Easter Day

Easter

Rainbow Cross

Suffocating night 
smothering, 
obliterating
the broken bloody body 
hammered hard, 
staining scarlet 
that cross 
of rough-cut wood

and thunder crashed 
the doom of death.

Then darkness fractured, 
light splintered, 
fragments of colour 
shot out into the brilliance 
of a multi-coloured Easter morning 
in a green garden.

And an empty cross 
rainbow-wrapped, 
images the promise 
of the death-defying dawn 
of new hope.

Marjorie Dobson © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk. Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.

Quite early one morning © Andrew Pratt

A strange new day 

This is the day 
when perfume remained unopened, 
spices were no longer needed, 
cloths and sponges were unused.

This is the day 
when stone was no barrier, 
soldiers abandoned guard duty, 
grave clothes and tomb were empty. 

This is the day 
when the unexpected became reality, 
a man asked awkward questions, 
uttered unlikely proclamations.

This is the day 
when bewilderment ruled, 
fear was ever-present, 
obedience the only option.

This is the day
when women left hurriedly,
uncertain and warily,
to tell a strange story 
to an unbelieving audience, 

For they did not know it,
but this is the day 
when everything changed:
death was defeated, 
new life was beginning, 
hope overwhelming despair.

This is the day 
of resurrection.

Marjorie Dobson © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk. Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.

Come in the morning

Come in the morning.
Come see the dawning.
Come to the garden –
life has broken through.

Jesus, dead and buried. 
To his grave they hurried. 
Anxious women found that 
life had broken through.
Chorus

Soldiers could not keep him 
for they were found sleepiing 
and the tomb was open – 
life had broken through.
Chorus

Peter, unbelieving, 
left, still full of grieving. 
Nothing would convince him 
life had broken through.
Chorus

Mary, greatly shaken, 
thought he had been taken.
Heard his voice that told her 
life had broken through.
Chorus

Where there was despairing, 
grief and horror sharing, 
now there is a rumour 
life has broken through.
Chorus

So God’s word is spoken, 
when our hearts are broken 
there will come a time when 
new life will break through.
Chorus

Marjorie Dobson © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk. Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.
Metre: 6 6 6 5 and chorus 5 5 5 5 
Tune: Dance to thi’ Daddy (When the boat comes in)

Mary Magdalene

My name is Mary,
common enough in my time 
to need to be identified by place, or family.
Mine is such a name.
They call me the Magdalene.

People call me other names.
Some claim I was a prostitute, 
perhaps because the town whose name I bear 
is famous for that trade.

Others question my sanity 
and ask why it was necessary for that exorcism 
of troubling devils to be performed.
They probably call me mad.

The other followers, male, of course, 
know me as ‘one of the women’, 
useful for everyday tasks, but mainly disregarded.

So on that day -
when all hope had drained after his execution, 
the future seemed bleak and empty
and even the tomb appeared to have been raided 
and his body stolen – 
it was hardly surprising that the men ignored me,
ran back to the city and left me to weep alone.

The voice was kind and questioning 
and I sobbed my story, not expecting help.
But it came, in one word.
 ‘Mary,’ 
from one who spoke my name as if it mattered.

My name is Mary.
His name was and is and always will be, 
Jesus.

Marjorie Dobson © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk. Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.

Safe, locked inside that upper room 

Safe, locked inside that upper room, 
too scared to let the truth be known, 
disciples had to see their Lord 
before that truth could be their own.

And Thomas, still so full of doubt, 
would not believe the tales they told 
till Christ appeared, to show his wounds -
then his conviction made him bold.

Yet doubts and fears returned again.
Once more they locked themselves away 
until the Holy Spirit came 
on that inspiring, vital day.

The truth is now a living fact.
The love of God can never die.
So bold apostles stood their ground – 
their living Lord is not a lie.

We have not seen, but we believe 
and we must witness by our faith 
to living truth we have received, 
awakened by the Spirit’s breath.

Marjorie Dobson © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk. Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.
Metre: LM  
Tune: NIAGARA 

Poem: When what we thought was mystery

When what we thought was mystery
is rooted in the common place,
and God is found in those who love,
and those we love by grace;
then we have grasped the Christmas story,
reached its heart, beheld its glory.
	
When scourge and cross are recognised
in images from round the earth.
When we admit complicity
and gauge compassions' dearth;
then we have grasped the Easter story,
reached its heart, and felt its glory.
	
When love and justice magnify
and even mercy has no end;
when hostages find liberty
and enemies are friends;
then we have grasped the Spirit's story,
reached its heart, expressed its glory.

Andrew Pratt © 2004 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk. Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.

Words, Images and Imagination – Reviews

Singing the Faith plushttps://www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/worship/singing-the-faith-plus/posts/a-break-from-hymns-a-new-collection-from-andrew-pratt/

Northwich Guardianhttps://www.northwichguardian.co.uk/news/18942916.retired-minister-comberbach-releases-book-poetry-art/

Methodist Recorder / ArtServe Magazine

Poems, Pictures and Photos – produced during Lockdown

Andrew Pratt, ‘Words, Images and Imagination’ – Poems Watercolours Photos, Upfront Publishing, 2020, ISBN: 97-178456-740-8, p/bk, 71 pages. Click here to buy.

This is a beautifully produced collection of 40 poems, 10 photographs, and 14 watercolour paintings all created by Andrew and collected together during these strange Covid-19 times. It vividly and powerfully bears witness to the huge wave of remarkable creativity currently breaking onto our world during this uncharted and unprecedented pandemic.

A large proportion of these poems, pictures and photos have been inspired by nautical imagery, reflecting the author’s long-standing connection with the sea, from early childhood.

The poems have the clear stamp of a seasoned and experienced hymn writer. (He has already over 1500 in print).  They are remarkable for the way they encourage the reader to make full use of her imagination, and for the many hints and resonances with familiar famous words and phrases which readily come to mind. The very first poem ‘The suck of surf through shingle’ might remind us of Matthew Arnold’s famous ‘Dover Beach’, and the alliteration produces striking sounds which resemble Gerard Manley Hopkins. This poetry cries out to be spoken and heard.

Other notables, including Dietrich Bonhoeffer, are occasionally referred to by name, and their influence is unmistakable in our poet’s phraseology and skilful word painting.

Many poems draw on feelings and emotions all too familiar during these trying times, even though we are aware that not all of them were written out of the pandemic experience. But ‘Loneliness is a passing place’, ‘Things we know are never wholly certain’, and ‘Firm foundations shift and crumble’, could well reflect our current psychological disruption. There are poems resonating with the sounds of two World Wars, and there are commissions from JPIT (the Joint Public Issues Team of UK churches) which reflect the struggling search for truth and justice in a society still obsessed with, and hidebound by, traditions and ‘doctrines’. As a consequence, every minister should carefully ponder ‘Must this clerical obsession…’, and in ‘After the vote’ we have a powerful reminder of the problems we all face when we listen to the cries of refugees clinging to our shores.

Our author comes across as one who longs for openness and inclusivity, honesty and the need to face up to the reality of pain and death, and the more we read aloud these skilfully crafted lines the more likely are we to hear the strains of this sense of longing. It’s like the fluid tones of the waves and the echoing sound of the sea.

The Watercolours and Photos, which are interspersed among the Poems, add fresh dimensions to the words of this moving collection. Andrew is clearly a skilled painter and photographer, as well as a powerful word-smith. His sense of proportion, his restrained and delicate shading, his unique eye for colour, and his experienced view for composition, all contribute to this splendid poetic treasure-house, this realm of possibility which opens up before us. We can see, hear and feel something of the adventure, mixed with anticipation, which we experience when we cast off and set out on our ‘sea of faith’.

‘Words, Images and Imagination’ is a gift in every sense.

Harvey Richardson – November 2020

Words, Images and Imagination – NOW PUBLISHED

To buy follow the link https://hymnsandbooks.blog/words-images-and-imagination-now-published/

This unique collection of original poems, watercolour prints and photos, all by the author, explores life in all its fullness – relationships, conflict, hope, time, age, memory and mortality. Reflecting the author’s upbringing by the sea in Devon, his training as a Marine biologist and his ministry in the Methodist Church, images of the sea and faith are lightly woven through its fabric.

A first collection of poetry and art by an internationally published writer of over 1500 hymns.

Words, Images and Imagination – Andrew Pratt