poetry

A Creed for Australia / Bruce Prewer

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A creed for Australia
We believe that this ancient land
with its unique creatures
is a precious gift from a loving God
whose mercy is over all creation.

We believe in God’s care for the people who treasured it
through un-numbered generations;
the One who grieves in their suffering
and rejoices in every noble aspiration.

We believe in God’s compassion
for the patchwork of refugees
who for two hundred years have come to this continent
looking for a place to call their home.

We believe in God’s steadfast love
for this nation and all its children;
that he is creating a new people from many races,
colours and gifts, to fulfil a high destiny.

We believe that the best way forward
is the way revealed by Christ of faith, hope and love,
where no needy person is neglected
and no bidding of the Spirit ignored.

(Source: Bruce D. Prewer) / http://pilgrimwr.unitingchurch.org.au/?p=298

Photos: D. Burns/S. Burns. Hampton, Black Rock, Kincumber, Vic.

Photos: D. Burns/S. Burns. Hampton, Black Rock, Kincumber, Vic.

A Game of Poker

Please find below the final poem from An Awful Rowing Toward God by Anne Sexton (1928-1974).

Sexton spoke of writing the book in just twenty days--and "with two days out for despair and three days out in a mental hospital"--and went home from a meeting about the proofs of the book to lock herself in the garage and start up a car, dying of carbon monoxide poisoning.

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THE ROWING ENDETH

I’m mooring my rowboat
at the dock of the island called God.
This dock is made in the shape of a fish
and there are many boats moored
at  many different docks.
“It’s okay.” I say to myself,
with blisters that broke and healed
and broke and healed–
saving themselves over and over.
And salt sticking to my face and arms like
a glue-skin pocked with grains of tapioca.
I empty myself from my wooden boat
and onto the flesh of The Island.

“On with it!” He says and thus
we squat on the rocks by the sea
and play—can it be true–
a game of poker.
He calls me.
I win because I hold a royal straight flush.
He wins because He holds five aces,
A wild card had been announced
but I had not heard it
being in such a state of awe
when He took out the cards and dealt.
As he plunks down His five aces
and I am still grinning at my royal flush,
He starts to laugh,
and laughter rolling like a hoop out of His mouth
and into mine,
and such laughter that He doubles right over me
laughing a Rejoice-Chorus at our two triumphs.
Then I laugh, the fishy dock laughs
the sea laughs. The Island laughs.
The Absurd laughs.

Dearest dealer,
I with my royal straight flush,
love you so for your wild card,
that untamable, eternal, gut-driven ha-ha
and lucky love.

--Anne Sexton, That Awful Rowing Toward God (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Publishing, 1975). 

I first encountered this poem at the funeral of the extraordinary Patricia Brennan, where this text was read alongside John Donne's Batter My Heart.

Images from here and there.

Parched

The parched know --

real thirst
draws rainwater
from an empty sky.

- by Ivan M. Granger

photo by Catherine Schieve - Tipperary Spring in the canyons near Daylesford, Victoria Australia

photo by Catherine Schieve - Tipperary Spring in the canyons near Daylesford, Victoria Australia

Ivan Granger is a Poet of the Hindu Advaita (non-Dualist) tradition. He lives in Colorado. Here is a link to his book “Real Thirst

He writes: “Poetry induces trance. Its words are chant. Its rhythms are drumbeats. Its images become the icons of the inner eye.”

The poems in Real Thirst are an exploration of the spiritual journey viewed through the mystic's eyes. This collection is a delightful blend of word and silence, presenting moments of contemplation punctuated with bursts of ecstatic insight. Real Thirst combines original poems by Ivan M. Granger with new translations of works by visionaries from both East and West: John of the Cross, Francis of Assisi, Symeon the New Theologian, Hakim Sanai, Tukaram, Sarmad, Bulleh Shah, Sachal Sarmast, Vladimir Solovyov, Tulsi Sahib, and Antonio Machado. 

Ivan Granger is the founder of the website http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com; a tremendous resource for sacred poetry.