The silence…


tourists alight…
silence deafens,
like Buddhists, walking, shedding no footfall,
slipper footed it seemed.

The air was light,
the breeze slight,
yet every heart was heavy.

Rows of sheds…
Tiers of planks named ‘bed’ where bodies had lain:

Objects of a crude economy,
measured and managed,

Objects transported to where we were standing.
No looking back.
The end of the line.

The silence…palpable…

We left…
never more
in peace

For Holocaust Sunday 27th January 2019 © Andrew Pratt


Why are we forsaking them?

20180921-IMG_1863Hard to complain,
sounds churlish…
presents and tinsel
adorn and clutter,
in ‘tales of old’ the candles gutter.

Replete from the feast,
why should I moan?
Nor yet lament,
cry out:
‘my God, my God…why are we forsaking them?’

Washed by a tsunami,
shaken by earthquakes,
threatened by fire, dust, lava.
And our compassion rises,
as soon is dissipated.

Yet closer,
on our shores,
tiny rubber dinghies bring a ‘threatening cargo’
of migrant people who,
so says the lie,
‘present a crisis’.

Voices are strident or silent,
and the slaughter of the innocents passes,
largely unremarked,
in our churches.

Yet still they come.
And we, anything but innocent,
‘standby to repel boarders’
instead of asking
‘why do they come?’
And facing with honesty the truth
that people do not run into danger
unless running from something worse?

Avoiding eye contact, I draw patterns in wet sand.
And lamenting, I weep,
‘my God, my God…why are we forsaking them?

Andrew Pratt 31/12/2018

At the turning of the year…

The danger of a storm of cliches hovers in the wings…
metaphors mix it with each other…
tides turn, seas ebb…
moons set, suns rise…
worlds spin on their axes…

Strange that marking a year’s end
and a new beginning
feels like a monument rising,
a tower falling,
a significant event
when naming of days is arbitrary.

The rev-counting globe,
moon’s phases
are built in,
each day the same,

So why this apprehension?

Why my uncertainty?

that death is nearer than it was?

importing significance to tasks left incomplete?

The intractable magnetism of mystery,
drawing and repelling?

The cliches are gathering…

Andrew Pratt 27/12/2018

Persephone – winter solstice – turn of the year

Persephone, they said, delved deep through winter’s scold.
The leaves of autumn fell, condemned to mould,
a burial deep, seemed permanent and cold.

And so it was till snow had fallen,
frosted soil had hardened into stone,
a frozen, hurtful bed,
where all seemed dark and dead.

Incomprehensibly, some life still lurked within this frigid earth,
and, hidden still, green shoots would come to birth.

And so, they said, reflecting, Persephone would rise,
beneath the early skies of lengthening days.
Experience led this hope,
but other days would sound a different song.

Divine interpretation sees, in nature, re-creation,
an annual resurrection,
a seasonal response to winter’s dereliction.

And as the seasons turn a spirit still may burn,
and breath may move and breathe,
a song may ring where cold and void and chaos rules,
to usher in God’s Spring.
© Andrew Pratt 2/6/2017

Christmas – The God of cosmic question – quasars, quarks, pulsars

The God of cosmic question
Surprises by a birth,
Not in some new dimension
But on this ravaged earth!

In quasars, quarks and pulsars
We seek the cosmic truth:
The ground of our existence
That set creation loose,

And human senses lead us,
Through all they analyse,
From arrogance to wonder,
To spiritual surprise.

But senses have their limits:
Unanswered still there lies
The single, deepest question
Our intellect supplies.

Yet history proffers insight:
The Christ of time and space
Speaks of a God incarnate
Born in a squalid place.

Alive within our compass,
Upon this ravaged earth,
The God of cosmic question
Surprises us in birth!

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) (amended 2019 by author)
© 1991 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, http://www.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.

John the Baptist – Crazy, ragged, ranting prophet

Crazy, ragged, ranting prophet,
least that’s how some people saw him,
eating locusts and wild honey,
sweeping hypocrites before him.
Standing by the raging river,
raging at unrighteous forces,
calling weak and powerful to him,
sending them on different courses.

This is one the prophets spoke of,
one to clear the way for Jesus;
humble, man of God proclaiming
judgment, grace and mercy for us.
Would we wander to that river?
Hear that vagabond still preaching?
Or would we not want that judgment,
plug our ears to his beseeching?

And today and yet tomorrow
will we take that path and follow,
one who lived through joy and sadness
who would suffer pain and sorrow?
Would we shirk the call of Jesus,
tied to selfishness or borrow,
his audacious loving kindness,
setting free to build tomorrow?

Andrew Pratt 21/11/2012 & 8/12/2018


Words © 2018 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, http://www.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.