-talked by family and friends not to realise
there must be a strong dissociation in the way people view me.

Too tired today, tonight, this morning,
to fight the cognitive-behavioural battle by myself.
Not that I ever should.

I turn to your word for solace and correction,
finding there a lesson in Divine Maths.

1 + 0 = many.
1 + Yahweh = can conquer a horde.
1 + The Family = is a bond eternal.
1 + 1 merely mimics 1 = 3 = 1.

In the 'New Maths', 1 + Many = is a better representation
of that Trinitarian algebra,
that mysterious formula,
that magical sum,
than a little 1 + 1.

"Your Creator will be your husband,
the Commander of Heavenly Armies is His name."

Monday, February 13, 2012

cognitive dissonance leads to truth

Isaiah 53  contra  1 Corinthians 13

Love is painful,
love is blind.
It births envy
and boasts of its object,
it is rapacious as the grave.

Love is easily angered,
ready to stab and slash at all threats.
Love dismembers, love's despised.
Love is obsessive,
it always protects,
hopelessly trusts,
ceaselessly hopes.

Love never fails,
it's stronger than death.

Love is ugly.
Love is exposed.
Love is embarassing.

Love is vulnerable.
Love is doomed.
Love overcomes all,
consumes all,
takes all.

Love is sharp.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

a better Christian than me

I suppose if I was super holy, I'd be praying to thank you for salvation...
I'd be quoting the Psalms, and rejoicing that you're my rock and my horn forever...

But the truth... The awful truth is...

The thing I'm most excited about right now is...


What a great joy, to have a friend take me in, give me a room, let me share her space, but more than that, let me have MY VERY OWN SEWING TABLE!!

My new machine sits proudly under its dust cover. It can stay exactly where it is! It doesn't need to be moved! My fabric stash is accommodated happily in the ample room underneath, all my jewellery fixings and beads have space on top. There's even room for my small store of craft books! What rapture!

And the DRAWERS! The drawers! They're so incredibly awesome! So many little dividers, perfectly shaped boxes for bobbins, elastic, scissors, pins, bias binding, fabric pencils, measuring tapes, iron ons and all to live in separate, organised glory.

This sewing table is so much more than I could have ever deserved or dreamed. IT'S INCREDIBLE!

And yes, at the moment, I'm a little more excited about it than most other things...

But I guess that's kind of what salvation was all about anyways...

I mean, obviously, there's your eternal glory, 'cause, you are such a gracious, generous, faithful, creative, powerful, loving Master of the Universe, and all of that is displayed perfectly and supremely in your gift of salvation.

But, it's the bit that comes after. The reason you embarked on that crazy, make-or-break plan in the first place.


You wanted us to go on living, with you, with each other, with your beautiful world, forever.

And I'm sure there'll be sewing tables! And gardens, buildings, engineers, cooks, musicians and all. We'll continue working for you and for one another, to clothe, feed, edify and sustain. So, thank you for the sewing table, and its reminder of the joys yet to come.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

six storm clouds

Six clouds banked up in the sky today, 
And sent down a dreary shower. 

The suddenness of the storm caused several leaks, 
Eventually blocked with tissues and shuddering, deep breaths. 

Why oxygen should be the cure for all evils is beyond me, but it seems you made it so. 

It also helped to moan my sorrows into a distant but friendly ear, 
Rather like you but... Well, the delightful tangibility of a two-way conversation is always comforting, and as we all know, you do answer back, but in a very abnormal way! 
That must be part of why you gave us the power of speech, 
So we can speak six words of comfort to each other, 
And banish six storm clouds. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

mundi mundi

Red dust, raw. 
Sunburnt by 10, 000 sizzling summers?
Or recently spewed forth, fresh from earth's molten womb?

Red dust, raw. 
It'll rub us dry, dry. 
Suck out all moisture from lungs, skin, plants, dead birds. 

Red dust, raw. 
Stretching out, out, out to the sun. 
Willy willies spinning, waves arising, 
Rushing to engulf with choking darkness. 

Red dust, raw. 
Harsh earth, harsh god, 
so atheists tell us. 

But they are ever blind
To your streams of living water, 
Running, rushing, to cool baking desert. 

Red dust, raw. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

in advance of Australia's Invasion Celebrations.

Australians all let us rejoice, 
for we are young and free. 
We've golden soil and wealth for toil, 
our home is girt by sea. 
This random list of adjectives,
constructed to impress,
upon our post-colonial souls, 
the idea that we're blessed. 
And yet we still ignore you,
and thus reject your rest. 

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross,
we'll toil with hearts and hands,
to make this Commonwealth of yours,
impervious to migrants.
Although we think our mateship
is our best quality,
we'll only accept visitors 
by plane, but not by sea.
And if we're mates, we'll give mates rates,
in false equality.

With Christ our head and cornerstone,
we'll build our nation's might.
Whose way and truth and light alone,
can guide our path aright. 
Our lives a sacrifice of love,
reflect our Master's care.
With faces turned to heaven above,
Advance Australia fair.

In joy-filled strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia...

... Where?

"Why do the nations conspire, and the rulers plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand against the Lord and against His Anointed One."

Please help our nation to turn from sin. To turn from murder, greed, bigamy, slander, tolerance, idiocy and vapid politics.

Turn our face towards you, in grace, peace and love.

You have blessed us so richly, you've given us much. We do have boundless plains for sharing. You have given us golden soil, that feeds and feeds us. You spread our wealth among the nations, and have endowed us with a strong sense of play. Our land abounds not in 'Nature's' gifts, but yours. 

So much will be demanded in return. 

Your loving care surrounds us Lord, please help us to see and thank you for it.