A Quecha Prayer

Almighty God Condor,
Lord of Air and Sky,
On the flight feathers
Of your out-spread wings,
Lift my fragile spirit
From the Hidden Valley
To the snowy heights.

Peru, April 1998

Gallicantu

Sharp at five
A cock crew.
The call came from
A great distance,
From the west so it seemed,
From the ocean
And the drowned farms.
It hung in the still air
And faded and was gone.

I thought of Peter
In his sleepless night
Seated by the courtyard fire,
Wishing it would consume him,
Wishing he could undo the night.
Alas, there was no going back,
No possible retrieval,
Day was breaking,
And was already moving
To its terrible conclusion.

Girton

So old and winter-worn
The apple trees of Girton,
Each ivied trunk inhabited
By female spirits, resting
After battles but not sleeping.
Soft dews of summer days,
Anoint their tired limbs,
Refresh and re-invest
Heroic minds.
The struggle is not won
And from the aged wood
New flowers must spring.

Cambridge
28 July 1989

New Year

Be not like Janus! Turn away!
Resist the magnet of dead years!
False gods survive in ancient stones
Nostalgia bears no fruit but tears.

Imbibe the lesson of the wine,
Cast out the pitcher and the glass!
Tomorrow’s bottles are being blown,
Between the vines the pickers pass.

If all the ages of past time
Are crystallized somewhere in me,
It is to shape tomorrow’s mould,
To sow the drill and plant the tree.

Respect the flowing of the tide,
Each surge creates the shore anew:
Change slowly makes us what we are,
Assist the birthing of the new!

1994

Fill my heart

Fill my heart, 0 Lord, with joy!
Let me sing your praises still!
Calm the doubtings of my mind,
Reinforce my failing will.

Every moment of my day
In your service let me do
What your love inspires in me
To create the world anew.

January 1988

Pilgrim

What shrine shall I seek out,
Which pilgrim route pursue,
To find at journey’s end
The Constant and the True?
Which litanies recite,
Which deities invoke
With sacrificial fire
And clouds of incense smoke?
Is there a common point
On which all paths converge,
Or is perspective fake,
A trap where falsehoods merge?
In peering far ahead
Towards some distant goal,
We overlook the steps
Which daily forge the soul.
Today is now in flight,
I reach and touch its stream,
For fear its moments pass
Like some elusive dream.
I am the Here and Now
Through which all meaning flows,
The consecrated land
In which true godhead grows.

5th December 1990

Genesis

When I consider, in the Sistine light,
The hand of Adam and the hand of God,
Their fingers meeting in the gift of Life,
I see the vital spark from left to right
Ignite and spring. So much for Genesis.
In Man’s own image, God’s persona grows
And languid Adam life on God bestows.

November 1990