Savour

 

moon and stars
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As I drove into my driveway last night, I caught a glimpse of it.

 

It had been a colder night and so I was eager to get into the warmth of the house but in a split second, I decided.

I decided to savour.

To stop and breathe deep.

Dropping the unnecessary burden of my handbag and opening the back door to the relative safety of my fenced in garden,

I looked up.

And what a sight!

A lavish scattering of star dust to my small eye, and yet, up close, huge burning balls of gas!

Thankful for the thick coat and deep hood, while wrapped up in a scarf as big as a blanket, I inhaled the deliciously cold air and wondered at the cloudless canvas before me.

Orion with his belt and bow

Aries and Leo

And then my eyes captured the brightest star I’d ever seen…

Gleaming down on me.

Nearby, my neighbour opened his window for his evening smoke.

He saw me wonder at the dark but I kept looking up and doing dot to dot!

The moon shone in its half hearted smile and, honestly.. I felt alive!

Battling the contradictory-

The vast and the small

The Creator and the created

The Far away yet intimate,

I refused to go inside.

Waiting in the stillness of the night, my neighbour in the shadows and I in the night light.

He went inside.

The wind picked up and I turned to shelter myself.

Still again.

Hearing a whisper that warmed my heart,

I lifted my eyes one last time

and reluctantly…

went inside.

 

Button Pressing

 

black microsoft xbox game controller
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Button Pressing 

Last year, I noticed that there are

buttons that are pressed

More often than not at times when I am Stressed…
Busy…
Distracted…
Retracting from the Truth.

For me the buttons that I hear click down the most

Are that of fear
And pride.

Seemingly contradictory, they are actually the same.
They boast.

One quietly
By merely avoiding the help of Another while hiding
The other
Openly says it…

Meanwhile, the enemy stands back and chuckles in the shadows looking for the next hit.

Lust and vanity are two such places
He has been known to trip me up.

And in these cases
I think I’m learning.

Learning to listen to the still small voice
Who moves
Around these choices and whispers

“I love you”

Through the wind

“…he’s pressing your buttons
– don’t let him!”

©E. Henry, 2019.

What are your buttons?

Need some help with them this year? 

Tuning in

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Tuning In

Radio usually annoys the life out of me.

They cut off the songs somewhat prematurely..

They chat about traffic, quizzes,the weather

Wondering who will sound most clever…

Just let the Artist sing His song!

Like in heaven.

The radio waves in the upper room

Traverse sweetly through

The dark and gloom of our lives and point to higher things.

They ruminate and always cut through the dull thoughts about traffic, quizzes, the weather, the next door envies to try to do better, family feuds and work trouble and trying to keep your head above water…

The list goes on and on

Come the radio waves of heaven.

They go deeper and lift us higher to praise

To the One who sings and is sung to.

© E. Henry, 2018.

The Breaking Bread

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‘God works in mysterious ways’ is a common saying. And don’t I know it!

Earlier this year, I was asked to have a go at writing a poem about the plight of Nigerian widows. This totally baffled me as I’d never even been to the country and knew very little about it.

Having researched and also read a number of women’s stories, I attempted to fulfill that ask. The following poem is the result.

The incredible thing is that God has just brought me back from a visit to that beautiful, hurting country and I was able to share my poem with Jocelyn (below left with Sasa) who runs a ministry with 43 of the country’s many widows.

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She and her team do an amazing work, creating beautiful colourful pieces in a community of love and acceptance. Many of these women have been widowed due to the ongoing conflicts within the country and this poem attempts to reflects their pain.

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To me they are as Christ. They have suffered and have been broken..the breaking bread. Yet his brokenness was to bring them healing and restoration.

  “… that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said,

“Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” ” (1 Cor. 11:24)

The Breaking Bread:

My little one cries, amidst the mob of runaways.

We have left everything behind in a bid to save the most precious things.

Yet we have lost

Such great cost

to escape the enemy’s wrath.

They come with fire and holler obscenities

They throw a flame, a light, a punch, a name

They shoot with arrows, with guns

They make us fear, they make us run.

They took our confidence, our home, our joy

They took our girls, they took our boys.

They took my husband. I saw him fall

Right in front of our kitchen wall.

They took him away yet left him there

They took him away with tasteless air.

They are not alone in their abandonment,

Others have joined in what it has meant

To be rejected

His family too have turned their backs

They want the house, but not my lack.

They want to benefit but not to meet the need that’s left…

Me. Them. Us. You.

We’re on the move. On the run.

Helplessly running from the gun and fire.

We are in dire straights.

We are without. We are wounded.

Dead on our feet.

It goes so deep.

We are ready to break.

We are the breaking bread.

 

©E. Henry, 2018.

Poppies: a lesson

nature

Poppies

You never really just see one poppy by itself.

It is normally clustered together with others

Whatever the weather.

So it was then.

Even when one fell on those desolate plains, feeling very much alone and afraid they died together, they tried together

Yes they lived together,

They fought together and died together on these desolate plains.

Their blood stained uniforms, their wounded flesh, their hearts overwhelmed by the depravity of death.

Yes, they lived together, they fought together

One. By. One.

They fell.

The sons. The boys. The men.

Not toy soldiers

But real men with flesh and bone

Yes they died together, laid in stone

for us

to live together … In peace.

Remember?

© E. Henry, 2018.

There have been many poems written about the Great World War and subsequent wars. Many, such as Wilfred Owen, spoke of real men and women with flesh and blood. He was one of the main reasons I became a poet – I wanted to write of reality (even grim reality) in a way that spoke compassionately.

In writing this poem, I couldn’t help but feel like… Why are we still making the same mistakes? Why are governments in various lands making choices that bring immense suffering to their people? Why are there millions living and dying for the chance to live in peace?

Christians have been given a ministry of reconciliation.

How are we doing with that?

Rain is next

 

selective focus of cow photo
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It rains a lot here in Northern Ireland. So it does (wee Northern Irish phrase!)

We are pretty well known for it. To the point that we see it as a negative thing.

Now don’t get me wrong.

I love the sun. I miss the sun most of the time.

But we need the rain too.

In this transition stage of my life, I sense there will be rain…spiritual rain as well as literal!

I wonder what that will look like?!

What’s next for you?

 

Rain is next

There’s been breaking up the ground,
tilling the ground and tilling the ground some more
Filling it up with seeds and now we’ll see what’s in store…
Yes,
Rain is next.
Copyright E. Henry, 2018.

Felling the forest

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Just in time for the end of National Poetry Day! (Thanks for the reminder, Andrew!)

OK, so I do want to make it very clear …

I am ABSOLUTELY against deforestation!

 

But this poem is just a picture to help me understand what Jesus has done for me… A picture of the soul.

This was written at my week away in Wales at The National Writing Centre there. A great week, with great people and great food!

Felling the forest

This is a strange thing yet in some way, like a thin thread, it points me to You.
We are all here to write and it seems we are grappling at straws
to find answers to the laws
of our nature.
We do not want to see our flaws
or maybe we see them all too well and want to fell them
like a tree
that falls
in a distant forest.
The problem is that very thing-
it is a forest of trees,
a forest of flaws
that seem to rise up again and again. Outsmarting us and reaching up so they can grow deep.

What can be done?

I could do the hard graft again and again I’d find another tree to make a mess or I could let them grow… To grow so high and deep that the light itself is blocked out.

The soil gives way and the trees are stirred and gradually they fall with a word.

A garden begins to appear.

Not a sound has come from my mouth but rather it is the utterance of the One who speaks and
It is so.

And what is this word He shows?

It is Love.

© E. Henry, 2018