Friday, April 28, 2006

Roanoke, Spring

The wind blows steady from the east
Bringing air tangy with salt

The banks of mist, torn and tattered, clear,
Revealing distant land-masses to north and south

Sand and reeds whistle and rattle
Across the dunes

The storm beach is littered with flotsam,
Tarred timbers and frayed ropes

The Outer Banks have sheltered many,
Ships and sailors, refugees

Seeking haven from Atlantic storms
A pause for thought

Here the horizon is full of choices
Each compass-point a destination

I wrap myself up, staring out to sea
Awaiting an omen to guide me

I have lost my faith in experience
Since it has brought me here

Sunday, April 23, 2006

from Bede's History of the English Church (2006 edition)

One sin at a time

On the conscience of St Augustine
Was much that was simply disgusting
He started to worry
And so he said sorry
For it all, apart from the lusting

Many are called, few are chosen

The thing about St Benedict
Was his Rule was incredibly strict
For each one he monked
Ten novices flunked
And out from the abbey were kicked

Against gluttony

Ascetic Thomas Aquinas
Always avoided large dinners
To others who'd fast
He'd say "You won't last:
You're amateurs, only beginners".


According to Cardinal Newman
God, granting salvation to Man,
Smiled on the godly
And damned those who oddly
Insisted His Son's only human

Defending the faith

Henry called the Papal Nuncio
An idiot and a duncio
Enraged, he said
"I'll chop off your head!
I've done it before, more than once-i-o!"

Gently does it

Inquisitorial Torquemada
Gave advice to his torturing cadre
"If they won't confess
You just have to press
On their conscience a little harder"


Martin Luther's 95 theses
Broke the Christian world in pieces
The question was if
The Roman Pontiff
Oversaw the whole of the species

Soil temperature

To test the soil in Spring
To time the sowing of seed
The farmer used to sit
Bare-buttocked on the ground:
"Warm enough for me", he'd say.

Many seasons later
His bones seed the soil
Under a blanket of earth
Protected from winter's frost:
"Warm enough for me", he'd say.

Turn of the tide

The sea's greedy hand
Finally admits defeat
And loosens its grip

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Ignorance is bliss
But it cannot last for long:
Bad news travels fast

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Two trains to London

Rustling newspapers
Yawns, coffee; much reading of
Letters and reports

Lengthening shadows
Empty seats; crossword puzzles,
Books, quiet chatter.