POEMS/LYRICS

(WHEN WE ARE ALONE) I AM HOME

Stocki  Jani and Donard

photo: herself

 

Let’s take one of our selfies

With Donard way high above us

It’s where we always find our help

In the granite of God’s love for us

Reach out your hand

And I’ll put mine in yours

When the mountains fall in on us

Stillness like this reassures us

 

Let’s walk back up by the beach

Listen to our favourite sound

The whoosh of waves caressing sand

Makes us feel we’re glory bound

Stop right there and smile

Let me click one in my heart

I love you and I will love you

Until death us do part

 

28 years since we said I do

35 since I first kissed you

Smiles and tears for all that we’ve been through

When we are alone

Then I am home

I am home


THE BEYOND IN THE MIDST - for the Aurora Borealis

Northern

(Having the Aurora Borealis (those Northern Lights) in our gardens has had us thinking of the beauty and vastness of the skies... Here's a reflection based on Isaiah 57:15... on the Stevenson and Samuel album Gracenotes it is added at the end of the song Soaked In A Dearer Wine)

 

Beyond me

Beyond my comprehension

Beyond my understanding

Beyond me definitions

Beyond my highest efforts

Beyond my lowest fall

Beyond my morality

Beyond my most penitent call.

 

In the midst of me

In the midst of my tears

In the midst of my frailties

In the midst of my fears

In the midst of my cheers

In the midst of my sighs

In the midst of my sinfulness

In the midst of my lies.

 

Dying for me

Dying for my masks of fake

Dying for the distorted opinions

Dying for the promises I break

Dying for the words carelessly thrown

Dying for murderous thoughts within

Dying for my adulterous looks of lust

Dying for my sin.

 

In the midst you reach out

In the midst you offer grace

In the midst you throw your arms around me

In the midst you kiss my dirty face

In the midst you touch my soul

In the midst you cast your smile

In the midst you love this vagabond

In the midst you call me your child.


SOAKED IN A DEARER WINE (for Rob)

Rob and Julian

 

Saw you at Church on Sunday

As we shared our holy longing

But before we dream too far from reach

We spoke of our belonging

Now Friday here you are again

Where you promised you'd never be

The glazed gaze of guilt and shame

If you could even recognise me

Some may call it blasphemy

But I believe it to be true

God lay beside you in the gutter

Grace like a mother holding you.

 

Missed you at Church this morning

My belonging something less

My spirit left to find you

To curl up in your distress

Your head squeals in  the morning after

In an ocean of poison brine

It's bitter taste can't touch your soul

You are soaked in a dearer wine

Some may call it blasphemy

But I believe it to be true

God lay beside you in the gutter

Grace like a mother holding you.

 

You fell in love with someone

You called her Chardonnay

Thought you had her in your palm

But she soon had her way

How did we get to this grave side

I'll never ever know

One time, one night, one drink

The fall of your demons dominoes.

 

Some may call it blasphemy

But I believe it to be true

God lay beside you in the gutter

Grace like a mother holding you.

 

I wrote this song for the album that Sam Hill Jr and I released in 2001 - Stevenson and Samuel: Grace Notes LISTEN HERE  

Yesterday at the funeral of my dear friend Rob Lawson I realised it was something of a song about Rob. God loved Rob. Rob knew it. The disease of addiction took Rob but I believe that God never left his side. Loved him. Still does. That Communion cup, the dearer (more expensive) loving, forgiving wine!

I added the Chardonnay verse... Rob's word...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


WHERE WE SHONE LIKE AN ARKLIGHT

78

 

I lived in Dublin between 1991 and 1994 and they were big, full and love stuffed. I became a part of the 78 Eaton Wood Green Community and out of it an arts festival at Ovoca Manor called Arklight. 

Today one of the community, Rob Lawson a real driving force in Arklight, passed away. I am back in my happiest place...

 

I’ll always go to that instant

A second caught in time

Here in the brightest photograph

My whole universe rhymed

 

We all smiled the biggest smile

Eight in one embrace

Last day before we all grew up

We hunkered in a joyous space

Smothered in love, so much love

Cuddled up in that one big bed

In every darkest moment since

I come back here to Wicklow instead.

Where we shone like an Arklight

When sang into the good night

When laughed away the dark light

Where we shone like an Arklight.

 

I’ll always go to that instant

A second caught in time

Here in the brightest photograph

My whole universe rhymed.


AT THE END OF PRIMROSE LANE (FOR THE LUCAN YOUTH CENTRE)

Stockman at Lucan

In a field of dreams

I watched a wise man sow

The seeds of change, he could not see

Then watched them grow

Joy became a harvest

From tears of heaven's rain

A narrow road that leads to life

At the end of Primrose Lane.

 

In a field of dreams

I watched a young man laugh

As love broke in to take away

The bitterness he used to have

Never thought he'd come here

Now can't wait to come again

A narrow road that leads to life

At the end of Primrose Lane.

 

In a field of dreams 

I chatted with a man

Who opened up the mysteries

To help me understand

Things that time could wither

To things that forever remain

A narrow road that leads to life

At the end of Primrose Lane.

 

In a field of dreams

My spirit wanders free

In the midst of how it is

Here is how it could be

The moment by moment impact

Of a love that's not in vain

A narrow road that leads to life

They call it Primrose Lane.

 

In the late 80s and early 90s my spiritual life had a place of formation. The Lucan Youth Centre was then on the edge of Lucan and was a place that so many of us went for weekends, retreats, cross community events, missions, conferences, music weekends. 

It was a space removed from the sectarianism and Phariseeism in Northern Ireland. I watched minds open, hearts heal and souls get set free. It was a glorious time and a special sacred space.

I wrote this on December 16th 1992 and I think we had a 24 hour prayer time and I wrote this during an hour of praying, listening and giving thanks. It is dedicated to Trevor Morrow, David Montgomery and Dave Baldock.

I heard that there was another Prayer Day as people asked what the Presbyterian Church should do with this space now. I pray for clear answers. 

 

 

 

 


REFLECTIONS ON CHRISTMAS #63 (JOYOUS)

Stocki Xmas 23

Happy Christmas 2023 to everyone from the Stockies... 

 

“A stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.” - CS Lewis

 

“Like a stone on the surface of a still river

Driving the ripples on forever

Redemption rips through the surface of time

In the cry of a tiny babe.” - Bruce Cockburn

 

 

A baby drops the blessing

To lift our self inflicted curse

A stable holding so much more

Than the entire universe

Love came down among us

From way up there, beyond us

Joyous.

 

A born again world is dawning

Dying howls of the one more obvious

Force’s strong arm surrenders

To the humility of meekness

We stand mouths open speechless

At the ordinary made glorious

Joyous.

 

To touch this moment

And stretch all across our broken history

To touch our hearts

And reach into every cosmic mystery

 

Delirious

Glorious

Beyond us

Among us

Joyous

Baby Jesus


WE WILL REMEMBER THEM ( I WONDER WHEN]

WW1

Remembrance Day 2023... Gaza is in flames... Russia and Ukraine are at war... those who sacrificed themselves in the World Wars of the Twentieth Century might have thought that they had ended all wars... sadly not.

 

We will remember them

I wonder when

We will only ever honour the lost

When we find an end

 

The dark

The mud

The pain

The blood

The fear

The breath

The terror

The death

 

We will remember them

We will turn out the lights

But hear the cries of the dying

Echo back through the night

Still we kill our children

Say its for our children’s sake

But we can never sing of victory

In the ricochet of a wake

We argue over who is right

We fight over who is wrong

Nobody should ever raise a flag

Until everybody belongs

For every unknown grave

Should be marked with “OUR INSANITY”

No one’s ever won a war

War keeps murdering our humanity. 

 

We will remember them

I wonder when

We will only ever honour the lost

When we find an end.


BONFIRES - A PRAYER

Bonfires

 

God, toxic fumes fills the air of my city

Sectarian vitriol rising

We pile pallets of hatred upon hatred

And dehumanise

Blackening the smoke off bonfires

As our badness suffocates cultural rights

We incinerate flags

Flags that symbolise nations of people

People all equally loved by you

Jesus sacrificing himself for the world

Every flag

God forgive.

 

And God,

Before we point fingers

In self righteous arrogance

Send your Spirit to search us

To see the toxic vitriol 

And ungodly divisions

Within your Church

Between Churches

Blasphemous schism

God forgive our intolerance

The impoverishment of "love thy neighbour"

The absence of relationship

That Jesus’ good news models

God forgive us.

 

God, start with me

Interrogate

Investigate the Northern Irish DNA in my soul

Thran

Holier than thou infallibility

Devil’s speed to judge, exclude and damn

God, if words could kill

I would need a licence

God forgive.

 

God, be faithful and just to forgive

Give us empathy and compassion

Wisdom to deny self 

Courage to carry our cross

To love our enemies, 

Do good to those who hate us,

Bless those who curse us.

Pray for those who ill treat us

Purify our cultural rights

To be about joy in our celebration

And not fear in the hearts of others 

God forgive us.


LOVE IS MORE THAN THIS HAPPY DAY

Josh and Sophie

(using this today at the wedding of Sophie Trinder to Josh Butler... I wrote it for Janice and I after our wedding... but have changed it to the second person to make it fit for weddings...)

 

You'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 you that yours must

And if everything burns down around you

And if everyone is falling apart

The vows you made and the prayers you prayed

Should give resilience to your fragile hearts

So go and spend some time together

Now you’ve made that time forever

Lift each other when you’ve been knocked down

Rebuke each other when you’re just not clever

Go and be partners in every waltz

Be companions down through the mystery

Each other’s hope through headline news

And touches of grace in times of misery

Go to dry each other’s tears

Hold hands as you share your sorrow

And remember that love is more than this happy day

It's the hard work of tomorrow


LIGHT UP, LIGHT UP (WHEN BELFAST SINGS TOGETHER)

RUN

(A Belfast crowd singing Run at a Snow Patrol gig... #proud)

 

Chest of a city stuck out

To fuel the filling of lungs

No sound ever sounds sweeter

Than the unity of our Belfast tongues

All hands held up to carry

The weight of homecoming pride

We should make it the national anthem

And pray this oneness never subsides.

 

As the smart phone candles flicker

Reach your melancholy hand across

Feel melody swathe and sooth your soul

In the sad space of our loss

Let the verse suck in our pain

The chorus breathe out our grief

Then that tender thrumming riff

Throw out flecks of light and belief

 

So, in my time of dying

When my body doesn’t have long

Let our souls run, run for our lives

And one last time, sing this song…

 

“Light up, light up

As if you had a choice

Even if you cannot hear my voice

I’ll be right beside you dear.” *

 

* lines in italics from Snow Patrol's song Run