Saturday, February 22, 2014


With the possible exception of the Hebrew ones.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


long in the tooth
getting ragged at the end
as sharp relief
of vents and cranes and coolers
are stenciled out onto trees and houses and fields
away to the east
by the setting sun.

It is time to join them,
a flat black man on a flat black bicycle
whizzing over the pavement and the grass
away home.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Computer science

As far as I can tell from the two students working at the next table, it is an excuse for shameless profanity directed at a computer.  Cathartic, perhaps, but what does it get you at the end of the day?  Probably a good salary ...

The Little Hours

Blessed is our God, always now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

The Protestants got away from the Horologion - the Book of Hours - which governed the pattern of regular prayer for centuries in the High Churches.  This, I think, was a bit of a shame.  The intent of saying the hours was that prayer and worship might continually ascend to God from His people, and intercession be offered up at all times in all places. 

Any system is capable of misuse, of course, and it would be foolish to make the all-to-Romanist link that just doing the prayers means they are pleasing to God.  Never has God accepted vapid or tepid worship.  True worship is done in Spirit and truth.  But we still use structures to help us do it well.

As a Presbyterian, my local church has a structure and a liturgy (which varies a bit, but not dramatically), and belongs to a presbytery in a denomination which maintains a Book of Church Order comprising a Form of Government, a Book of Discipline, and a Directory for Public Worship.  Even broadly evangelical churches have structure (cloaked as spontaneity, sometimes),  with goals, visions, mission statements, and programs upon programs.  But where is prayer?

While understanding that monasticism destroys the evangelical mission of the Great Commission, I nevertheless think there was a commendable motive behind that unhelpful practice - that all aspects of life must be consciously, daily, and diligently surrendered to God.  The cloister is unhelpful at best, but the fervent desire to be entirely at God's disposal is entirely correct.  Forms may be abused, no matter what they are.  But they can also be a guide and guard to assist good practice.

Anyhow, food for thought.

O come, let us worship God our King. O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ our King and our God.  O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and our God.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Oh Hopkins, how you heave here-there-and-everywhere
rich rolling sound, sprung round rhyme, for a time
man's moments mix with joy and Jesu Christi
on your page, and God stands out,
cut iconic and immense astride his world,
nature naked, fresh, unfurled, the way Adam
first saw Eve, unblushing both in dawn of day.

Oh Hopkins, yet you would not, could not bear
to hide humiliated, half-clad mans from Maker's gaze,
in days of sin and judgment still you sang,
a rough and hardened clang, is sword-and-scabbard?
Hammer-anvil? or the scrape and crack, souls wracked,
shipwrecks, the decks of dearest death and drowned devotion,
sickening to see, much less to sing; yet lays you made
which loft and thrill, which humble still,
which laud Purcell, the virgin Mary and your friends,
life's ends in God; life ends in God, farewell.

Monday, February 3, 2014


Here a little
there a little
line upon line
precept upon precept
job upon job
and we cobble
together, out of our
time and mind and hands
(each of them a gift of God,
just like the outcome of their application)
a living
for the mama and the papa and the boys;
and you know,
we always