I wrote this three of four years ago, and read it again recently. Not for the first time it reminded me that poetry can come to us like premonition; it can allow us to express ideas that are beyond our immediate grasp. Poetry becomes a kind of proximal thinking. Prophetic even.

Like much of the bible perhaps?

I was thinking of Aleppo. Barrel bombs and people hiding in cellars. Despots clinging to power. Western superpowers trying to cancel out destruction and murder by sending more of the same.

And I was thinking about the god who sees all, but apparently sees nothing.

Syria, Aleppo, East Al Midan, 14. December 2016 On Wednesday, a ceasefire agreement entered into force for the fiercely contested Syrian city of Aleppo. However media reports speak of continued fighting and violence directed against the civil population by Pro-Syrian forces.


Sometimes I fear that we were given only empty promises
from a far-away-god who casts knowing glances
while we wind towards inevitable destruction
like unregulated clocks.
A god of love who will watch most of us burn.
A god of grace whose good folk gorge
while the others starve.
A god whose justice is skewed
and whose faithfulness is unreliable
A god made in my own image –
For both of us are broken.

But sometimes, just beyond the spectrum of visible light
I feel the glow of a different god
Who is in all things, but is never enclosed.
Who is in everything, but is never excluded.
Who is above all things, but is never aloof.
Who is below all things, but is never debased.
Who centres himself everywhere
but lacks circumference.
This god confounds those who seek to constrain
Where she might be recognised.

(In the whorl of every new born finger and
every uncurling leaf.
Deep in each fossil hiding in the old stones
Of mosque or cathedral
The god who waits in Aleppo dust
Like ancient seed.)

This God knows the weight of the ocean
But measures in love.

1 thought on “Proximation…

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