Poem for VE Day

My Father died 47 years ago. He had served in the 8th Army seeing action at El Alamein. This is not meant to be his story but reflecting, while there was sense in celebration when bombs stopped dropping on England, perhaps we might celebrate in 2020 with care. I guess my father, and others like him had not been demobbed. He didn’t talk much about his war. He had firm friends. Some had died. When he came home he had a nervous breakdown – post-traumatic stress? Some years later he was chronically and then terminally ill dying at the age of sixty. My mother died at the same age one year later. How much of this was an aftermath of war I’ll never know. I do know that in the fifties it was common to see men who had lost limbs not being lauded as paralympic athletes. Some things have changed…thank God…

They sent him home, a broken man,
each nerve and sinew torn or strained
and what was celebrated then
he recognised as little gained.

The trauma of that noise and strife,
the shattered buildings, tear torn lives,
with stunned, dismembered memories,
and, though he struggled, each survives.

The shell-shocked post-traumatic stress,
his past so vivid, sharpened, bright,
has left him stumbling through a void,
toward a mist enshrouded night.

*****************************

And now as we look back this day,
into a past that some have known,
may we revere the ones we see,
and recognise the grief they own.

And deeper truths must still be learned:
that no dispute is worth a life,
that peace and justice, kindness, love,
must bring an end to earthly strife.

© Andrew Pratt 4/5/2020

AUDIO – © Andrew Pratt 4/5/2020

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 – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-50289353 accessed 5/1/2019

Words © 2019 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.

Tune: CHRISTMAS CAROL (Henry Walford Davies) Available at https://hymnary.org/tune/christmas_carol_davies;
Metre: CMD

This broken world, your broken church – Written in the Worship Live writing weekend at Launde Abbey, June 2019 and sung on 9th June.

This broken world, your broken church,
scattered like dust upon the breeze:
God take your people, make us whole,
fire with your Spirit, bring release,
renew, restore our common bond,
until all humankind respond.

Fire of your love inflame each life,
inspire each heart upon this earth,
until all people can affirm
each person’s value, gift and worth.
Build us as one, together bound,
rooted in grace, in common ground.

Spirit of life flow on, flow free,
till we have peace within this place;
till we can look and see the Christ
in every sad or smiling face.
Forgive our inhumanity,
yet God, by grace begin with me.

© Andrew Pratt 8/6/2019 Written in the Worship Live writing weekend at Launde Abbey, June 2019 and sung on 9th June.
Tune: ABINGDON
Words © 2019 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.

Launde for blog