Thursday, December 28, 2006

A poem for Epiphany

I wrote the following poem on the Feast of the Epiphany, 2000. It appears in the collection "Ridgewalk", but I reproduce it here as a result of reflecting on Christmas without Christ - which is the celebration I see all around, laced with a kind of desperation.


Two thousand years after the
star's silent summons
light from the stable still
burns momentarily; the
impermanent Magi still
make their improbable journey.
Perched on the lip
of another era, we
strain to feel the faint
warmth of faith,
kissing the wind of
love's passing, yearning
from our pulsating circuits for
the connection to hold.
And as the moment passes
we look ahead, not at
light's comfort but at the
stark shadow on the hill.

Friday, December 22, 2006

New Poem


The night we invaded the gallery
it rained and the snell wind
clawed through your clothes
and it wasn’t really night –
just late. ‘We close in
twenty minutes,’ said the man
and we chorused, variously,
‘We know’ ‘We’ve come to see
the Botticelli’ – as if he’d
painted only one – and then
we pounded up the spiral stair
under the glooming busts
and burst into the empty room.
And there she glowed
from a wall on our right
the pale face surrounded by
transparencies of flower
in pink. Floating. And we
stopped. The face was one
you might see reading on a bus -
not archaic or distant but
concerned, as if remembering
as she gazed, not at the child
but over, round and through.

Remembering or looking to
the piercing both of hands and soul?
Or was she seeing inwardly
the flaming eyes that greeted her
as problematically blessed
and hearing as she knelt to pray
the distant sound of snowy wings?
We stared in quiet until the room
was filled with unseen Gabriels
and then we heard approach not wings
but ordinary feet -‘It’s time’-
and smiled at this young messenger
and drifted into the wild rain
under a sky whose stars were dimmed
as lights and tinsel took their place.

© C.M.M. 12/06

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Advent Song


Look, God, look
in the vastness of your dark
hear this song
in the chorus of the world
where I sing
for the glory of your coming
held by love
as the music pours from me
a flame within
as the night falls around me
hear my prayer
and come through the darkness
hold me waiting
as you wait to be born.

© C.M.M.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The irrational season

This is the irrational season
when love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
there'd have been no room for the child.

- Madeleine L'Engle

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Winter Song

In winter dark, the western dark
where lights glow small and waiting hearts
feel grow again the aching hope
that Christ will come, will come to them,
the winds of heaven cut to the bone,
the time-shaved bone in long night’s sleep.
But here the Christ-child still may seem
to come in love to frozen souls,
the warmth of flame to lone hearth-stone
and hope among the lingering husks
of leaves that cling on tortured trees
to whisper that the time is near.
The shadows dance, the candles flare.
We wait in quiet beneath the storm –
our Lord will come, the child be born.

© C.M.M. Advent06

Friday, November 24, 2006


Looking south
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
God of the grey sea
God of the mourning wind
God of the bleak northern sky
Give me your fire to warm my cold thoughts
Your light to bear in the face of fear
Your warmth to hold close to my trembling
Your companionship on the lonely path
And at the end the brightness of the open door
And the joy of a long-awaited greeting.


© C.M.M.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Heard melodies are sweet ....

A poem arising from listening to Liszt's organ piece "Ave Maria by Arcadelt". For me, this piece is associated with Christmas, and the allusions are to that time of year.


The days that followed your quiet end
were filled with bright, hard-shadowed light
and cold cut drily to the bones
and froze the tears as yet unwept.
The world seemed lit as if a stage
which you had left, your part discharged,
and music played like distant bells
heard on the road beneath the stars.
Was it to set the music free
you turned away from struggle then?
For if you chose the path you took
you left this lightness like a gift
with which we joined the search of those
who brought the myrrh, and bring it still.

© C.M.M. 10/06

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Stabat mater dolorosa

Stabat mater dolorosa
iuxta Cruxem lacrimosa,
dum pendebat Filius.

Singing these words to Pergolesi's music this evening, I thought of all the mothers, their heads covered, weeping over their dead children in the lands of the Middle East. The words are so charged for Christians with the weight of Good Friday, but as the music lamented with the woman who had to watch her son die I could feel also the pain of those other, helpless, weeping women. We sing; they mourn. God is crucified daily, and we stand and watch.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Remembering in Beta

Ok, so this is what happens when you switch. It's ok. I rather like this template too. I thought I might start posting the odd poem here, just to see how it goes. If anyone visits, I'd be glad to hear from you!

This poem was written at this time of year, but a few years ago. George died not long after taking part in the TV programme on which I saw him. Count this as my poppy for this year.


The strong young face is yet
Visible, hardly blurred by
The eighty-year journey from
Passchendaele. Inane questions seem
Impertinent, but age has brought patience.
‘I were a strappin’ lad.’
And this self-knowledge had
Catapulted him into
Hell. Stripped of friends by
Hot shards of death he has
Persisted through three more generations.
Now a little child shall
Lead him through the neat
City of the dead to meet again
A friend still young.
Dear God, when the end
Comes quietly, how will he explain?

© C.M.M. 12/11/98

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

New beginnings

This is a test posting to explore the possibilities of Blogger Beta - if I can ever find how to switch. I didn't want to risk doing it with blethers till I saw what happened. At the moment this box has come up without a space for a title - very odd.