grandson due in november

November (1 of 1)-24
a poem has been emerging over the last few months
as I remember my daughter in her first hours of breathing life
thinking about what it will be like for her to hold her son in his first hours
and how those who once held her and me and those before us,
are strangely present in the near identical blessing we have wished on one another

it wasn’t long ago
barely a breath of time
that I held you
as you breathed
your first five hundred breaths
and I held most of mine

it wasn’t long ago
that Lloyd Campbell Stewart held me
in my first week
smile on his sun-worn face
the only sign to those watching
of blessing whispering and noting
the transition, a future
warm and wriggling in his arms

it won’t be long now
’til I hold your first-born, a son –
and watching his eyes I will see
not only him,
not only my reflection,
not only you on your first day
(with saucer-like unblemished gaze)
but something of all who have gone before us,
and a glimpse of who will follow.




When I was at school the teacher called the roll.
When my name was called I was required to answer ‘present’.
With that answer was an invitation, even a summons,
to receive the gift of a world opening up before me.

I, of course, was not aware of the dimensions of the gift.
I often treated the classroom as a space to be endured.

Now I know better and I am having to play catch up.



what is right in front of me
goes missing
depending too heavily on my eyes
to convey all truth
my eyes only see what the eyes
have been trained to see

looking deeper you allow
yourself to be found
mind’s-eye dreaming
revelations and wonderings
signs and visions
fantasy and imagination

this side of resurrection
your truth comes to me

an ever renewing category
that I may know enough to know

This Rhythm of Light’s Disappearance

This rhythm of light’s disappearance – Martin Stewart


each month for three nights the moon disappears
a darkness comes over to envelope us

this interval of no light has a rhythm
this time is not one to fear

touch what comes to greet you
grasp what has dared to appear
embrace what has once been avoided

For a faith that endures is a faith that engages

even on those nights of no moon
the moon is still there
it is only we who behave
as if the lack of reflection means an absence


the simple rhythms of fullness of life


the simple rhythms of fullness of life – martin stewart

the bird song at dawn
the warm woman in the bed
the first noticed breath after waking
the eyes opening
the shift of the body
the feet on the floor
the bathroom
and the water

echo of the first day
reminder of the womb

the wonder of lungs
the blood
the bones
the skin
the light

the earth
where I get to operate

the cleansing

whatever comes next I know
where I am,
what I am,
who I am,
that I am

the gift has already been given
what foolishness that I seek to find
what has already found me

it spoke to me

it spoke to me
– Martin Stewart

just a moment ago
I caught a wisp of cloud
moving over the peak
in the Himalayas

if I hadn’t been looking
I would have missed it

I didn’t really catch it – you know,
as if I could ‘handle’ it
I caught it in the sense of a mind-snap
it popped by
there to be noticed if I cared

I did notice
I was a long way away
across the planet in a building
not even trying to picture
that place I have never been

that wisp of cloud,
for a moment
I felt the chill of it

it spoke to me

I am just over here, it said,
quite close
tied to you really
my breath is so tender
you can blow it away if you want to

if you want to you can diminish me

don’t try to catch me,
care for me,
if I am well
you will be well

for this place is rather small
and you and I are not far from each other.

seeing dimly


seeing dimly
we want clarity before the mysteries
but we gain barely a glimpse
a passing shadow
a leaf falling from a tree

some have practiced a life of glimpsing
exhibiting a quiet confidence
insight to what exists in the space between things
knowing enough to know

an unforced word from one of them
can be a small seed of hope
a window to a horizon
a place to set one’s foot

Our last remembering

I wrote the following poem a few weeks ago for the funeral of a woman from the Bryndwr part of The Village Church – thus some of the specifics come from her story.  I wrote it as an imaginative exercise as I thought about the flash of memory that seems to be a common element in the experience of dying – at least that is what those who didn’t quite die tell us!

The invitation for those of us who remain, I suggest, is to accumulate memories for that final flash of memory.  Continue reading