Sunday, January 31, 2010


If you follow the calendar of the Celts Spring begins tonight. Bit hard to believe that the world is turning green when you live back east and digging out from the latest assault from the snow gods. We had a break in the rain today and suddenly the first light purple crocuses are actually open. You have to catch them quickly before the sun goes away and they close up.

The birds have actually been singing and the squirrels are busy as ever. Someone in the neighborhood has at least one specimen of poultry; we’re treated to regular, hearty doses of cockadoodledoos during the day.

Welcome to Imbolg and thanks for the reminder that it’s time to start cleaning things up and plan for new growth, inside and out.

I make the encircling
Of the many colored winds:
Black wind of the cold north,
Pale green of southwest,
Red wind of southeast,
Grey wind of northwest,
Purple wind of sharp east,
Clear wind of the dear west,
Speckled wind of northeast,
White wind of warm south,
Yellow of the veering wind.
The encompassment of the winds
Protect and surround me
This spring day.

Caitlin Matthews

Careful of those winds, you’ll find a rainbow where you least expect it.

Cross posted in Green Woman.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Something sis said this weekend keeps coming back in that irritating, itchy way that some thoughts have. Apparently the fastest growing church in her neighborhood is Baptist style church popular with the young people. Services start on time and end on time. There's all sorts of youth groups, adult groups, singles groups etc. and up the wazoo.

It seems that the younger folks like it because it provides them "with what they want." I hate to admit it but my knowledge of the gospels is more than a little rusty these days. However, I 've always been under the impression that a certain itinerant preacher got in trouble with the imperial and temple authorities because he went around telling people what God wanted, not the other way around. Perhaps I've been mistaken all these years.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I caught part of a program on Northern Ireland and the "troubles" that lasted from the late sixties into the nineties. Fueled by, well blindness on all sides to be honest. I hadn't thought of this piece in years. It took a bit of internet digging since the LP it's on is in a really safe place. A really, really safe place. Look, the blessed thing is in the house I'm sure of that. It's not like it has legs. I didn't realize, or maybe I just didn't remember, that the person who recorded it was also the author.

I'll leave the name for the ending. But, I honestly believe that a piece like this has to come from the fringes; either the desert or the lands that border the cold wildness that's home to the North Atlantic gales.


There are too many saviors on my cross,
lending their blood to flood out my ballot box with needs of their own.
Who put you there?
Who told you that was your place?

You carry me secretly naked in your heart
and clothe me publicly in armor
crying “God is on our side,” yet I openly cry
who is on Mine?
Tell Me, who?
You who bury your sons and cripple your fathers
Whilst you bury my father in crippling his son.

The antiquated Saxon sword,
rusty in its scabbard of time now rises—
you gave it cause in my name,
bringing shame to the thorned head
that once bled for your salvation.

I hear your daily cries
in the far-off byways in your mouth
pointing north and south
and my Calvary looms again,
desperate in rebirth.
Your earth is partitioned,
but in contrition
it is the partition
in your hearts that you must abolish.

You nightly watchers of Gethsemane
who sat through my nightly trial delivering me from evil—
now deserted, I watch you share your silver.
Your purse, rich in hate,
bleeds my veins of love,
shattering my bone in the dust of the Bogside and the Shankill road.

There is no issue stronger than the tissue of love
no need as holy as the palm outstretched in the run of generosity.
No monstrosity greater than the anger you inflict.
Who gave you the right to increase your fold
and decrease the pastures of my flock?
Who gave you the right?
Who gave it to you?
And in whose name do you fight?

I am not in heaven,
I am here,
hear me.
I am in you,
feel me.
I am of you,
be me.
I am with you,
see me.
I am for you,
need me.
I am all mankind, only through kindness will you reach me.

What masked and bannered men can rock the ark
and navigate a course to their anointed kingdom come?
Who sailed their captain to waters that they troubled in My font,
sinking in the ignorant seas of prejudice?

There is no virgin willing to conceive in the heat of any bloody Sunday.
you crippled children lying in cries on Derry’s streets,
pushing your innocence to the full flush face of Christian guns,
battling the blame on each other.
Do not grow tongues in your dying dumb wounds speaking my name.
I am not your prize in your death.
you have exorcized me in your game of politics.

Go home to your knees and worship me in any cloth,
for I was never tailor-made.
Who told you I was?
Who gave you the right to think it?
Take your beads in your crippled hands,
can you count my decades?
Take my love in your crippled hearts,
can you count the loss?

I am not orange.
I am not green.
I am a half-ripe fruit needing both colors to grow into ripeness,
and shame on you to have withered my orchard.
I in my poverty,
alone without trust,
cry shame on you
and shame on you again and again
for converting me into a bullet and shooting me into men’s hearts

The ageless legend of my trial grows old
in the youth of your pulse staggering shamelessly from barricade to grave,
filling in the book of history my needless death one April.
Let me, in my betrayal, lie low in my grave,
and you, in your bitterness, lie low in yours,
for our measurements grow strangely dissimilar.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
sullied be thy name.

by Richard Harris from the early seventies.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Danger, curious person thinking in public.

For the sake of argument rewrite the story of the Fall in Genesis without the spiritual element and you find a story is as old as humanity. It’s repeated every time some guy tries to get a girl into his bedroom. It’s repeated every time a joint, a line of coke, even a cigarette is offered with the tired refrain of “everybody’s doing it,” “what’s the matter, you scared,” and the classic “nobody will every know.” There’s at least one problem with trying to keep a secret. No matter how deep you bury that secret at least one person will always know what happened. You can hide things from everyone but yourself. Buried deep inside it festers and creates a wall between you and everyone around you.

And if you believe that in some way the God of scripture set the forces of creation in motion that resulted in humanity and every other creature in the universe, including a certain tempter; there’s always “don’t tell Dad.” And there’s another old standby. Take out the King James sixteenth century language and you might find that the story takes on a five year olds’ playground singsong; “I know something you don’t know.”

Perhaps the death blamed on man’s fall in the garden wasn’t the physical death that the far right evangelicals claim. After all there’s no claim in scripture that our physical bodies were meant to be immortal. Even stars and planets are born, age and die. Something the writers who preserved scripture wouldn’t have, couldn’t have known.

Perhaps the meaning story isn’t death of the body but injury to the soul. When truth is ignored, trust is impossible and without trust there can never be love or hope. And without love or hope life is meaningless.

Monday, January 11, 2010


With a bit of adaptation this would work for almost anyone. It’s still a beautiful piece.

Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the children of the earth.
Every part of the earth is sacred.

The air is precious, for we share the same breath.
Every part of the earth is sacred.

This we know, the earth does not belong to us; we belong to the earth.
Every part of the earth is sacred.

This we know, all things are connected;
Like the blood that unites on family.
Every part of the earth is sacred.

Our God is the same God,
Whose compassion is equal for all.
Every part of the earth is sacred.

We do not weave the web of life;
We are merely a strand in it.
Every part of the earth is sacred.

Whatever we do to web, we do to ourselves.
Every part of the earth is sacred.

From the Rhythm of Life by David Adam

David Adams was vicar of the parish on the island of Lindesfarne for many years. Although he is now retired he still lives on the island. Also known as Holy Island, it’s all of two square miles in area. The island has had some kind of religious foundation since 635 AD. It’s a place where you can be immersed in the sounds of the sea, the birds, the wind and the old church bells.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Glittering flakes:
The wind is breaking
Frozen moonlight.

Horiuchi Toshimi

I couldn’t find the perfect picture, or even a semi perfect picture to go with this poem. So much isn’t said in a haiku. A dark night, a cold night, dark evergreen trees perhaps, no lights beyond a house or courtyard, it’s snowing, perhaps a break in the clouds that allows a sliver of moonlight to join the dancing flakes. A blink, a breath and it’s gone.