It's passing strange...
    - although why I think it strange, I can not penetrate -
    - maybe all my "normal" is but surface shadow, dim reflection -
    - perhaps what I call "strange" is ocean deep -

It's passing strange - and ocean deep - that vast conceits...
    ...can only be expressed in drops of salted water.

Hot, large and urgent
    or slow, gentle caress.
Falling and bursting on hard ground
    or flung in myriad spray from blinking lashes
    or rivulets upon the face.

If I say words out loud, say "This creation astounds",
    my barren sounds congeal into flat, dull, tasteless mass
    (tofu words)
But if I weep the words,
    the cataracts of worlds pour forth
    in delirium of rapturous delight

If I say "This creation is broken",
    the dull monotone tugs at mired feet, sinking in ennui
    (damp words)
But if I weep the words,
    my running heart is torn from heaving breast
    and I strain in passioned yearning for the resolution of ages

If I say "The Lord is risen",
    not much rises above my bleating
    (spent words)
But if I weep the words,
    a fresh cosmos burst forth
    and the founding stars laugh and dance

If I say "My friend is dead",
    I convey, in open prose, a matter of fact about molecules at rest
    (inert words)
But, if I weep the words,
    each glittering tear cradles within its liquid shell
        the world of worlds
        the tale of tales
    Teaming abundance.
    Desolate despair.
    Highest praise.

And today I weep.



Words get in the way:
We use so many words
to fill in the silence
wherein dwells The Word

Words get in the way:
We keep repeating words
and phrases

Turning them over and over
seeking understanding

But words get in the way:
Words that hurt

Words that distract:
words saying love is energy
and passion

As if somehow the emotion of the moment
might conjure up The Love.

But The Love dwells in the silent act
And The Word waits for all our other words to fail.

Good Friday poem

As a (somewhat risky) exercise at our Good Friday kids worship this morning, we composed a poem between the adults and children who were there. Below is the result:

Good Friday

It smelled like blood
All went dark
A storm raged up
A savage tear –
the curtain torn in two
the ground shook
Pain, fear, dying
The bleeding son cries
Forgive them Lord!

It Is Done!


Celestial City bright;
Precious jewel upon the brow
Of the Lover who sings
The universe into being.

Shining City;
Burning brilliance of a billion stars
Gilded capital
Diamond light

Oh, precious feet upon your streets
Each footfall pressing down
Once ugly scars
As a lover’s kiss.

Each caress leaving in its place
The echo of completed work
Reality reformed by the central deformity
Of wounded God.

Of wounded ME!
Of broken, ugly ME!
United with broken God,
And formed anew.

Come New Jerusalem!
Come Reign of the King!
Come King!
Come Lord Jesus!

In This Hour

(composed on Maundy Thursday)


In this hour
We keep watch in churches
With ones who say
“Surely we are safe in this place”
We keep watch with them as doors splinter
As blood runs

In this hour
We keep watch in doctors’ surgeries
With ones who hear news
“The tests were positive”
We keep watch with them as terror rises
As blood runs cold

In this hour
We keep watch in skyscrapers
With ones whose children say
“When will daddy be home?”
We keep watch as heat rises
As blood ties break

In this hour
We keep watch on ferries and planes
With ones waiting for
“Emergency over”
We keep watch with them as water rises
As blood pumps loudly in the ears

In this hour
We keep watch in a garden
With the one who says
“Not my will”
We keep watch as friends sleep
As blood sweat drips.

This is the hour of darkness
The hubub of mad confusion
Dark terror reigns

In this hour, we watch and pray.


I suppose I might have known
At the start: on the day I took her helm.
I could feel it in her timbers
Written deep in every board and beam.

Every ship is a shipwreck waiting to happen.

It was easy to forget
As she sprinted down the slipway.
Serene amidst the crash and wave and spray
As one born to the water.

But even then it was true:
Every ship is a shipwreck waiting to happen.

Every ship is a shipwreck waiting to happen:
Whether cast upon a foreign shore
Or sunken, out of sight beneath the waves
Or secretly, shamefully stripped in a wrecker’s yard.

Every ship is a shipwreck waiting to happen.

Oh and we had our times.
When the sea was up
And every wave ploughed over:
a victory.

Or when the calm of ages descended
And there came upon us
That eternal silence
Of the deep.

Days of bright sunlight
And dark tempest
Hard going
And easy breeze.

We scarcely thought about it then, but:
Every ship is a shipwreck waiting to happen.

Every ship is a shipwreck waiting to happen:
And even unsinkable ships sink.
It is written in their timbers:
In every board and beam.

And so she lies:
Masts broken,
Rigging ragged, torn and tangled,
Hull splintered.

They urge me to move on:
To newer, bigger, better craft.
She had her time – good time:
Now others take her place.

But my eyes, through tears, are filled with:
Masts broken,
Rigging ragged,
Hull splintered.

I see her form upon the shore
Where all ships, in their time, are dashed.
But, now, amongst the carnage
One other wreck takes my eye.

One wreck, in whose beams the word is: life!
One wreck whose every wound is victory
One wreck at once past, present, future
One wreck which rises on the tide…

And so, I have a hope.
A dream.
A promise.
A light.

Every ship is a shipwreck waiting to happen:
But I wait for another age
When this ship will be made anew
And the word in every board and beam is life.

Poem – Saturday

On Holy Saturday, you don’t know how it ends.

It’s Saturday today:
We want to believe in Sunday,
To know of the new world in the morning.
But we cannot see it
Because it’s Saturday.

It’s Saturday today:
We want to pray to the living God,
But the living God is cold and dead in the ground.
He doesn’t hear
Because it’s Saturday.

It’s Saturday today:
And this is no noble death,
No long life full spent.
And we cannot hope
Because it’s Saturday.

We cry empty Saturday tears.
And wonder whether God is big enough.
Whether he is not at the last
defeated by human choice.
Whether love can conquer all.
Whether love can ever smile under the colours of the sun
or must it forever tarry in the grim half-light?
Can love ever, in the end, be more than longing, aching loss?

On Holy Saturday, you don’t know how it ends.
But fleshy God dies with us fleshy men
in the fallen Saturday world.

Copyright 2012 Tom Brazier

Poem – On the Death of a Child

A voice is heard
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing comfort

And let it not be said that all is well
Let no confident voice deny
Let no silken words suggest
That we aren’t all under the old curse
That we don’t stand, Undone
Knowledge-fruit-juice red upon our lips
And eyes opened upon the yawning terror.


But do let us also stand at Calvary
Let the desolate cry resound
and crush our ears
My God.  My God!  Why?

And let us linger on Saturday, as we know we must
There is no time
There is no space
No love
No life
No tears
In the void, itself devoid of voidness
But somehow time passes, as we know it must.

And let us come at length
In the dawn
In the time between times
As light lies pent up
And darkness gathers hastily for flight
And bursting forth with sudden rush
The Sun of Righteousness is born upon the world

And the age turns.

But let us always also stand
In the room
Where hands are proffered
And eternal scars laid bare
And a voice says
“This is how much it hurts to love”

Copyright 2011 Tom Brazier