Category Archives: Poems by me

Planned Childhood


This came to me on the plane the other day. It is not really a sonnet as they are supposed to be iambic pentameter, and this is iambic quadrameter, but a verse is a verse for better or worse. See if you like it.

 

To sing a new song to the Lord

And yet include there no strange fire

To take up psaltery and lyre

And sing according to His Word

 

How can the song be new, and yet

Stay in the range that God commands?

Right ways to praise and worship’s bounds,

These God within His Word has set.

 

The Gospel is the song that’s new

New from the cross and empty tomb

This song is new yet ancient too

Planned ere a child had breached a womb.

 

We are the children planned to be

God’s own, a people He set free.

 

Oh yes you were!

Oh yes you were!

Two Sides, Two Brides


First Adam had a wound in his side
When the rib was taken for First Eve,
So the Second, for His longed-for Bride,
From His side blood and water gave.
Along the length of Longin’s spear
Flowed that wherewith the Church is cleansed
Which lets the Second Eve appear,
Which, from the first, God did intend.

The Psalms of Davey #8 – “The Lord above is keeping his watch upon my soul”


This is the eighth of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org To find the category of “Psalms of Davey” please review the categories section in the side bar.

8 . “THE LORD ABOVE IS KEEPING HIS WATCH UPON MY SOUL”

(Words Uncle Davey, Voronezh, Russia, October-November 1985. Music John Pyke Hullah (1812-1884) Tune name “Bentley”. The tune is usually sung to the excellent hymn “Sometimes a light surprises the christian while he sings”, by the very famous poet and hymnwriter William Cowper. The hymn is such a favorite of mine that I would like to put Cowper’s words here for your perusal first:

Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord, Who rises with healing in His wings:
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain.

In holy contemplation we sweetly then pursue
The theme of God’s salvation, and find it ever new.
Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say,
Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may.

It can bring with it nothing but He will bear us through;
Who gives the lilies clothing will clothe His people, too;
Beneath the spreading heavens, no creature but is fed;
And He Who feeds the ravens will give His children bread.

Though vine nor fig tree neither their wonted fruit should bear,
Though all the field should wither, nor flocks nor herds be there;
Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice,
For while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice.

I have used Hullah’s tune for a similar topic, confidence in God, which seems to echo through the notes of this hymn. I cannot compare my poetry to that of Cowper, for all I might like to try, but at least the theme is the same.

First published 27th June 2004, on usenetposts.com

1.
The Lord above is keeping
His watch upon my soul
His guardian care unsleeping
Keeps me both strong and whole
His angels watch my feet tread
They make secure my track
My going out is guarded
So too my coming back.

2.
The nets and gins of satan
Are set to do me harm
Yet God my Father keeps me
With His almighty arm
The greatest tests and trials
Can scarcely me distress
Nor demons’ practised wiles
For long my soul depress.

3.
The providence and caring
Of God, my Lord on high
Shall keep me from despairing
And guide me till I die
Till I, with eyes immortal
His guardian angels see
Yea more, at heaven’s portal
Sublime divinity.

“The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” (Psalm 121 v 8)

A Psalm of Christ


Jesus is Alpha and Jesus is Omega
Jesus is Allah and Jesus is Jehovah

Our Jehovah-Jireh, our Ebenezer, our Emmanuel
He is the sacrifice and He the temple

King, Prophet, Priest, Advocate, Brother, Friend
Jesus is the Beginning and Jesus is the End

He is All in All, All things made by and for Him
There is none like Him nor beside nor before Him

Both our Creator and Kinsman Redeemer
Second Adam who came before the first

There is now other Name given, a Name above every Name
That at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow.

And so He is Baruch Hashem Adonai to whom we bow
At head and knee, saying the Amidah.

The Vine, the Door, The Way, The Truth The Life,
Living Bread, Water of Life, and Wine cup, saying LaChaim

The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and Lamb of God
In Him the lion lies next to the lamb.

Son of David, Branch of Jesse, Seed of Abraham
In whom all the nations of the earth are blessed

Offspring of Eve whose heel bruises the Serpent’s Head,
Son of True God with no Achilles’ heel

How lovely on the Mountain shall be the feet of Him
On the Mount of Olives when it cleaves in twain!

And the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of Christ
As the waters cover the sea. For He is God.

Almighty, all-sufficient all-in-all God,
With the Father and the Holy Spirit, Blessed for ever.

Amen.

A certain uncertainty


Grand Union Canal aqueduct near Bradwell, Milt...

Grand Union Canal aqueduct near Milton Keynes

A certain uncertainty

(My entry for the March 2008 My Telegraph Creative Writing Competition)

A certain uncertainty once crept into my head,
Because of what Patrycja said when we were both in bed.
She woke up in the night and placed a hand upon her womb,
Then gently sighed “Oh, Ronnie!” and got up and left the room.

She came back some time later and went back to sleep again,
But, the words she’d spoken, they remained inside my brain.
I could not sleep for worrying what this thing could portend;
“Who is this Ronnie?” was my thought “has Pat found some new friend?”

I never guessed that my dear wife and of our kids the mother
Could want to turn her back on me and go and love another.
I got so worried over it I could not go to sleep.
Well, maybe I got half an hour, but that not very deep.

At breakfast I was calm, as in “the calm before the storm”.
I went to my form-filling job, but I was not on form.
The other workers in the bank, they noticed something wrong,
And one of them, to cheer me up, sang out a merry song.

But this impromptu singing only made me more morose,
For was one of “our songs” that the silly banker chose!
And thus it only caused the queue of customers to lengthen,
While my certain uncertainty it only served to strengthen.

“Who is this Ronnie? Who is he?” to know was now my mission:
I had to know if I was right or wrong in my suspicion.
In all my life I’d never known uncertainty before:
It wasn’t something I’d developed mechanisms for.

And so it was, that sitting there, a-counting clients’ money
That I worked out a cunning plan, a trap to catch my honey:
I’d catch her “in flagrante” with this Ronnie character.
All in love and war and marriage you could say is fair.

So I told Patrycja’s voicemail that I’d spend the night away;
I was going to Milwaukee, is what she heard me say.
I’d never lied to her, for lies and tricks are not my scenes,
And so to keep it true I went and walked to Milton Keynes.

Now, walking up the towpath to Milton Keynes from Tring
By the Grand Union Canal is not a lightsome thing.
So by the time I dragged myself inside of Bletchley Station
My legs were tired, my feet were sore, my back and head were aching.

I went to Tring by train then took a taxi to Ivinghoe
And tiptoed into our dear home via the French window.
But she was sitting there alone, no Ronnie was in sight
“Hello, dear.” were her greeting words, “Vot happen to your flight?”

Now, I had practiced what to say, but all was now forgot
And so I stood there looking dumb and all I said was “What?”
“I fought you vere in States?” she said, in her broad Polish accent.
Well, I was in a state, all right, but not the one that Pat meant.

So I just blurted out “Who’s Ronnie?” and broke down in tears,
Explaining all the reasoning behind my doubts and fears.
But she just laughed her Slavic laugh, she thought it all so funny
“I never said ‘Oh Ronnie’, dear, vot I said vos ‘o rany!’!”

I scanned the bookshelves and took out a volume of my wife’s
And turned to ‘R’ and found the entry there, as large as life:
For “rany!”, terms like “golly!”, “gosh!” and “goodness!” were translations:
All mild expressions of surprise or sudden exclamations.

“But why, then, did you wake at night with your hand on your womb
Then leave our bed and spend some time alone in the bathroom?
What reason for this sudden act, which left me broken-hearted?”
“I voke up in a mess, because my ‘okres’ had just started!”

“I did not fink it vos to happen for anozzer day,
And so I got zis bad surprise, and had to do zat vay.”
“I see it all now, sorry, dear.” I said with great relief
“Zis time I vill forgiff. Next time you doubt, I kick you teef.”

The images of my dear wife with Corbett, Biggs or Barker
Were thus dispersed, and nowadays, they are but cause for laughter
And so it just remains for me to draw the moral warning –
What you can deal with in the night, don’t put it off till morning!

12/3/2008

I quite liked this but I don’t think it was one of the times I got into the top six.

It isn’t autobiographical, the narrator and all the characters in it are just fictitious.

The Psalms of Davey #7 – “I sought the praise of sinners”


This is the seventh of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org To find the category of “Psalms of Davey” please review the categories section in the side bar.

7. “I SOUGHT THE PRAISE OF SINNERS”

(Words Uncle Davey, Voronezh, Russia, 12th October 1985. Music Chretien d’Urhan (1790-1845) Tune name “Rutherford“. People interested in historical curiosities, don’t overlook to click on the link I gave to the wikipedia article on the composer, as his life was interesting and the end of it something of an enigma.)

The tune is named for Samuel Rutherford, and is normally sung to Anne Cousin’s hymn The sands of time are sinking, which when unabridged is one of the longest hymns in use, as well as some of the best religious poetry in the English language.

My text cannot compare in beauty with the usual use of the tune I have selected for it, but the state of mind in it is something which I, and I am sure not only I, have needed to face up to again and again. Pride is a very sneaky sin, you can even feel pride for believing you’ve dealt with your pride. I don’t think I’ve managed to perfectly rid myself of wrongful pride for more than a few seconds of my entire waking life, if that, which is why I cannot but hope on the mercy of God, and why I say that those Christians who believe we can only endure to the end and be saved if we become somehow free of sin, (which when I compare that to my own experience seems frankly laughable) and who reject the doctrine of eternal security of believers unless they can attain to some sinless perfection on earth – these people either don’t have the same problems as I do or they just gloss over them. Actually it is simply a lie from the devil, who will put anything in a person’s mind that will stop them from going to God repeatedly for forgiveness as often as he goes to the tap for water, which is the true experience of the penitent sinner. I hope someone out there is blessed by these words as they resonate with your own experience.

1.
I sought the praise of sinners,
Their glance and their regard
I sought their admiration
And now my heart is hard
Lord, make me poor in spirit
That I might humble be
Cut back my vain delusions
Be all in all to me.

2.
My soul is sick and suffering
From self-idolatry
Lord, now I pray Thee, cleanse me
From sinful pride me free
O set me free from bondage
From seeking praise of men
And may I seek Thy glory
Not vaunt myself again.

3.
This hypocrite repentant
Lord, purge in sovereign grace
And may my spirit’s leaven
Dissolve before Thy face
Lord, grant me self-abasement
And singleness of mind
To worship Thee for only
In Thee my all I find.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5 v 3)

Bleak Midwinter in Finland (with apologies to Christina Rossetti)


First published as part of the Daily Telegraph‘s February 2008 Creative Writing Competition. It was one of the six shortlisted out of about 40 entries. As ever I did not get the first prize, but it attracted a lot of positive responses. The reason for the “lizard and gizzard”  was down to the set words you had to include in the piece for the month, which was a continual feature of the contest. This time “lizard” was one of the words. Or possibly “blizzard”. I can’t even remember which ones the other set words were!

The picture which accompanied it is one of my stills from the visit with the image of Christina Rossetti, the authoress of the original Bleak Midwinter Poem, superimposed.

With Apologies to Christina Rosetti

"With apologies to Christina Rosetti..."

1.
In this bleak midwinter,
Frosty winds beat time;
Mirth stands hard as irony,
Slaughter-like the rime.
Crow is eaten, crow on crow
Crow on corpse of crow,
In this bleak midwinter verse,
Made not long ago. Read the rest of this entry

The rules, they are a-changin’


(A poem for the new decade by Viktor D. Huliganov with apologies to Dylan Thomas)

You can take all the notions you thought that you knew,
You can take all the truths you believed to be true,
And the old guarantees and your securities
And you can burn them as fuel for your engine.
You can restart your mind and your philosophies
For the rules, they are a-changin’!

The government thug in his suit and his hat
Will be taxing your earnings until they get fat
They’ll be taxing your children and taxing your cat
And your business they’ll be disarranging.
They’ll tell you what’s what and then that’ll be that
For the rules, they are a-changin’!

This new unelected fisc-alien horde
Will be taxing the pen and then taxing the sword
They’ll be taxing you far more than you can afford
As we slip into this demo-slavery
They’ll be taxing the devil and taxing the Lord
For the rules, they are a-changin’!

Don’t stick to ideas which turned out to be wrong
By foreseeing the change you can make yourself strong
You must weather this crisis, no matter how long
But your model, it needs rearranging
So remodel your moral and rewrite your song
For the rules, they are a-changing

VDH 31st December 2009.

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