Making Light of Winter

December 29, 2010

Making ‘Light’ of Winter

After Autumn takes its feast

Of russets, and copper

Leaves fall, Winter proper

Blows in from North and East.

Hoar frost sparkling bright

Dresses conifers and sedge,

Hips and haws festoon the hedge,

And snow settles silent white.

Advent brings the Light to darkness,

Count-down Christmas preparation,

To celebrate  the Incarnation,

When love melts our icy hardness.

So we welcome this New Year

Expectation overcoming fear.


Medical Verses

November 15, 2010



Six a.m. alarm.

Must keep calm;

Take it steady,

To be waiting ready

For a lift for a 7.15 check-in.

(What time does NHS begin?).

7.20 sitting, waiting,

Talking, writing nervously.

“You are fourth on the list” (hopefully).

“We telephoned two days ago

Several times, but missed you.

You were out you know”.

“We left a message on your phone”.

“Sorry you had a little moan”.

“The consultant works in the morning”.

(To patients ‘privately’ conforming?)

It is the August Bank Holiday,

So extend your patience in a tolerant way.

“Please change in  here,

But have no fear,

I know it’s really a loo,

And free from bacteria too.

We need a urine sample”.

(A  litre will be ample).

If you’re in the know

Turn on the tap to increase the flow!

A swab poked up your nose

To detect MRSA I suppose.

‘We’ll check your groin for e-coli

Or a rarer broccoli bacilli’.

‘You can sit in the waiting room’:

Just feel the anxiety and the gloom;

The TV weather chattering to itself,

While we wonder about our health.

A cheerful voice ended my concern,

“No need to fret. It’s now your turn”.

I ambled obediently following the nurse,

And lay there exposed for all to see.

For medics it’s another cystoscopy.

Just pretend you’re having a wee.

“Ah there’s a tumour I can see”.

And so we face another round

Of treatment on familiar ground.


Just a prick in the arm

No need for concern or alarm.

We’ll inject some dye which may

Aggravate asthma, in a way,

(Not in your case let me say).

We’ll take some x-rays

While you lie dead still.

It’s one of the ways

We can check if you’re ill:

The health of your bladder,

Infections in the urethra,

Any issue with your kidney.

So we’ll just wait and see.

Don’t have too much to drink.

We don’t want you filling the sink!

Don’t ask for any explanation,

Radiographers will study their interpretation.

We’ll tell you alright

If anything comes to light.

Knowing Your Case

It pays to know

Your personal case.

It will ‘leak’ and show

In the medic’s face

She’s not scanned,

Prepared, or planned,

Making presumptions

About the medical history:

Inaccurate assumptions.

Surely this shouldn’t be?

Is it beyond professional wit

To pre-read the file a bit?

Then there’s no need to raise

The voice,(but quietly appraise).

We need your cooperation

For a stress free operation.









Some Nurses


Are real physicians

Not just ‘technicians’.

They minister healing,

Know how you’re feeling.

They show warmth and empathy,

Express care and sympathy.

There is a kindness

Understanding of patient distress.

They’ve dropped the protective mask

Of ‘distance’ while performing the task.



“On a scale of roughly 1-10,

How’s your pain this morning, then?”

The problem is, “How can I state

If I’ve no criteria to evaluate,

Only a subjective guessing?”

I know it’s ‘stabbing’, ‘aching’,

Tear-jerking, sickening,

Radiating, gradually dissipating

After I’ve urinated

And twenty minutes have abated,

Unalleviated by paracetamol

And a mind confused by Tramadol

Religion has no basis in fact

May 2, 2010

The Bishop to Judge…..

(Response to John Bingham and to Michael Nazir-Ali, Daily Telegraph April 30th, 2010 about Lord Justice Laws’ judgment on the case of Gary McFarlane)


If the broadsheet articles I found

Are relatively legally sound,

It looks as if faith is erased from public space

To be confined to the private place.

The questionable conclusion of the Judge to these cases

Was that religion can claim no ‘factual’ bases.

Do these positivistic assertions ignore

Facts, or continue a logical flaw?

Christianity has historical evidence

And the transforming power in experience.

Intemperate comments court critique

About the case we make when we speak.

As students are taught to show

When to Chambers or Wikipedia they go

That it’s unwise to claim understanding

About “in the eyes of everyone”, not withstanding

I know that I don’t know

What everyone knows.

Is faith ‘necessarily’ subjective?

Is it not ‘communicable’ and partly objective?

What of ‘divisive’, ‘capricious’, or ‘arbitrary’

In a post-modern democracy

Claiming protections for freedom, and the link

Between Christian tradition and the way we think?

With British values and virtues and ‘roots’

Secateuring the nation’s spiritual shoots

Removes a moral and social tradition.

Grafting in a secular solution.

The Christian stock should flourish into a just society

From a ground of rights and liberty

That grows into inalienable dignity

Equality, and hospitality

Brokenness of Britain

March 6, 2010

On Reading Michael Nazir-Ali’s letter to The Daily Telegraph 5th March 2010

Cameron’s ‘Brokenness of Britain’

Is debated by the politician.

The ‘Reservoir’ is running dry.

The Press is pausing to ask  ‘Why?’

Refreshing streams have been polluted,

Causes questioned and disputed.

With all our secular social analysis

Political and economic crisis

Do we need to ‘unblock those streams’

Revive our spiritual and moral dreams?

As Michael Nazir-Ali wrote

“The moral code”, that the columnists’ quote

Showed people honesty and truthfulness

Love of neighbour and faithfulness.

Christ implanted in our mind.

Ideas of service, a sacrificial kind.

This reservoir needs refilling

Not abandoning or rejecting.

‘The way to personal flourishing

Is not by fiscal or social tinkering.”

The Trinity

March 3, 2010

To understand the Trinity

The mysteries of Divinity?

Athanasius saw the need

To exclude errors with his Creed.

It was impossible to define

Christ’s natures ‘human’ and ‘Divine’!

But ‘hypostaseis’ rules Arians out of court

‘Homoousios’ was  what Nicaea had taught.

We can faintly grasp the  roles and  relationship:

Father, Son, and Spirit in perfect fellowship.

Mystery too complex for theologians’ sagacity

Far beyond mere human capacity!

“Three persons in one Divine Essence”.

Stand in awe and worship in His presence!

Religious Experience

March 1, 2010

A verse for RE teacher-trainees.

Religious Experience

 Have you ever felt the need to pray,

Or been conscious of God in some other way?

Have you sensed the ‘holiness’ in a sacred place,

Been ‘overwhelmed’ when meditating in your ‘inner’ space?

Perhaps you felt an awe or wonder on a mountain side,

Or exultation on a beach by waves and tide?

Some speak of an encounter: loving rapture,

Brilliant light beyond that which words can capture.

Others of guilt, feeling they’ve offended God, of sin,

Repenting, and feeling floods of forgiveness deep within.

Obsessed with material things, present pleasure

Perhaps we need to pause and reflect at leisure?

“Do: Done”, Just Walk Across The Room; Hybels

March 1, 2010


It’s not what I do.

It’s already been done,

Salvation cannot be won.

It’s grace through and through!

I cannot earn favour

Through my direct labour.

Jesus has paid the cost

For our transgressions when lost.

He died for our sin

Our salvation to win.

The Bridge: Just Walk Across The Room

March 1, 2010


There’s a gulf, yawning gap!

All my reasoning takes me

To a designer, a Deity,

But I still need a sat-nav, a map

To find God, the truth in my searching.

I have need to know The Way clearly.

So many paths are confusing.

We take  wrong tracks though sincerely.

I ‘fall short’ of the mark, ‘transgress’,

My ‘iniquity’ makes me digress.

But Christ bridges this gulf, takes me across,

By faith in His life and death on the Cross.

River Out of Eden

February 23, 2010

River Out of Eden

Are we ‘nothing but’ survival machines

Robot vehicles blindly programmed

To preserve the selfish molecules known as genes?

Do we animals exist for their preservation?

Richard Dawkins speaks without reservation:

“We are nothing more than throw away

Survival machines. The world of the gene let me say

Is one of savage competition

Deceit and ruthless exploitation”.

Does this inexorably lead humanity to fall

Into the devil’s doctrine, ‘the weakest should go to the wall?

A polluted stream with the misdeeds of atheism

Rather than the so-called ‘memes’ of theism.

It’s only one step into the swirling current of materialism

To the murky water of Hitler, Pol Pot, and Stalinism.

Thank God for Nietzsche’s ‘one great curse…intrinsic depravity’

Christ’s example and teaching, and its universality!

The Preacher

February 22, 2010

It  wasn’t his height

Nor the breadth, or  depth

Nor his ’eminence’,

But the relevance

Of Antioch’s Way

For the Church Today!