a poem I was sent





The tree of knowledge was the tree of reason.
That’s why the taste of it
drove us from Eden. That fruit
was meant to be dried and milled to a fine powder
for use a pinch at a time, a condiment.
God had probably planned to tell us later
about this new pleasure.
We stuffed our mouths full of it,
gorged on but and if and how and again
but, knowing no better. It’s toxic in large quantities; fumes
swirled in our heads and around us
to form a dense cloud that hardened to steel,
a wall between us and God, Who was Paradise.
Not that God is unreasonable – but reason
in such excess was tyranny
and locked us into its own limits, a polished cell
reflecting our own faces. God lives
on the other side of that mirror,
but through the slit where the barrier doesn’t
quite touch ground, manages still
to squeeze in – as filtered light,
splinters of fire, a strain of music heard then lost,
then heard again.

Denise Levertov
Source: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/contraband/

I appear to be 51

That might be me top left!

Jason Goroncy (http://cruciality.wordpress.com/) is a colleague of mine – a cheeky one, who stretches out into dangerous waters with a degree of carelessness that usually warms my heart.  But, on a very wide and mysterious unoffical cyber community we are part of he posted me a birthday poem.  Here it is followed by my miserable not-quite-poetic response…

“Today is Martin Stewart’s birthday. Martin is getting very old. To celebrate, I thought I’d share a poem by one of my favourite poets, R.S. Thomas. The poem is titled ‘Ninetieth Birthday’:

You go up the long track
That will take a car, but is best walked
On slow foot, noting the lichen
That writes history on the page
Of the grey rock. Trees are about you
At first, but yield to the green bracken,
The nightjars house: you can hear it spin
On warm evenings; it is still now
In the noonday heat, only the lesser
Voices sound, blue-fly and gnat
And the stream’s whisper. As the road climbs,
You will pause for breath and the far sea’s
Signal will flash, till you turn again
To the steep track, buttressed with cloud. 

And there at the top that old woman,
Born almost a century back
In that stone farm, awaits your coming;
Waits for the news of the lost village
She thinks she knows, a place that exists
In her memory only.
You bring her greeting
And praise for having lasted so long
With time’s knife shaving the bone.
Yet no bridge joins her own
World with yours, all you can do
Is lean kindly across the abyss
To hear words that were once wise. 

A wee dram will be enjoyed tonight in honour of the birthday boy!”

My response:
There is a bad boy in the church – Goroncy,
a theologian, in his prime.
Should we be asking Mr Baker* to send in a Commission,
or do we leave it alone this time?

If I wasn’t so old, doddery and frail
I’d give Goroncy a little piece of my mind.
But alas ‘little’ is all I have left, and what’s there I’m fast loosing,
(along with my money, my hair, and my time).

So I will suffer in near silence
at the passing of my years
And while envying him that wee dram, (of which I’d like to share!)
I’ll humbly give God thanks, for this life,
and Goroncy’s good cheers.
Mart the Rev

Music & Play Group

On Wednesdays in term time I help run a pre-school music & play group as part of the Community Centre at our church, St Stephen’s in Bryndwr, Christchurch.

wednesday pre-school music & play at st stephen’s

Today we farewelled Olwyn Cramond who is retiring from the Wednesday group.  Olwyn has been a pre-school music & play pianist for 14 years and working with me for 5.5 years!
The group showered her with flowers and we managed to get a photo taken… the group is all very colourful and lively!  I love it!

hen house grand opening

A fine collection of people (from our breakfast church) came over to our place for breakfast and to celebrate the opening of the henhouse at 8.30am with hen stories (Little Red Hen, Henny Penny – though not such a good ending unless you are a fox! – and Hattie the Hen), lollipops, and transferring the hens to their new house.
shifting the chooks from the old house to the new

hen house #5 Finished!

Finally the henhouse is completed ready for its official opening on Sunday morning where our breakfast church group will come and be part of it – balloons, lollipops, little red hen stories and our hens, who I imagine couldn’t care less about the love and labour that has gone into creating a place of space and rest for them to enjoy and produce eggs as a thank-offering for life’s many gifts.
I had the help of my brother Dave (a Melbourne dweller in normal life – if you can call him normal) today to finish the last wire attachments, door handle connections, and the ultimate last fixture – a “Ladies” sign.
Photos of the opening party on Sunday!!!