We live in a seemingly perpetual Advent. Not just because of all the early Christmas decorating, but because we are all still waiting; for vaccines, for ‘normality’, for release, for and end to isolation and for the possibility of touch. Strange then that the actual season of Advent is now fully upon us.
I find myself remembering an old project, birthed by Si Smith, called ‘We who still wait’. It was a collaboration of photography (Steve Broadway), meditations (Ian Adams) and my poetry. (It is still available, here.)
I wrote the poems quickly, over a short period of time. Some felt ‘forced’, others arrived with tears, which may seem strange to some, until you realise that poetry is essentially about opening a vein and what comes out can be unexpected and overwhelming. Writing these poems forced me to fully engage not only with my own fragility, but also with those aspects of faith that still remain. Sometimes it seemed as if faith had been removed along with my religion, but at other times entirely the reverse, that only through losing religion was it possible to rediscover something deeper and more true.
Anyway, I offer you one of the poems from ‘We who still wait”. It says as much as I can say today.
Open the sky
Open the sky and let some light in
Let this night be night no longer
Let stars shine down in shafts of love
Illuminating ordinary things
All down with dirt and common use
Let donkeys laugh out loud
For even basest things
Are silvered up with grace
Lubricated in kindness
He is coming
Not to penthouses, to plump up cushions of comfort
Not to stroke the fragile ego of celebrity
Not to strengthen the hands of the powerful
Or expand their empty empires
Not to shape new cathedrals from seductive certainty
Or even to doctor our old doctrines
He comes not to the exclusive few
But to you
The mess of you
All your brokenness, all your failures
He comes in the certain knowledge that
You will fail again
So, open the sky and
let some light in
love this poem even through our failures there is still love …let it be forever .