Sometimes meditation brings total connection with all things
Just as peace comes to mind So love resides in the heart. Just as calm meets the soul So time diminishes.
Then grace fills the being And the heart opens Like a flower.
These are the moments Of meeting with everything Touching every sound Hearing all colours Drinking the music of forests Hearing the song of the ocean, The chattering of birds and beasts An instant of love, Connection, Harmony, And Joy.
Many years of many lives are spent waiting for phone connection to the doctor’s receptionist to get an answer to a simple question, like ‘when do I go for the blood test?’
Before reaching a human voice, a number of things must be navigated – including the music from hell and a voice that says “You are number eight in the queue…please hold.” Here’s my poem charting the slow journey to be made before connection.
Request for Connection… To the Quack’s Reception
For ten minutes I wait I’m number eight There is a queue I’m told ‘Please hold’
The music’s sad and bad I’m told ‘Please hold’
Time passes I’m number seven I’m getting older Like indigestion The music repeats I’m told ‘Please hold’
As I become six I realise I’m a number Not a person I had 10 symptoms before Now I have 15 I’m told ‘Please hold’
What’s happening in the world? Two wars have been declared Night-time falls in Shanghai The music is merciless I’m told ‘Please hold’
Five miles away Somebody scores five goals 500 babies are born A new symphony is composed Guess what? I’m told ‘Please hold’
Are others in the queue in pain? Who came before me? Abraham? Isaac? Minnehaha? Grandma Moses?
Soon my prayers will be answered I’m number four All will be well Though the music is hell Yes, and you guessed I’m told ‘Please hold’
Yippee I’m number three A voice somewhere says ‘Please hold’
Time crawls! The music appals I’m told ‘Please hold’
I’m through A one-minute chat It’s a lucky day For the one after me
Nobody Told me to say ‘Hip! Hip! Hooray’ Anyway… But I do ‘Thank you!’
Waiting for darkness to lift – night to turn to day – winter to end – ones health to improve – imprisonment and a phase of sick governance to finish… there are so many moments of darkness that we long to be over… and eventually change happens. This prayer explores that movement of darkness to light, and offers thanks.
Quiet descends A traveller moves Through the hours of doom The heart sinks The spirit falters
Nothing is seen Time is suspended Night-time Sorrow-time… A gloomy void
Yet in the darkest hour A liminal moment A seed of light A faint glimmer
A soul Stands at the gate Of life and death Where the spirit flutters.
The journey Is transformed
Light breaks the darkness The sacred is revealed One is held In the light of love And so we give thanks
A couple of days ago we held our annual Interfaith Service for the City. I wrote this for the MP of Hove – Peter Kyle, but sadly he was called away… so I read it. There was a quite a bit of laughter. Hope you like it…
Brighton and Hove’s Peace Statue
There were once two Small neighbouring towns That did not get on.
One was genteel, tidy, God-fearing The other rude, brash and vulgar. Disagreement was common.
… And yet … the tale that follows Seems more comic-cuts than horror movie.
One sunny day in 1911 A wooden statue Depicting ‘Peace’ Designed by Mr Newbury Trent Was erected on the seaside borders Of the bickering municipalities.
It was called ‘Peacemaker’ And it was named after old King Edward VII.
Some 30 feet tall – it was an angel Holding an orb and an olive branch – As you do… when peace comes to mind. A year later a new home for nurses was opened And on the same day Newbury Trent’s bronze statue Replaced the wooden one.
The location of this lovely figure Was within the boundaries of Brighton But its upkeep was Hove’s responsibility – Another potential cause for disagreement.
On that day In October 1912 One hundred and eleven years ago The Duke of Norfolk Unveiled the Peace Statue
In the build-up To the great moment Things went slightly upside down.
A horse bolted Before the wobbly entourage And its statue Arrived at the chosen destination
The civic band played up But the result was gruesome and tuneless.
The entire glorious occasion Was said to be a damp squib.
After the unveiling Brighton’s mayor Made an irritable speech Expressing the view that Perhaps the Peace Statue Might help Brighton and Hove Learn to get on… “Fat chance of that!” Said Mrs Miggins in the front row.
For over 100 years the statue stood Battered by wind and rain Not to mention some ugly storms But the Peace Statue knew peace She was peace Peace was her way And having heard the words Of the long-gone mayor She fluttered her magnificent wings And waved her arms And made it happen.
Thus peace came to Hove and Brighton And it is said that today Even the Members of Parliament Talk to each other.
But best of all Our beautiful statue Reigns down peace on all of us Who look on her And reminds us that for all its quirkiness This is a unified, loving City of Peace.
The two wars that are raging close to home – the Ukrainian War and the Israeli-Palestinian War have left many people bereft. Both conflicts are heartbreaking. Tonight I will pray for peace with my prayer group. I have been asked to read this prayer, but I am also aware that when we pray together in silence something powerful and mysterious occurs that appears to transcend time itself.
My last two prayers both explore peace and silence in different ways.
Peace Prayer: October 2023
The loving peace of silence speaks to us it reminds us of the cacophony of war the endless thunder of bombardment then silence two faces of humanity
In the theatre of war silence heralds the quiet before the shrieking storm
In the theatre of war silence offers respite or maybe curtains
Together you and I stand in another place we stare into the landscape the ugly drama is remembered the horror of conflict is distant yet close to our beating hearts
Together we pray in silence asking for the conflict to end
Let us pray in peace for peace let us pray for the conflict to end let us pray for understanding let us pray for compassion let us pray for love
Having lived through a number of wars in my lifetime, I have come to realise that holding views on the rights and wrongs of any conflict is almost pointless, unless one is directly involved in the war itself. And yet I find it impossible not to hold views. I like to think I understand what is right and what is wrong, but so many others think the same way, and it doesn’t heal conflict. Today the war in Israel involves members of our community, in this City, who will hold opposing views. For this reason I am hoping that if we hold a vigil, it may be possible to have a silent vigil, so that we may all share prayers of peace… just peace. This prayer is simply a peace prayer, that may be read, and felt and expressed in silence.
Silent Peace Prayer
We ask for peace In silence Though our hearts may be full
We pray for understanding Acceptance, forgiveness So that the conflict may end
There will be a day When the scars of the past Fade and disappear
Time offers insight Insight unlocks compassion Knowing this We contemplate The perfection of peace So that all lives May exist and flourish In harmony
We ask for peace In silence Giving thanks
And though we pray in silence Let our prayers be heard By the forces of love… Love beyond understanding Amen