Confessionals

These pieces were written during a mood of disenchantment, and so perhaps reflect the more negative sides of life as we have it in the present. I thought they were worth keeping and putting online here so as maybe to allow sympathetic support to any reader of them who finds him/herself in a like pit of despair from time to time. Also, they show to me that aligning oneself with the Lord Jesus is not for sunny days and days of enjoyment only; but that in dark moments there is a substance in his being which sustains; and which never leaves a person nor ever strands him/her high and dry. Make of them what you will. I hope that at the least they might provide good food for thought about the doubtful quality of parts of our daily lives in advanced consumer societies, and I hope they offer a perspective about our lives showing that in exchange for our material well-being and great financial prosperity; for our technical wizardry and our exponential trajectory of scientific discovery; there remain certain things ‘which (as Gandalf says) should not have been forgotten and which have been lost’ to us?/Peter

i

I’m trying to tell myself the truth
I’m trying to make a record of the truth
Some things I just don’t want to tell
Some things unspoken do not hurt so much
There’s great disaster, disappointment in me
My life has beached on endless scepticism
It is as though all days are hollow now
Not me – objectively
Except God made all things so they are good
But our age has forgotten this and so
All things are hollow there’s nowhere to go

ii

I’m happier when I’m working I find purpose
The passing by of things looks like momentum
I know it’s an illusion but the busyness helps
I see so many of us on this hamster wheel
Not knowing its futility, and too scared to think it
Too scared to stop and dare the darkness in
Inside and so confront my thoughts with God
Whose property always is to have mercy
And counts the hairs on every person’s head
This life of busy hectic is the battlefield

iii

I want to exorcise my discontents
Place my passion on the page
Just get it all down in one sweep
And have somebody listen to me
As if I could get recognition
Make contact and be understood
And so by sympathy obtain release
By acceptance, stamp my motives
Count and matter, even though
I know that here is no continuing city
And it is God I need and not renown

iv

I want to scintillate to carry someone off
Maybe it’s just myself I want to impress?
To do something I’m satisfied with, even
Delighted? So
I keep on trying, it’s now forty years
I’m still depressed unhappy and still
Feel alone
I have my kids, their love, though
Not their inexperience
They cannot get where I am in their heads
And maybe that is good; maybe it isn’t?

v

Our television has a hundred channels
Each one in competition to affront
The most the thoughtful viewer who can find
No place to rest his head among the havoc
They wreak a freakish beggaring-my-neighbour
In the next extremer outrage, then the next
The mad thrash metal on the US shows
Flash, action, bang, no space to hear your heart
The low appalling squalour of the British stuff
The pious lamentations in the current news
Where egos indulge views they should not speak
And show their shallow natures to the world

vi

We have high hopes for children brought
Into the world
Our own especially but we’ve made of it
A snare entrapment for them where our
Better selves
Are groomed to archness; smart practice best
Avoided
Because they grow up are no longer children
Join us in our conditions of disgrace
We give our children books, an education
Toys
And send them to academies for music,
Ballet
And totally unrealistic aspirations
Considering when their schooling’s out they’ll get
A job
Bow out of everything but booze and sex and drugs

vii

Maybe someday someone might just read these
Confessor notes that are for me to clear
The air and lay out my perceived condition
Though God knows this and for that I am glad
If I had not my Bible and devotion books
Which give me comfort and sustain my hope
I would be crucified with nothingness
The madness of the world would amplify
The million million voices all at once protesting
Not listening, only peddling one’s own thing,
To empty heads in galleries

viii

BBC news is comfort for the huddle
Talks down to us informing what to think
Making sure a mix of news is interspersed
Inconsequently dashed with trivia
So we don’t get too down or too impassioned
Or dwell too deeply on the import of
What’s been agreed, achieved, or what has faltered
That where we’re heading has a lighter side
Their holiness on foreign wars, the spite and hate
We sublimate and purge as our abhorred designs
Our national feeling keeping tethered home farm flocks

ix

This sense of pat checkmate all thinking blanks
At the gates of explanation; tends ten hundred ways
Half-certain; get to that gate, get it open
And discover there to meet you sweet Despair
Here stands no forward and no back, but
Blanked, checkmated by their games of rules
Stands thwarted expectation
Then in your heart your soul cries out
Lays your heart down and under God because
God’s there, in your despair, in His Divine Person
There in your care and hope and destitution:
To give a name and sense to make all things
Chime with clear reason: The sole I AM who quietens.

x

So much of life is broken
The long tail of the past continues; lingers
Irrecoverable

The training trail of empty misconstructions
Never resolved to fact, in your remembrance,
Wooden ghost re-enactors who can get the period
Act out the parts we left half-mast unfinished

From the wardrobes of our past we make ourselves
And there is more the same to come ahead
Tomorrows of bad yesterdays, rehashing and reprise,
Yes,
It will not change

xi

Call it your character or fate, or what you want
Which way you cut the cake it tastes the same
And so we’re placed back to where we could have been
A faerie land where no-one’s ever travelled
Only imagined that they had imagined

And next we’re dead, the folks who knew us most
Will mostly walk away, their imprints in the soil
Muddied by sullen rains, fading away
Those ways become as if no-one had trodden
And lone residual resonances, half-thought
Quirk events throw up coincident and vagrant
Bring memories surrendering certain fragments
A life’s loose ends in straggling question marks

There might be more: but there is no more here
Just maybe all our tears are washed away
Our broken hearts configured and refashioned
The pieces pieced together carefully
Slotted in, to proper shape, and so made poetry
The lifeline of deliberate notions realised?