Below are some examples of my poetry
This poem was inspired by someone who simply said to me: ‘There must have been an angel inside me’. In the Christian worldview angels are unable to inhabit anyone. Only demons can possess people. Maybe angels have more respect for privacy. But I wanted to explore the concept of what it would be like if angels really could inhabit people.
Angel in me
There was an angel inside me today.
I knew it was true when I woke,
when the caffeine rush of my morning coffee
blended with the pulse of its wings.
I don’t know why it happened today,
an otherwise ordinary day.
Maybe the saints remembered me
and cocooned me in their prayers.
I was on fire – a sphere of lightning,
with the angel whispering guidance inside.
There was an angel inside me today.
A while ago I went to see a popular preacher speak at a UK church. According to reports he had performed miracles in a number of countries and had also converted a lot of people. What shocked me when I went to listen to him was that he prayed for those with illnesses of all kinds and then preached negatively about mental health problems. He basically said that this was an illness which was the fault of the person who suffered with it. At the time I felt so crushed by what he had said. In the poem I use the example of Elijah, ‘looking down’ (i.e. depressed).
They had said the preacher was on fire (fire, fire),
the preacher himself had said he was on fire.
Expecting miracles, curious, I just went to listen (listen, listen).
The preacher, God on his side, began to speak,
the very words of God (we prayed).
“I sense a spirit of depression,” he intoned,
and the joy of the Lord is our strength (strength, strength),
“If you’re a Christian, you shouldn’t be depressed”.
So I just nodded then, waiting (waiting, waiting),
“If you’re depressed, you’re doing something wrong.”
I looked down, like Elijah in the desert,
“I’m not going to pray for the depressed!” he shouted.
He wouldn’t stop (stop, stop)
But he was really doing miracles.
“A Christian is full of joy. So turn to your neighbour and say how right I am.”
Disappointed (so sad).
I’d like to say that I raised my hand in the air and stood up and cried out:
“But if he is a bad servant, he will begin to brow-beat his fellow servants!”,
but that would have been misquoting the man of sorrows (sorrows, sorrows).
This is just a fun poem drawing on the subject of unity, or a lack of it.
When the conductor turned to face his audience
a sharpened cymbal split the air like a discuss
and sliced his head clean free.
The severed head fell into the lap of the mayoress,
who, until then, had thought she held the best seat.
Her mouth dropped open and she wailed.
There was pandemonium in the orchestra,
the fighting was accelerando,
the audience was agitato,
it was a discord in motion.
The triangle player sat high above them all,
at the back of the hall, unnoticed and unappreciated,
(Though they had always told him he was “needed”,
patting him on the back heartily (and patronisingly, if the truth be told)).
But that night his cheeks were an appalled shade.
The double bass player had strangled the trombonist with a string,
thus upsetting the entire brass department.
The drummer, whose ego was bigger than his drum-kit,
had choked on a trumpet player’s mute.
In this discussion of the percussion,
it is only fair to say that the kettledrum player
had morphed into something wild and scary.
He had worked himself up into a frenzy of frantic clanging.
sending the whole wind section into a flutter,
apart from one gentle flutist who somehow kept her head.
Down in the brass department,
music stands had become swords,
sanity had flown,
turmoil and chaos soaked the hall.
Until, still unnoticed,
the triangle player stood tall,
with his soul cloaked in a dark calm,
he strode down the stairs,
weaving between hurtling chairs,
and blocks of flying glockenspiel.
A self-satisfied cellist stood, overbearingly, in his way,
but the flutist tripped him up.
Allowing the triangle player to run to the conductor’s place,
where he took out the pistol with which he had meant to shoot a violinist.
And fired a single bullet into the ornate ceiling.
Plaster and candelabra shards cascaded down.
And there was complete silence.
Apart from a low moaning from the mayoress.
This was written before there was anything like a Princess Kate in the UK. I like it because it is simple and it tells a story. If poems were colours then this one would be a bright, happy colour.
Island of the Eighth Sea
There was a king, in a land made of stone
Who lived with three children, in a castle of slate
The names of his sons were ‘Prince Flint’ and ‘Prince Granite’
And the name of his daughter was just ‘Princess Kate’.
One breakfast Prince Flint stood up at the table
And declared, “I am bored and I want my own story!”
The other two added, “And everything’s hard here!”
So they left in search of comfort and glory.
The princess sailed the seven seas in a ship
Her journey was rough, but she had to persist
And in the eighth sea, she discovered an island
Pastel shades shining, like light thought the mist.
The island was clothed completely in fabric
With felt for its grass and houses of muslin
And a palace of silk – patterned with velvet
Each room a curtain, each floor laced with satin.
Prince Flint returned to his father one day
And so did Prince Granite, with a dragon in tow
But Princess Kate remained on her island
She never sailed back, and that’s all I know.
This is my favourite poem. I have always liked King Saul (despite his violence (and David was violent too)). There is so much going on in the Bible narrative of Saul’s life. The title of the poem came from a sermon I heard where the congregation were asked ‘Are you in the camp of Saul or the camp of David?’. I think I am one of the few people who are in the camp of Saul. Not for any deep spiritual reason (I hope), but because I think God treated him unfairly. In this poem I wanted to paint Saul in a more favourable light.
The Camp of Saul
Before David, before Christ
Saul was the first king of Israel
The sun rose on that people
In the form of a tall, handsome man.
This calls for a coronation
Where the good and the great can gather in solemn accord
A crowd of expectant leaders with the prophet Samuel
But where is Saul in all this grandeur?
“Saul is over there, hiding behind the supplies” whispers God.
A comic scene
A fearful, reluctant king crouching behind boxes
As if to hide from his tragic destiny
But for now Saul is at his best
The sun is at its peak
He fights Israel’s enemies bravely
He succeeds in everything he does
What can stop him now?
Only disobedience masquerading as reason
For this Samuel tells Saul he will be replaced by ‘a better man’
God has left Saul and a demon has taken his place.
David, play your music to relieve the king of this evil spirit’s mental torture
And after Goliath, Saul will try to skewer you with his spear
(Being paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you after all, Saul)
David, the better man, begins to rise.
Saul only comes to his senses when David refuses to usurp the throne
And when Samuel dies
Heaven is silent.
So Saul asks a witch to conjure up Samuel’s ghost
But Samuel, when he is channelled, has bad news
Tomorrow Saul will die in battle along with his sons
How bitter his meal with the witch of Endor must have been that night.
In the next day’s battle Saul is badly wounded
A proud, tragic king commits suicide
And this sun finally sets in the blood red sky.