Easter is as Christmas to me now.
I remember, with a half-sad smile,
How once it was: to live
Another life.

Yes! Yes. I shall stand before the fire
And sing of god-dead and hope-failed
Then, again, in wonder

Shout the Exaltat: that
Great and ancient hymn and,
Know, yes, KNOW

That beneath my new-born wariness,
Someone stirs, and calls:

“Arise, my darling,
My beautiful one,
Come with me.

See! The winter is past; the rains
Are over and gone.

Flowers appear on the earth: the
Season of singing has come.”

Easter is paradox to me. I have a belief in Presence that is so deep, that it cannot be touched. Though no longer conventionally religious, I will take part in the great Vigil of Easter, and be blessed. The quote at the end of this poem is from the wonderful Song of Songs.

Confessions Of A Tea Lady

Is everything in place? I survey the Tea Table with a critical eye:

Urn: full and switched on. Check.
Tea, coffee, juice: All present and correct.
Mugs, milk, sugar, juice cups: OK

We’re ready for the off. Some Mondays a vital element is missed, and chaos ensues when our people roll in. The importance of getting everything just so, cannot be understated. The Tea Table is the first port of call. The ‘meet and greet’ of the Salvation Army Monday Lunch. Volunteer Meryl offers to help. She’s good, but unfocussed; regarding the Tea Table as a stepping stone to the job she’s really on fire for, chatting to the clients. Me, I’m in my element. Smiling and saying hello is a particular strength of mine and I play up to it. I am glad of Meryl’s help with the initial rush: she wields the teapot whilst I serve the coffe and oversee juice distribution.

We are going to serve sixty or more lunches today. I see that we have three new faces, I make a mental note to follow up on the hello when things quieten down a bit.

Johan takes two coffees for himself and Cordelia. I slip him a lawyers business card. Cordelia has an injury acquired at the chicken processing factory and can no longer work. They sleep in a car.

Andrew takes his tea black. He’s a retired librarian and a polyglot. He once taught me to say hello in Serbo-Croat, but I have long forgotten how. He’s Jewish, and very accommodating to we Christians. He knows the Law and The Prophets far better than we do, and loves an argument.

Dave’s in today. Haven’t seen him for weeks. He’s lost four and a half stone. He looks brighter, having just had his benefits reinstated. An official at the Job Centre sanctioned him( ie stopped his money) for non- attendance at a scheduled appointment that he hadn’t attended because she’s omitted to notify him about it Her superior eventually overrulled her. “You were lucky this time,” the unrepentant official told Dave.

Dave lost weight because he couldn’t afford to eat. “I’ll come with you next time.” I promise.

Alex appears and offers to serve drinks whilst I move round the tables and chat.

Chris is looking rough. He’s South African, a Catholic: former seminarian. I don’t ask why he never became a priest. I discover he is a member of Opus Dei “Do you know about it?” He asks. “Only from Dan Brown!” I laugh. Andy hears him say that he has no money, and having been in that situation himself, he butts in on the conversation and tells him where to get vouchers for the Food Bank.

Welfare Officer at the Council Offices. I’m grateful to Andy. I’m often asked and usually refer people to , “Help The Aged”, because that’s where my brother got his vouchers when he needed them. Chris isn’t old enough.

I have a stack of books for Brian who now has his driver’s license and is looking SO much better now that he’s receiving treament for PTSD. He opens the bag and rummages with genuine delight. ‘Just what I wanted!” He exclaims at Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’. I knew that, and having never more than glanced at it, was happy to hand it over. I hope, with all my heart, the more fundamentalist of the helpers didn’t spot it! We Catholics have no problem with Darwin, or any human attempt to fathom the miracle of Creation. I gave him “99 Things To Do Between Here and Heaven” too, having reasoned that I’ve done all the ones I want to (including starting this blog) and there’s a spiritual reflection on each, that will lead Brian a little deeper, if he so wishes.

I’m called over by Karen and Anthony to sort out a problem. My very favourite occupation, truth be told. “What’s the difference between a Catholic and a Christian?” They want to know. Anthony’s RC, Karen’s C of E, and they are planning to marry in Church. Somewhere.

I throw myself eagerly into the fray. It’s a useful discussion that involves everyone on the table. I was expecting hostility, but discover none. “Marry in the RC Church, and the Anglicans will bless it. That’s how my daughter and son-in-law managed it. And you, young man,” I wave my finger in mock-menace at Anthony, “Had better get yourself off to Mass and book the Church!” Everyone laughs.

“Look,” I finish, “We volunteers are from many Christain denominations. We’re here to do the job Christ left us to do. What’s important is this coming together, all of us, and sharing the love of God.”

Brian asks where I go to church, “Newent.”I reply, “But if youre looking for somewhere, you couldn’t do better than here.”

God Bless the Salvation Army.

PS: All that I know of Opus Dei may be found here:



Quest… !






Our optional prompt for today is to write a poem that contains at least one kenning. Kennings were metaphorical phrases developed in Nordic sagas. At their simplest, they generally consist of two nouns joined together, which imaginatively describe or name a third thing.

Mary had a little wool-bearer
It’s hair-wrap was white as snow
And everywhere that Mary went
The hill-roamer was sure to go!

The King Sleeps

The King Sleeps

I will mine the agony of my God with a pick and a lamp.
I will hew the stones and teach them to cry ‘Hosanna!’
I will fashion a tomb to bloom in a garden
I will fracture the face of Israel with a blow
That will become an earthquake
To awaken the dead.

I will set my lamp beneath a splintered tree
I will close my ears against the forsaken cries of the Holy One
I will seal my mouth against the acrid taste of blood
I will shut my eyes to hide the corpse that hangs above me.
His eyes, not -closed. His body, not-clothed.


It’s over. God -
Adored, outpoured – passes over.
Numbed, beyond fear, I whisper a lullaby into the dark:
‘Be still. Be still.
Night dawns.
Death dies -

The King sleeps.’

Today, Palm Sunday, is a solemn day in the Christian liturgical calendar, as the entire record of Christ’s Passion is read during the celebration of the Mass. I wrote this poem for this day, the beginning of Holy Week. It draws on an ancient tradition that between Good Friday and Easter Day, The Christ slept in his tomb.


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