Prayer for the Postie

We don’t get the post that much anymore, and because the service has been so seriously depleted since privatisation, we no longer have a relationship with our postie. It’s a frightful loss. But this doesn’t mean that I don’t think about the person who delivers our post and parcels anymore, because I do. For this reason I have written a prayer for the Postie, which appears in the new website which still has a few things to sort out, but is gradually getting better every day – Prayers for Everyone

Prayer for the Postie

Let us honour
In prayer
The honour of work
Important jobs
That demand
Bring pleasure

A thousand emotions contained
In a million envelopes
A universe of ideas
Beyond the mind of man

Let us honour
The Postie
Once esteemed
Once smartly uniformed
Pillar of the community
Now strangely invisible
Yet even today
Hero and heroine
Striding out in wartime 
Freezing winters
Sweltering summers
And pandemics

For over 200 years
The Postie brought 
Papers, cheques, passports, 
Visas, love letters,
Cards for birthdays
Letters of sadness
Letters of gladness
Written on paper of every hue,
The pink, the violet, the white and the blue
Nasty news alongside nice postcards
Silly views alongside perceptive poetry

Let us honour in prayer
The Postie
Knocking at the door
Ringing the bell
Descending slippery steps
Dodging dubious dogs
Negotiating snapping letter boxes

Two hundred years of tradition
Needing strength, patience,
Kindness, strong limbs…
Which is why
We bless the Postie
Post Woman and Post Man
For all they gave us yesterday
Today and tomorrow
A job well done
Thank you

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Interfaith Prayer

In anticipation of the forthcoming website – Prayers for Everyone – which is currently under development, I am writing prayers where there seem to be gaps… like interfaith prayers that don’t address any deity, but just celebrate joy in the ideas and ideals of the interfaith movement.

Interfaith Prayer

When people of different faith
Get together in peace
True peace
Unity and kindness…
Something occurs
Something good

An invisible force
A commonality
Carried on a wave of diversity
Honouring our different beliefs

It’s as if the invisible energies
Of miscellaneous angels
Move between those faiths
Reminding us
Of the similarities
Between us all

Explaining the power of love
The perfection of agreement
The exquisite nature 
Of harmonious understanding

And so together
We celebrate
Sacred peace
Sacred love
Harmony in diversity
And give thanks

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Prayer for the Birds

Bring back the birds
73 million gone from this land in 50 years
73 million songs, 73 million lives
Gone from gardens, fields, woods and seas
Bring back the birds

Robins, chaffinches, starlings, thrushes, blue tits
Annihilation by pesticides, farming, cats,
Logging, climate-change
Humans and their kind
Greed, blind greed

Precision, harmony and music 
Flying like angels
Swimming like mermaids
Carried on waves of wind and water
Navigating by starlight

Where is the morning chorus?
Where is the murmuration?
Where is the song of the lark?
Where the swifts that fly to China?
The swallows to Africa?
They must return

Celestial acrobats
Soaring through air and water
Curving over clouds
What does it mean
‘Free as a bird’?
We caged them
Killed them
How did this happen?

Bring back the birds
73 million gone from this land in 50 years
73 million songs, 73 million lives
Gone from gardens, fields, woods and seas
Bring back the birds

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Loving Funerals

A loving funeral is essential. But isn’t easy to set up a loving funeral. Most of us no longer have a local priest or person to turn to. The vicar or celebrant recommended by a Funeral Director rarely fulfils the task, and to try and carry out the funeral oneself can also be nearly impossible for a thousand reasons, not least the sheer pressure of living with one’s own loss, which can be draining both emotionally and physically.

Many religious people want a funeral done in the usual way, but for some of us this is not what we want. Religion is man-made; spiritual awareness is cosmic. Choice is part of our lives, and this applies to our spiritual lives. Many of us are spiritually aware but not attached to any particular faith, and some celebrants are not prepared to support our need for freedom.  There is a beautiful specialness in people, whether they have no interest in anything or have a passion for embroidery, making doll’s houses out of match-boxes, sport, animals, grandchildren, gardening or mountain climbing. Everyone is unique and it is so important that their unique character is honoured at their funeral.

Funerals today are best when they are loving, insightful, and if possible friendly… and they can be friendly whether there are three people present or 300. They don’t need to be sentimental but they do need to be authentic. A funeral must serve two purposes – to make those present feel connected with the person that has died, and to empower people that come to the funeral to feel better for the experience, and appreciate a moment of connection at the deepest level.

I know when I have carried out a funeral successfully. It’s when somebody comes up to me and says “did you know him? I was under the impression you knew him really well…” also when somebody says “She would have really loved this service… it’s as if she was here.” 

Over the years I have written many funeral readings for some very special people. The specialness of each person and each funeral helps to create funerals for other unique women, men and children. But with every funeral there is always something different, beautiful, radiant and unexpected. The readings I have created for these unique people can be found on my website – funeral readings.

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Books: Lightweight Electronics, Heavyweight Paper

In praise of Glamorous Finches and Exotic Libraries

If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book. J.K. Rowling

A great gift from the technology age is the library in your pocket, or backpack, depending on your preference. Books of all kinds are now languishing by the zillion in our electronic libraries on literary ‘clouds’ in the aether. And who can deny… books on a tablet or iPad are wonderful if one lives in a limited space — a virtual library can be as small or massive as you like, or can afford.

The electronic book has changed our reading habits so much. If one commutes, or likes to settle down in a dark place without disturbing one’s partner, the electronic book has much to offer, as opposed to turning on the light and shuffling around in the gloom looking for a misplaced book-mark. The sheer quantity of electronic books in my electronic library also comes as a real relief to the book-shelves in our house. But most importantly these books in the cloud point to a fundamentally different way of reading and book ownership. 

When I started to own electronic books, I discovered that important factual volumes needed for research had to be in paper form, because of re-reading, book marking and sharing. This discovery was learned by making mistakes and having to get the same book twice. But then things changed, I started to read only certain kinds of books electronically. Novels, fantasy, stories and ‘page-turners’ were required and acquired electronically. Finally, I came to know when I only needed a real book that involved paper, pictures, references and text… and so, me and a million others changed our reading habits.

The important books that we appreciate have become special, like the illuminated hand-painted tomes of old. Weighing in like the heavyweights that they are, coffee table books have gone out of the window, the big books are the serious ones, for serious people with serious passions. And here are two very different examples I found in our house.

If you key “Exotic Twitchers” into Google you can have real fun, discovering the difference between a real bird-watcher and a twitcher – the twitcher being a person that sets out to record some exotic bird life that got lost in Brexitland en-route to somewhere sunny.  Lost and bewildered the foreign bird ends up on our sad little island, being scrutinised by a host of anoraked twitchers. But real bird watchers look at books like ‘Estrildid Finches of the World’ and travel to distant lands to discover more about this branch of truly exotic finch. ‘Estrildid Finches of the World’ is a vast astonishing self-published volume encompassing nine years of work, over a thousand colour photographs, a nearly 400 pages of descriptive text including 146 maps and many magnificent birdy illustrations. The volume includes examinations of markings and descriptions of hatchlings, as well. It’s a dedicated study of Estrildidae, a finch family of 34 genera and 145 species – beautiful birds that can be found in 40 countries around the world. The book, which understandably earned praise from David Attenborough, costs 69.95 Euros and is available from the author – G.J.Huisman  – and take my word for it, I am not a serious bird watcher, but for somebody who loves their exotic finches, this has to be the book, it’s impressive… 

Another volume that reminded me of the way books and their importance have changed during our lifetimes is the seductive Thames & Hudson volume The Library – A World History by James W.P. Campbell and Will Pryce. This is another physically massive tome featuring photographs of libraries across the world. It includes sumptuous pictures of collections of books and manuscripts including detailed views of weird volumes on strange shelves, from Europe to Asia and the Americas. It probably took every bit as long to compile as ‘Estrildid Finches’. I can look at this history of libraries for the rest of my life, and enjoy its fascinating text too, before arriving at the final chapter entitled ‘The Future of Libraries in the Electronic Age.’ Even this last bit of the book is interesting, but nowhere near as visually thrilling as the adventures one might have wandering through the grand bookshelves of The National Library of Finland, or the sensational Wiblington Abbey Library in Wiblington, Germany. They are so glamorous.

As Charles Baudelaire said: “A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company, a counsellor, a multitude of counsellors.”

As T.S. Eliot said: “The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man.” 

And let’s not forget dear old Albert Einstein, who pointed out that: “The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” How true.

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There is No Death

I recently carried out a funeral for a dear friend. She was powerfully spiritual, and although she had complete confidence in life after death, at the start of her funeral I had a moment of great sadness, knowing that her spiritual presence would no longer be visible in this dimension.

During the service – very aware of her spiritual power – I felt the need to point out that there is no death, and I said this, with the accompanying phrase – energy cannot be destroyed. I know this because it comes from the first law of thermodynamics, which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only altered in its form.

Since carrying out that funeral, the phrase “There is no death – energy cannot be destroyed” has been wandering through my mind, like some kind of super-silly-stuck-song, but more peaceful. And so I came to write this reading, poem or whatever you like to call it, and of course dedicate it to my late friend – Rev Debbie Gaston.

There is No Death

There is no death
Energy cannot be destroyed

There is poetry, music, love
But no death

The spirit arrives
Dancing through humankind

The spirit moves
Departing sleeping bones

Even in great wars
Death is not sovereign

Energy cannot be destroyed

A wave breaks on rocks
Emitting a roar

Its power transformed
From rage to music
The seductive snarl of the sea
But never abolished

There is no death
This I know
For I have no end

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A Weird Prayer of Thanks 

Who deserves thanks?
So… Why do I give thanks?
Is it useful to give thanks?
Is there anything to be thankful for?

Maybe if I step into somebody else’s shoes
It would be easier to be thankful…
I might be luckier, richer, more gorgeous
But then… Maybe if I stepped into another’s shoes
I might discover
I was poorer,
Sicker, a sucker, sadder

Right now, why thank?
OK, if I had to
I could
But why?

Here’s one wild reason to thank…
Pluck a memory 
Carefully selected
From the memory bank 
Pause… Enjoy that sweet recollection…
Make it lovely and lovelier

Smile and feel thankful
Or pretend
To be thankful 
For being able to smile
For having laughed… once or twice
In life
For being kind, once or twice in life
For worrying
And discovering that worrying generally
Is a unmitigated waste of time
A misuse of imagination
So, use your imagination
For something better, finer, lovelier
More beautiful…
And smile

I can smile
I know how to do it
I’ve done it before
I can snort (with hilarity)
I can laugh at myself smiling and snorting
Frivolously and inanely
I can appreciate I have a lousy sense of humour
I can appreciate myself
In all my glory… because
A lousy sense of humour –
might just be a terrific sense of humour

I can be kind to myself
I can be kind to somebody else
I can smile to myself
And I can smile about myself
I can stroke myself, like a cat
I can be sensible
I can be silly
I can be funny
I can be wise
And amidst all this stuff and guff
I can thank myself
And whoever made me

It’s time to try-out a token ‘thank you’
Offer some gentle appreciation
To you, me and the universe…
Go on… Gift yourself with gratitude

Thank you

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Another Angry Prayer

I Just Feel Anger

I just Feel Anger
Anger about greed
Anger about cruelty
Anger about those in power


But anger does not serve
It diminishes desperate fury
It clouds judgement
One is more free
Without it


And so…
I pray to be free
Free of burning red rage

Instead… I pray for clarity’s cool revelation 
Sunshine, sky and the pure water of wisdom
And with it a loving view of a serene landscape 


Make me free of anger so that I may be wise
And kind, patient and loving, and radiate
Joy, happiness and gentle detachment
And best of all – understanding
And so be free of anger


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We are all worrying… so much…

I have been giving a thought to ‘worrying’ in all its sadness and negativity. The problem with worrying is that it is highly infectious. We talk to each other and we worry about the climate, the economy, the war, Covid, the earthquake and the horribly inappropriate behaviour of those in power. So I’ve written a prayer about worrying…

Why Worry?

Why worry?
When you can pray?
… With calm

Why misuse imagination
When you can request?
… Ruffle-free

Right now
I pray for more love
More kindness
More compassion

What’s there not to pray for?
What’s there not to ask?
What indeed?

Intention is stronger
Than you and I
So pray…
And stop worrying

Make it happen soon
Make it good and kind

Change the song
Throw the switch
Do it now
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you

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An Angry Prayer

Lots of us find it difficult to identify completely with any particular religion, even if we respect and love the religious practices of our friends and neighbours. There are few prayers outside the usual stuff that address everyday emotions. With this in mind I’m creating a website of prayers, in the language of the moment without reference to any particular religion. It will be called ‘Prayers for Everyone’ and I hope to have it up and running in a month or two. Here is a prayer about anger. I shall publish several of my angry prayers over the coming days. If they resonate with you, let me know… and let me know if you believe that we need prayers to help with anger… despair… environmental decline… earthquakes… war and all the concerns of the moment.

So Much to be Angry About

I pray
That I can look
At the wickedness
The cruelty
The greed
And the self-serving…
And not feel rage, pure rage

I pray
That I will come to know
That wickedness
Will give way to good.

That cruelty
Will be overwhelmed by compassion.
That the greedy
Will be satiated, shamed
and step back.

May those self-serving beings
Whose faces I see every evening
Framed in boxes of all sizes
Be put in their place…
And when all this happens…
When change comes
As it must do
I will no longer be angry
But give thanks
That my prayers
Came to be answered.

But right now
Embracing inevitable change
Let me experience
Calm… peace and understanding.

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