Slow sailing – reflecting on aging

In age, so often, life, it seems,
is like a leaky boat.
Our forward progress slows and swings
with the tide,
its ebb and flow.
For want of caulking
bilges seep and timbers creak
with every swing and turn
but still we cut between the waves,
while tacking with the flow.
And though it may seem strange to some
who wish to race ahead,
the more I travel now, I think,
I’d rather travel slow.
The harbour will come soon enough,
to moor and come to rest,
for now a passage,
calm and slow,
would seem much better blessed.

© Andrew Pratt 9/3/2020 – in response to an email from Claire Wilson

No insurance – for Australia

These crazy flames lick and lap at all that ranges round us,
the trappings of our wealth,
experience and existence.
At birth we can’t anticipate our existential ending,
the length of life not ours to count or measure.
But then we face eternity,
or nothingness,
depending on belief.
Like night’s thief, flames hotter than hell’s painting are not some distant image,
but sharpened fronds dissembling each dwelling.
And if we leave reality says,
‘there is no return’.
Can faith uphold us through this conflagration?
Survival walks naked of all that we have known,
valued or possessed.
That is the option open to us.
Our Hobson has no choice.
So if we die we will know what rests beyond this life.
Remaining so much is loss or lost.
Whichever path we walk pray this,
pray only this,
that now and on beyond this moment
the love a letter writer once described
will hold,
and keep us still through all that is to come.
And no insurance…just the faith…

Words © Andrew Pratt 4/1/2019

The depth of interstellar space – a Cosmic Christmas Carol

The depth of interstellar space,
the ultimate beyond,
the cosmic span of all that is
with Christ the common bond:
Word before world’s had come to be,
our common source and ground,
we stare into this starlit void,
that stellar craft will sound.

We fashion answers, look with awe,
and seek to understand
our place within this finite time,
this time in which we stand;
countless millennia plot the course
down to the present day,
but who can chance or even guess
what more may come in play?

Through this continuum of time
we surf on history’s wave,
we long for answers, never found,
that generations crave.
When will we settle trusting still
that peace is found through grace,
while all is relative in life –
and can love fill this place?

Andrew Pratt 5/11/2019
News that Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977 had left the Solar System and are ‘exploring the outer reaches of our cosmic neighbourhood ‘. BBC News November 4th 2019 – accessed 5/1/2019

Words © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England,
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.

Tune: CHRISTMAS CAROL (Henry Walford Davies) Available at;
Metre: CMD

We rise and look around us –

We rise and look around us:
all life that breathes or lives,
has shared a common construct
its composition gives.
A careful, complex coding
embodies what we see,
but how we treat each other
defines what we might be.

The cosmos seethes with sadness,
lament infuses prayer,
we cry with one another,
and strength is grounded there.
Yet we are still confounded,
by things we cannot grasp,
for we are only human:
our ignorance will last.

All life is short and finite,
we sometimes live a lie,
that we are born immortal,
yet love will never die.
Beyond this time of living,
through what we see as death
God’s coded love is spanning
our last, our final breath.

Written in response to Professor Peter Howdle’s Seminar on Healthy intercessions
Words © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England,
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.
Tune: ELLACOMBE (StF 311)
Metre: D

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

This is the time of crisis

Things we know are never wholly certain,
we fathom and explore,
we test the tangled evidence
while seeking to decide.

This is the time of crisis,
of decision,
a time for making choices.

Life sometimes stutters,
moving on in stages.
At others it seems seldom interrupted.
Day to day passes without incident.

Then the cancer, infarction,
crippling us with indecision.

Death is inevitable since our birth.
But should we, as the poet wrote,
‘strive against the dying of the light’?
Or, windhover like, roll, riding on the steady air,
swing in mastery of this fluid existence?

Broken pinioned we may plummet,
God forbid.

But is it worth the struggle?
To claw heavenward,
perhaps survive,
at what present cost?

And all that now determines action will sound ephemeral,
of little consequence.

Such impulses drive the decisions we will make,
for life or death,
in love or grace.

© Andrew Pratt 30/11/2018