Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dark Waiting

Dying light
Originally uploaded by goforchris
This poem was commissioned for the Advent issue of Inspires magazine. As the magazine is now out, with the poem very handsomely presented, I feel free to share it here: the first poem I've ever written to order. I'm grateful for the stimulus - I thought I might have written all the Advent poems I was going to.

As the months slide towards
the winter dark, the first pang
of longing stirs, like the
quickening of the unborn child –
the sudden recognition, yet again,
of waiting and of need.

This deep-felt urge was surely felt
each winter, on the darkest fringe
where small fires flickered in the gloom
and men looked east, towards the rim
where every morning brought the sun
a little fainter, lower, cold –
and now we wait another dawn,
a birth of hope and love and trust.
And do we long to see the Son,
or long for longing, long to kiss
the wind of love, its passing felt
by all who light their candles here?
The child stirs in the womb of dark.
We stretch our hands in hope, and wait.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Advent Child: for Anna

Originally uploaded by Mac44
She came with the first snow,
the Advent child, a small, crumpled flower
opening beneath the hard stars.
The tiny clever hand has minute nails
and closes warm around my soul.
The dark eyes seem serene and filled
with unborn wisdom far beyond
the knowledge born of age.
My world contracts to hold this
shining moment in a timeless breath
as the snow falls and the world stops
and all the Advent waiting seems to end
in this new child, this vulnerable love
melting the frozen darkness
from the winter of my heart.

© C.M.M. 12/10

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Ben Donich

Each climb to the high places brings

a question: will I come again?

The wind blows, the crow swoops by

on silent wings, upcurved and still

on the flying air, and I no longer

earthbound feel the soaring

and wonder when the flight will end.

The spacious air mocks this

introspection, calls me to

the briefly precious moment

on this thin-earthed crag

where the rock glints hard in the

noonday sun and the fool’s gold

shines at my fingertips

and the downward path curves

into the purple afternoon.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cowal Games: Midnight

Along the crescent, in the middle of the night,

a hooded figure minces, its tight step

in bondage to its low-slung jeans. It looks along

its shoulder at the road, and then I see

the green glow from the mobile phone

held like a talisman against the dark –

against the loneliness of being young

as other figures seem to taunt

by being three instead of one.

And hidden at the window I observe

this interplay of darkness and of threat

as distant voices call and jeer

and music snatches at the air

in this, the hour of midnight lives

before the silence of the dawn.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Morgan in school

I wrote this ten years ago, the last time Edwin Morgan visited Dunoon Grammar School. Someone else sent the poem to him, and he replied: "I was touched by her words. I promise to 'speak for us still' as long as I am able!"
And he did.

Your words fall quieter now,
Poet, sometimes submerged in
The hornet hum that is
Technology's voice. Older, you yet
Play young men's games with
Joyous random images from
Mercury to Maryhill.
I see you a small, valiant
Bird-figure in canary yellow,
Quick light movements underpinning
Words as fluent as a song.
The circle of young faces,
Sunflowers in rapt attendance,
Bear witness to your potent
Weaving of wisdom with youth's vigour.
Speak for us still, poet, lest
The tide of dumbness sweep over our
Inarticulate longings, and we drown.

©C.M.M. 11/00

Thursday, July 08, 2010


This poem is the child of the previous post - a development rooted in the same experience.

The wind chases bright fractured
gleams over the grey sea,
the tree-dark green
of the encircling hill -
tosses the petals with small regard
for their fragile beauty.
The sun comes only in
short bursts punctuating
the fat grey of the clouds
gestating tirelessly above my head.

In such a way it too comes -
I cannot call it He, this vastness
with its divine connotations
randomly and so seldom here.
But were it summer heat
always, without the aching
chill of clouded skies,
would I ever know the
sudden searing joy
of unexpected warmth?


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Morning, July

After the night of wind and rain
I went out into the startled garden
where the white blossom littered
the ground beneath the scented bush
and shreds of tree lay torn on the ruffled
grass. From a tall chimney a gull
wailed in some unknown grief
and magpies bickered in the holly tree
brittle among the pruned crown's thorns.

No warmth to still the restless mind
or please with easy mindless toil
of pruning, cutting, lifting weeds -
no. This is where we live our days
as light flies over restless sea
and lights on us so fleetingly
that joy results, and glows within -
so come, then, wind, into my soul
and startle me with transience.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Baby Brother

Originally uploaded by Mrs Tosh
on the birth of James

Child, you too were this mystery,
this new face shaped and moulded by
its journey into this world’s light,
those dark eyes tightly closed against
the brightness and the gaze of love,
this impassivity of sleep.
Look on the unknown face and know
how passing months will soon reveal
the wants, the tears, the laughter and the love,
the child unfolding like a flower,
the mystery dispelled.

Look, child, look – oh, look at him
and smile, and know the rush of love
for this small stranger in your life –
a new soul born into the world.

C.M.M. 26 May 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Touching the past

Ring of Brodgar
Originally uploaded by goforchris
One of the most powerful impressions left by a recent trip to Orkney is the link with a distant past - more distant even than the building of the Pyramids.

Come with me, come to where
the stone circle reaches
to the sunset sky;
come over the cropped grass
where the wind bites at your face.
Come with me to the mound where
the dead are piled
in rickled heaps
of bones picked clean as air
buried with the sky’s claws
their spirits long-flown
beyond the sea-eagles’ soar.
Come with me, oh come.
The anxious birds still call and wheel above
the long-cold hearths,
the sea still seethes and foams below
the cliffs of plated stone.
The past is close – see:
touch it, and know.


Friday, April 02, 2010

Prayer for Good Friday

Station of the Cross
Originally uploaded by goforchris
In the solemn quiet
in the emptiness of soul
in the silencing of love
in the darkness of loss
come to us, God,
with the steady faith
that you are there
that your power is at work
that the light will come again
that your Son will come to us
in the joy of the Resurrection
and the promise of eternal life
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Iona Stones

This prayer/poem came as the result of a short stay on Iona, when I did indeed hurl a symbolic stone into the sea at the start of Lent.

Two pebbles in my cold hand
close-nestled in symbolic weight,
one mottled red, resentment red,
the other green and cool as is
the light of God.
The red is gone now to the cleansing sea;
the green held close in hope of what might be.
God grant that rush of light again
and drown my soul in your green tide -
the tide of God.

©C.M.M. Iona, 02/10

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The desert

Thorn bush
Originally uploaded by goforchris
How easy, then, to have belief
when travelling by sight -
when stars are bright, are gleaming hard,
the sky as black as it should be
the road an afterthought.

How simple when the fire is warm
to bear the winter's chill -
to feel that fierce suffusing fire
consuming doubt and passing years
as dry things in its path.

I feel the road. Its stony way
is treacherous beneath my feet.
The boredom aches - but if I look
around I see the other grey
and lonely souls whose journey takes
the same lost path as mine.

If I could stop for precious time
to wait and feel and know,
out of the dark surrounding me
the pressure of that unseen light
might come again - might flood the soul -
come, Lord. Come soon. Come now.