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

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

Noah’s Ark

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Noah's Ark by Aidan Smith

Noah’s Ark by Aidan Smith

Rome Revisited

I travelled light this time
And came to Rome without
Religious certainty
To pin my conscience down,
Free now to excavate,
From strata of belief
And primitive taboos,
Some vestiges of truth.
Now, gods and ages merge.
Inscriptions, sculpted all
By one perennial hand,
In unison proclaim
The noble promises
And hollow alibis
Of each successive age.
St. Peter’s colonnades
And fallen architraves
Of Augustan temples
Possess this in common:
All are, terminally,
Fatalistically,
In varying stages
Of decomposition.
No crying of the geese,
High on the Capitol,
Can protect the City
Against time and reason.

13th November 1990

Demolition

The pavement is empty where once the men
Assembled after Mass to chew the cud
And roll a stringy cigarette or two,
Exchanging incense smoke for nicotine.
The women chatted homewards in the wake
Of hungry children, full of Sabbath grace,
With all the hours of Sunday yet to come,
Spread out before them like a wedding feast.
All that is gone. Where once the altar stood
And candles burned before the Lord of Hosts.
The magpies stalk and heavy builders’ trucks,
Removing rubble, send up clouds of dust.

The demolition of our parish church.
Poem finished 27.3.89

Psalm 122

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Psalm 122

Holy Island

I came at last to Lindisfarne
And walked the shore that Aidan trod,
And felt in rain and salty wind
The presence of his Celtic god.

What came we out to seek, to find?
What vestiges of youthful faith
To resurrect from grass and sand,
Upon the bleak Northumbrian heath?

Dear, gentle saint, whose Irish name
Means ‘Little Fire’, ignite in me,
Across the intervening years,
The furnace of your charity.

July 1993 with Judy and Lucy
On our way to Edinburgh