POEMS/LYRICS

TURN OFF THE MUSIC - SEASIDE PSALMS 2

BC river

I was walking across the beach on my own, a rare expedition, last night and I sensed a nudge to turn off The Wallflowers in my head phones and listen to the something more... I have spoken a lot this week about my bad habit of poking the quiet waters... So I stopped.

 

Turn the music off

And listen to the wonder

The waves as they lap

The ocean’s big blue yonder

 

Turn off the music

And listen to the quiet

The rhythm of the silence

The stillness of deep soul’s riot

 

Tune in to the earth’s allure

And the night sky’s encryption 

Tune in to heaven’s contours

And the evening’s benediction

 

Turn off the music

Learn the lesson

Here... now... this...

Feel the blessing.


PAUL COOKSON - FREEDOM DAY SONNET

Boris Freedom Day
 
FREEDOM DAY SONNET by Paul Cookson
 
Cooped up for too long, freedom day at last
No longer confined, no more concerns
Cast away caution and throw all your masks
Good riddance, goodbye, normal life returns
 
Farewell restrictions, go put them behind
Open your arms to the shops and the bars
Personal freedom for all and you’ll find
Chaos will reign in this country of ours
 
No matter what’s’ wrong, no matter what’s right
There is one thing that you must understand
I’ll do what I want and go where I like
Rampant and raging, I’ll course through this land
 
On the same page as Covid deniers
Freedom is mine – says Coronavirus
 
 
My mate Paul has been writing a poem every day since we went into Lockdown. This is #511. Two books of his diary of poems are available. To read my review CLICK HERE
 
On this so called Freedom Day in England, Paul nails it. That which is most free is Coronavirus. It's freedom is freed up when we start playing free and easy with it.
 
I am hearing the parent say, "You are free children to eat bags and bags of sweeties, bars and bars of chocolate and lashings and lashings of ice cream. Big big risk. Might kill you. BUT I'm not stopping you..." 
 
#loveyourneighbour
 

#1 - SEASIDE PSALMS 2021

Janice July 1

photo: Janice Gordon-Stockman

 

Waves lapping, sound like prayers

I am led along these quiet waters

Weary sun lays down the burdens

Of everything this day brought her

The beauty of creation’s disposition

Envelopes, a chamber of soul calm

Being still to know that you are God

And a little bit more of who I am. 


GLORIOUS BONFIRE NIGHT

Bonfire 12

 

I have nothing against responsible bonfires on Eleventh night. It is a part of the culture of a large percentage of our Northern Ireland population. However, when flags and effigies, symbols of the people that God loves and Jesus gave his life for, are set on fire on the bonfires then it screams of a culture of hate. I pray for, and commit myself to, creating better cultures across our land.

 

Strike the match of supposed tradition

Listen for what the flames tell

In every flag or effigy burning

There’s a crackle of the devil’s yell

This is no cultural celebration

This is the hate of the clan

Sectarianism in petrol and wood

The fires of hell being fanned

 

So, let’s take all those empty pallets

Old tyres, their tread worn thin

Pile our pride there, way up high

With all our arrogance and sin

Hurl on myths that we’ve been told

All those lies and exaggerations

The caricatures we paint ourselves

That cripple our children and nation

Watch the sparks of repentance fall 

Our Troubles burn in the flickering light

Warmed by loving of even enemies

On a glorious bonfire night. 


THE DARK GETS DARKER IN YOUR DARKNESS

Deep-waters

(a poetic reflection on pastoral situations... An episode of Call The Midwife gave me the "God is not in..." and "Sometimes you’ve got to live on through/Until you find yourself alive again"... The last lines are from Isaiah 43 which I do use regularly...)

 

God is not in the war

He didn’t drop the drones

But he is there in the debris

Among the screams and moans

You still waken in the night

The trauma reruns in your head

Pungent stench of bloodied flesh

Zipping body bags of all our dead.

 

The dark gets darker in your darkness

Not a glimmer of a flicker at its end

Sometimes you’ve got to live on through

Until you find yourself alive again.

 

God is not in the divorce

He isn’t into breaking hearts

He is in the coming to terms

Tenderly touching the jagged parts

You’re paralysed in the piercing pain

Disorientation in the drifting alone

Guilty at all the lives now fractured

Your children confused about home.

 

The dark gets darker in your darkness

Not a glimmer of a flicker at its end

Sometimes you’ve got to live on through

Until you find yourself alive again.

 

The rivers will sweep

I will be there

The waves will crash deep

And I will be there

The blazing flames will creep

And yes I will be there.


MY WEDDING DAY POEM - ON OUR 25th SILVER ANNIVERSARY

Stocki  Jani and Fair Head 21

 

I've got a circle of gold on my finger

It speaks of promises and trust

Seems love doesn’t last too long these days

This ring reminds me that ours must

And if everything is burning down

And if everyone is falling apart

The vows we made and the prayers we prayed

Should give us strength deep in our hearts

So would you come and spend some time with me

Would you make that time forever

Would you lift me when I’m feeling down

And rebuke me when I’m not clever

Would you be my partner in this waltz

My companion in this mystery

Would you be my hope through TV news

My touch of grace in the misery

Would you let me come and dry your eyes

Let me be there to share your sorrow

Marriage is more than a wedding day

It’s the hard work of tomorrow

So come away on our adventure

By the soul mate by my side

Tapping the potential of you and me

So His love won’t be denied.

 

25 years ago today I wrote those words.

Promises. Commitment. Romance. Companionship. Resilience. Hope. Vocation. All the words that make up a marriage.

"Love is not these lovely 25 years but the..." Words still to be lived. 


COME, COME AWAY MY LOVE

Come Come Away

 

Come, come away my love

We'll find a cottage by the sea 

We'll hide from loving everyone

To seek to love you and me

Yes, let us head up north again

Slip off the beaten track

Find a place to rest our souls

And never look back.

 

And we'll gaze on the Mull of Kintyre

From the pillow of our mid morning bed

While the world is scanning TV stations

We'll walk the seas of Moyle instead

And stare in both daughters' mischievous eyes

And then lavish them with love

Watching them getting to know too much

And never getting to know enough

And we'll open other people's stories

Allow them to delve inside our souls

Reflect on the days of all that's gone

And re-focus on tomorrow's goals

Yes, we'll find a place for us to stop

To look, to listen and to learn

Allow our candle just a little flicker

Instead of that pressurised burn.

 

Come, come away my love

And let our love have its way

For love is full of satisfied

When it lies full of empty days.


THE FLOWING TIDE

Abbey-st-side

This story is now well known. Way back around 1993 I was leaving my office on Lower Abbey Street in Dublin. My office was at the back of the Ormond Quay & Scots Church and on a Tuesday they hired out the hall for keep fit. Paddy did the door.

As my mate Chris Fry and I were heading out for lunch Paddy says to us, “Away into the flowing tide lads…” We laughed and thought how poetic and almost missional Paddy’s phrase was. Good for Paddy we thought! I immediately thought poem and Chris thought song! Out onto O'Connell Street. The flowing tide of the city… brilliant!

Later in the week Chris and I found ourselves in a car, travelling somewhere, and we started talking about how The Flowing Tide poem and song were coming along. I think it was Brian Colvin who leaned over and said, “You know that that is the pub across the road from your office!” We all started laughing. Paddy wasn’t being as poetic as we all thought. He just thought we were off to the pub! 

That The Flowing Tide is a pub, and indeed popular for the audiences of the famous Abbey Theatre across the road, is almost more perfect for how I used the phrase. I was pondering at the time the way that the Church was no longer in the places Jesus had called us to.

I was thinking that we cannot blame the dark for being dark. That is to be expected. We can blame the light for not shining though. Jesus did say we were the light of the world… and I remembered where he died... which is where we should be, should we not!

 

I see the dark

But where is the light

Shining in the day

Away from the night

I hear the sick

But where are the well

Too close to heaven

And too far from hell

We've got to climb out of these trenches

Where we sit in comfort and condemn

We are not called to be their judge

We were called to go and love them

There where evil fights the good

There where no one believes

There where the city gambles

There among the thieves

There where innocent blood is spilled

There where love violently dies

Out there where the world is changed

In the flowing tide.

 

I hear the cries

But where is the shoulder

Warming the heat

As the cold is getting colder

I see the lonely

But where is the love

Too busy to care

With those who have enough

We must grab apathy by the throat

Shove respectable against the wall

Open our doors to a wounded world

Hear their broken hearts call

There where evil fights the good

There where no one believes

There where the city gambles

There among the thieves

There where innocent blood is spilled

There where love violently dies

Out there where the world is changed

In the flowing tide.


AMERICA YOU ARE OUR MYSTERY (for the Boulder Shootings)

Boulder shooting

(American friends... I am tragically posting this again... forgive me if this is insensitive... or I have got it wrong... BUT we are exasperated, frustrated, confused... and in mourning with those who lost loved ones...)

 

America oh our friend

This time its in Boulder Colorado

Where next, the random madman

Russian roulette of no one knows

Who will be the next child wasted

"Bang Bang" just cover over your ears

Today’s not the day for politics

And the days turns into years

And years 

And tears flow

Upon blood and tears.

 

America you are our mystery

We’re all confused by your altar of guns

And how a right in anybody’s constitution

Can cut down all these innocent ones.

 

America oh our friend

We pray for your mourning nation

Oblivious to the patently obvious

So lost and in need of salvation

It seems everywhere you’re fixing

As if all the rest of us are owing

But there you are a broken heart

Cancerous sins rampantly growing

And growing

More seeds sowing

In the cancer growing.

 

In the racism

Between the walls

In your increasing division

The devil calls

“Let what you love

Blur what you believe

You’ll be better for it

Just be prepared to grieve”

 

America you are our mystery

We’re all confused by your altar of guns

And how a right in anybody’s constitution

Can cut down all these innocent ones.