Peace Comes to Mind

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,
And Joy.

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To believe or not to believe… That’s the real question. Here’s ‘A Prayer in Honour of Eternity’. It is also to be found on my websites – Prayers for Everyone and Funeral Readings

Some say:
‘This is the end’
And think
‘I am coming to the end’
But there is no end

For eternity 
Is in the soul…
It is in the mind
The bones
The body
The heart

Others say
‘I know about the end’
They imagine
They understand

I only know
That any belief in the end 
Is an idea
A passing thought
Without beginning 
Or end

For eternity 
Is in the soul…
It is in the mind
The spirit

And because I see and feel
And hear and taste
And sometimes remember
And sometimes do not remember
I welcome mystery

For I am eternal
And I know eternity 
I have met eternity
I am without end

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Best Baby Blessing

Here is a loving baby blessing without religious references.

You are
The best baby
The most beautiful
Best baby

You are
Usually joyful
Sometimes tearful
Occasionally fearful
Always delightful

Your smile
Is sunshine
Blooming and beaming
Laughing or screaming
Shining across a sea of smiles
You make me smile
You make us all smile

This blessing is for you
Best baby
It is our gift to you

Because you are the loveliest
We hold you in our arms
And smile
And our hearts
And smile
And bless you
And smile
And love you
Best baby

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Waiting for Connection – At the Wrong End of the Phone

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’

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

Told me to say
‘Hip! Hip! Hooray’
But I do
‘Thank you!’ 

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Prayer for 2024

There are so many avenues
For prayer

Tree lined walks
Streets shattered by bombs
Secret pathways through the jungle

There are so many people
To pray for

Hungry children
The vulnerable

There are so many prayers
That must be spoken
And also thought about…

Prayers for our planet
Its air, earth, water, fire
Its species
Animals, life forms, humans, nature

This is a year
When prayers must be loud

Let us pray 
And then give thanks
Knowing that they will be heard
That loving positive change 
Will come in this year – 2024


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Christmas Blessing

Walk from the darkness of the longest night
Into the gift of shortest day
And let your heart radiate love

The snow on the hills
The wind from the North
The kiss of a snowflake on your cheek
The warmth of a fire
We remember them all

Ours myths and stories touch us
Carrying the memories of miracles
A flickering candle reminds us
That even when old…
We are young

Between the belief of children
And the disbelief of the material
Let us greet this season with love
Greet the darkness and light
The traditions, the music
Sorrow and laughter

We have entered the hour of compassion
Generosity and love
This is the moment when we see beauty
In nature, spirit, life and death
This is the moment when we open up to love

May we be blessed at Christmas
May all be blessed at Christmas

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Darkness… and Light

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

Quiet descends
A traveller moves
Through the hours of doom
The heart sinks
The spirit falters

Nothing is seen
Time is suspended
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

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The Peace Statue

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.

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Prayers for Peace… In Silence

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

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

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

You can find my peace prayers and others on the website Prayers For Everyone

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Another War… And Sorrow

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

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