Wednesday, 27 March 2013

"Now Barabbas..."

Now Barabbas was a robber,
   A cheat and killer too;
For thirty bits of silver
   He’d slit you through and through.

He skulked in gloomy alleys
   To evangelise the rich;
His gospel was the dagger,
   His covenant the snitch.

He hung around the backdoors
   When the labourers came home;
He had no pity on a flabby purse
   Nor a frightened moan.

He didn’t attend to the widow,
   He didn’t cough up for the poor;
He strolled along the High Street
   Scattering cheques in every door.

He wasn’t a marvellous husband
   Nor a father with many ideas;
He squandered every bit of love
   And quickly ran up arrears.

He ignored the higher learning,
   What priests and sages see,
But always boasted in the pub
   That the truth had set him free:

That the mob had chosen him squarely,
   That Pilate had acquiesced;
That the soldiers had shoved him out on the street –
   Who cared about the rest?

What obligation should he feel,
   What urge to make amend?
Be careful how you answer
   For you are Barabbas, my friend.

Yes you are Barabbas, the drunken-eyed,
   Telling your story through,
And I, your fuddled drinking partner –
   I am Barabbas too.

© December 1979

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Mattins and Evensong

In the morning I sought my God.
The mist-cry of the thrush and starling
Was an invitation to persist.
The green bush rustled,
Beginning to flame in the autumn air.
Prayer sank and rose in whispers
In the oaken hush of the church.
In the morning I sought my God.

In the evening I found my God.
The green bush crackled
With invisible flame in the smoky twilight.
The purity of a surplice moved through the church.
Prayer and the heart debated,
But the sufficiency of hands
Was about me.
In the evening I found my God.

© October 1979