Wednesday, 12 December 2012

"When Christ Calls to the Cracking Heart..."

When Christ calls to the cracking heart
And squeezes out its human woe
Into a tear of ice in the wind;
And the wintry suburban station,
Crouching on a black embankment,
Mourns for the extinguishing lights
Of the time-kept city below –
There is a footprint in the snow.

When I wander through the unswept streets
With a pocketful of handbills and sweet-wrappers;
When the political cries and pleasure cries
Die vainly on the night –
I wake in a holly-dark wood
With the wind’s razor across my cheek,
The city become a pile of stones –
There is a footprint in the snow.

When I stand in the crematorium garden,
Counting the names on rose trees,
Disturbing the iron earth with my foot;
When I consider the passing of seconds,
Feeling the crease spread in my skin,
And the stain blacken my eye;
When my hand forms questions in the freezing air –
There is a footprint in the snow.

The field-worm pushed a grain to the crib,
Its winter store and offering;
The Christ-child smiled and touched its head
Sharing His brilliance with the glow-worm;
I would warm myself at the glow of winter berries,
And think on the candle flickering in a twilit transept;
O, may the stranger turn in the door –
Footprints and footprints in the snow.

© September 1979

"A Siren Calling in the Night..."

A siren calling in the night,
A sniper’s gun along a sill,
A man convinced that he is right,
Prepared to wait and then to kill.

Who first denounced the middle way,
Appealing to a bunch of facts,
And now will not be seen by day
But in the dark does righteous acts?

© December 1980