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In this column you will find the most recent posts unless you have selected a specific poem, meditation or collection/index in which case that single item will appear here.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

First Day of the Week - A story for Palm Sunday

Crown of Thorns - cosmic storm

The concept of building an imaginary story or meditation from a time of reflection on a Bible passage is one I feel drawn to from time to time. This one imagines the experience of a citizen of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The title ‘First Day’ derives from the Hebrew practice of naming their days by numbers for each day of the week.
The poem might also help to think a little about why an estactic crowd shouting ‘Hosanna’ on Sunday turned to ‘Crucify’ just five days later.

First Day of The Week

It was the strangest of First Days
I had ever known.
In the Temple, on the Sabbath,
the day before,
there had been whispers,
lots of rumours
that the long awaited Messiah
was coming.
The strongest and strangest rumour
was that it was Jesus,
carpenter-turned-Rabbi from Nazareth.
That felt improbable on both counts – 
a carpenter – from Nazareth?
But it was being said he had healed people
and given food to huge crowds up in Galilee.

He was, they said,
coming with a band of followers,
both men and women.
Coming from Bethany, they said.

So there I was,
waiting by the City gate
in the midst of an expectant, excited crowd.
If this was the moment 
The accursed Romans were to be swept away
I wanted to be part of it.

I had paused at the door before leaving
wondering about taking a dagger.
But if it all went wrong
and I was found by a soldier with a dagger;
that would mean prison at best
or more likely, crucifixion.

So I contented myself with the stout stick
I use when walking distances.
Heavy enough to break a sword arm
or do serious damage to a Roman skull,
and easy to toss away if pursued.

When I arrived, I noticed 
There were a lot of similar ‘walking sticks’ around;
the soldiers eyed them
and put hands meaningfully 
on vicious swords.

We waited.
People were growing restless,
then from the hill below came a
bubbling excited sound 
with the word ‘Hosanna’ being often repeated.

It grew louder,
and I stood on a boulder
to see what was happening.

That was a noisy, noisy group,
surrounding a man
who was obviously their Leader –
head high above the rest.

It was difficult to see
how he was that height – 
not high enough to be on a horse
which would have been logical
if he was going to lead a coup.
So perhaps on a portable platform,
maybe incorporating a throne:
that would make sense.

When they got closer, 
I could hear more of the chanting
‘Blessed is he who is coming
in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna, Hosanna’.

The crowd around the gate
were getting more and more excited
and taking up the cry
‘Hosanna, Hosanna’
and I admit I found myself shouting too -
even despite the presence 
of those accursed Roman soldiers.

It became more difficult to see,
Not easier!
People jumping up to get a view
and barging in front of me.

The shouting got louder and louder
and the soldiers grew more and more tense
as did the occasional Temple priest I saw
trying to look inconspicuous for once.

But me. I was adding my voice
To those of the hundreds – 
or was it thousands of restless,
jubilant people who clearly thought
they had found the Messiah.

Then the procession had to narrow
To get through the gate
so I could gradually see
some throwing coats down for him
with others tearing down palm branches
like a carpet.

Then suddenly I could see the Leader,
The one 
who was going to make Israel great again.

Then, then, 
I could hardly believe my eyes.
This man, this great Leader,
This Messiah
Was riding 
A donkey!

A donkey, I ask you
What was that all about?
It stopped my ‘Hosannas’ dead in their tracks.
This is NOT someone 
who is about to send the Romans packing!

Oh! The disappointment of it!
Oh! The anti climax – the let-down.

How could I have been so beguiled?
I’m so angry with myself,
With the crowd-
But most of all with HIM.
HIM on a donkey – a donkey – a donkey
That’s what he has made of me.
I hate him
Even if others are going along with him:
I can’t imagine why.

I got away just as soon as I could.

If this helped to think about the change from ‘Hosanna’ to ‘Crucify’, you might also like to look at A Temple Trader’s Rant where there is a further link to ‘A Temple Trader’s Glee'

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe
It is currently thought that the Universe has at least 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars! Hence the use of the word ‘scintilla’ for a mere ten thousand billion.

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)
Cross and Particle Accelerator. The words of 'A Prayer for Understanding' can be viewed by clicking on this image

Nebula (Embroidery)

Nebula (Embroidery)
Nebula (Embroidery) to accompany the poem 'Invitation' which can be found by clicking on the image.

Nativity Star (CGI)

Nativity Star (CGI)
Nativity Star: This image will link you to the collection of new Carols on this site. Also, the image can easily be copied onto an overhead acetate and used as a window decoration. Easy for children to achieve. Note the cross at the centre of the star.

Orange Galaxy

Orange Galaxy
'Orange Galaxy' posted to accompany 'Bounded and Boundless'. Go to the poem by clicking on the image.

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth
Cosmic Ikon 8: Moth Nebula(imagined-acrylic) The Gold field of deep space is intended to convey the Lordship of Christ over the whole of the Cosmos

Surprise garden rose (Photo)

Surprise garden rose (Photo)
This beautiful head of roses in our garden, which are giving off a delightful perfume in the morning sun, seems a fitting picture to link to the sonnet 'Evolution and Beauty'. Let the picture take you there. It is a surprise because it is growing high on a bush of otherwise pure yellow roses: amazing!

Cross and Vortex

Cross and Vortex
'Cross and Vortex' to accompany 'Stars and Planets Sing Your Glory'. Click on the image to go to the poem/hymn.

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)
Gaseous Cosmic Threads: Mixed media - acrylics and painted threads

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)
Warm Umbrian Hills: Click image to take you to the poem St Francis' Sky

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower
Cosmic Icon 7 - Summerflower Nebula (Acrylic)

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)
'Cosmic Labyrinth' - This icon is a symbol of the path through the near reaches of the Cosmos with its 'Havens' where current advances in science (2012/13) are celebrated. By clicking on the picture you will be taken to the latest version of the poem of the same name.

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)
Time, perhaps to consider a restorative break before the approach of Advent/ Christmas. Let this image take you to 'On Drawing Apart'.

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)
On the South shore of Iona is a bay which shows the industrial scarring of a beautiful place. Read of it by clicking on the picture

Butterfly Nebula (CGI)

Butterfly Nebula (CGI)
The Imaginary Butterfly Nebula . Anything like this would be a real Curiosity! The image will link you to the reflection titled 'Curiosity' which is actually a celebration of the achievement of landing the Mars Rover of that name

Celtic cross candle (Photo)

Celtic cross candle (Photo)
Celtic Cross and candle' linked to the poem 'Awesome, Wonderful Creator'. Go to the poem by clicking on the image.

Light of the World amidst stars (CGI)

Light of the World amidst stars (CGI)
'Light of the world' posted to accompany 'To Light'. Find the poem by clicking on the image.

Iona from Fionnphort (Watercolour)

Iona from Fionnphort (Watercolour)
Iona from Fionnphort. At this point of the Isle of Mull, the end of a pilgrimage or trip to Iona is in sight. Click on this picture to take you to the poem 'IONA - The Pilgrim Way'

Calvary - Lifeblood of the Cosmos

Calvary - Lifeblood of the Cosmos
Calvary - Lifeblood of the Cosmos

My Mesh Mask for Radiotherapy

My Mesh Mask for Radiotherapy
This is the mask which was moulded to my face to ensure the radiotherapy I had in April 2017 was precisely targeted. You can read more by clicking on the image

Double Celebration

Double Celebration
Pam, who has been magnificent in caring for me since my Cancer diagnosis in October and I celebrate the end of Radiotherapy and our 36th Wedding Anniversary (Note the return of some hair!). Click on the image to read about the treatment - and waiting.

St Neots Sunset (Photo)

St Neots Sunset (Photo)
Surrounded by beauty: Whie 'Evolution and Beauty' became one of the most viewed poems on this blog, Pam, my wife took this gorgeous picture of a sunset over the flatlands of Cambridgeshire UK. Click on it to go to the poem

Gabriel - written/painted by Pam, my wife in 2015

Gabriel - written/painted by Pam, my wife in 2015
Gabriel began the Christmas story with his visit to Mary. The story is told in our Christmas collection in the Carol, Go to Nazareth My Great Messenger. Click on this image to take you there.

Maple Leaf Nebula (CGI)

Maple Leaf Nebula (CGI)
IMAGINARY IMAGE TO CELEBRATE CANADA DAY: Click on this his imaginary 'Maple Leaf Nebula' to take you to a poem entitled 'Nebula' (image not to be confused with NGC 2024, the Flame Nebula which is also known as the Maple Leaf)

Beauty in the Garden - June 2016

Beauty in the Garden - June 2016
Beauty in the Garden - June 2016

Aurora Imagined over Iona (Watercolour & pastel)

Aurora Imagined over Iona (Watercolour & pastel)
First posted here on Adomnan’s day (23rd September) 2015. An imagined natural phenomenom that could be seen to resonate mystically with the idea of Iona being a ‘thin place’ where heaven brushes earth.

Assisi Sunset

Assisi Sunset
Assisi Sunset

Thinking about the Brain

Thinking about the Brain
This image is formed from a small section of neural pathways posted by the Koch Institute, clipped, part inverted and stitched together. It is intended to impart a sense of our extensive, but still partial understanding of what goes on in that awesome part of our bodies, our brains. By clicking on the image, you will be taken to a celebratory poem/song ‘For Amazement by Beauty’ about all of our senses.

Source (CGI by Trevor Thorn)

Source (CGI by Trevor Thorn)
Source: Expand the image to reveal its heart

Good Friday Cross (CGI)

Good Friday Cross (CGI)
Let this image take you to 'O Dare I Gaze Upon The Cross'

Rainbow spiral (CGI)

Rainbow spiral (CGI)
'Rainbow Spiral' to accompany 'Darkness,Illuminator' . Find the poem by clicking on the iImagined mage

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)
Cross and simple prayer rope: make one like this to use as an aid to using ‘The Jesus Prayer'