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Posts Tagged ‘poem’

Happy New Year!

I am not great at New Year’s resolutions – holidays are such a terrible time for making me unrealistic about my capacity to be Wonder Woman. But over the last few days I have done some reflecting on 2015, and thinking and praying about the year ahead. And actually, I’ve been mulling this over for a while and am hoping that this blogpost will help make my plan more concrete and that this year I will learn to focus better on working one task at a time (and not procrastinating). I found myself very distracted in 2015 [edited to not be a time traveller] and, as a result, not accomplishing what I wanted to. And even more than usual. (Sorry about the complete lack of Christmas cards everyone…).

So this year I am planning to Do The Next Thing, with prayer, trusting God for the results.

Do the next thing visual

I came across this poem more than a year ago on a poster sold by 52home, and I think it sums up the attitude I want to cultivate. The poster on 52Home says that the author of the poem is anonymous but further research (a bit of googling, let’s be honest) turned up the original author. It’s not Elisabeth Elliot, who quoted it and is cited as the author by some online. The poem is actually a verse of a somewhat sentimental longer original which has rather ‘ye olde worlde’ spelling. It is quoted in a book called Ye Nexte Thynge by Eleanor Amerman Sutphen. The book was published in the US in 1897, and the poem was written by Mrs George A Paull – actually Minnie E Paull (nee Kenney), an author of ‘serial stories’. Minnie was a musician and minister’s wife as well as a writer, and some of her biography is available online.

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I went to be interviewed by Paul Hammond of UCB radio last week. I drove up the M6 to Stoke and spent a great couple of hours having lunch with his lovely producer and then talking in a studio with Paul about something I seem to know a bit about – mess. It was good to chat around the subject of mess and the Christian and how messy homes and families can be used for God’s glory. And thankfully it didn’t feel like I was in the Mastermind chair at all. Much more like chatting with a friend over some of the topics I covered in my book. I started by reading out my dad’s poem from the start of The Ministry of a Messy House, which finishes:

So, come and talk, some tea and cakes,

To love one’s neighbour messy makes,

There’s just no time to tidy up,

We always need another cup,

For family, friends, and cruel distress

Come first, and so, you see,

A mess.

(from Messiness by John Turtle)

My dad used to work for the BBC and had his own programme on the World Service before he retired. I was very pleased to be able to recite his poem on the radio to continue his broadcasting career after a fashion. Hopefully the interview itself wasn’t too messy and I didn’t say ‘um’ too often. At least they’ve decided to broadcast it – in fact it will be going out on the radio this coming week. If you like you can listen online or on your DAB radio or on Sky Channel 0125, Virgin Media 914 or their iPhone app.

I was recorded for a segment of Paul’s daily show which covers current affairs and topical discussion. There are four ten minute segments which will go out on his show. I think that means they’ll be on from Monday to Thursday. The show airs from 9am-12noon, and there is a Saturday omnibus of the whole interview called Life Issues which goes out at 9.15pm next Saturday evening. The shows stay available on the website for a week after transmission.

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Loved this performance poem from Terrence Walton – a riff on Psalm 23. A great reminder about the love of the Great Shepherd who walks us through the dark valleys we find ourselves in.

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What do you think about as you return from your holidays? As we drove away from the Channel Tunnel, heading back to the Vicarage, last week I was remembering (as always) a poem by Laurie Lee that I learnt by heart when I was at school:

Home From Abroad

Far-fetched with tales of other worlds and ways,
My skin well-oiled with wines of the Levant,
I set my face into a filial smile
To greet the pale, domestic kiss of Kent.

But shall I never learn? That gawky girl,
Recalled so primly in my foreign thoughts,
Becomes again the green-haired queen of love
Whose wanton form dilates as it delights.

Her rolling tidal landscape floods the eye
And drowns Chianti in a dusky stream;
he flower-flecked grasses swim with simple horses,
The hedges choke with roses fat as cream.

So do I breathe the hayblown airs of home,
And watch the sea-green elms drip birds and shadows,
And as the twilight nets the plunging sun
My heart’s keel slides to rest among the meadows.

Kent was certainly beautiful to look at. Our front drive not so much… (and more on this tomorrow too).

Rocky tells us this was originally left blocking the drive

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Really enjoyed chatting with Glen Scrivener at Bible By The Beach this weekend.  Glen has been blogging through phrases from the King James Version of the bible this year over at The King’s English. And he’s just released this terrific video in which he cleverly puts together in verse more than 100 phrases from the KJV. You’ll be amazed at how many are familiar.

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I’ve been struggling this week to put together a 75 word spiel in support of my candidature to be a parent governor at our church school. Grumpy Grandpa has gone rather over the word limit with his suggestion, but otherwise I’d be submitting this:

Hi parents, I’m the Vicar’s Wife,
Follow my blog (or get a life),
I’ve managed things, well, more or less,
A sewage site at Inverness,
Then I worked in Pakistan
Fighting corruption with my charm,
In Kuala Lumpur, curing pong,
When drainage systems went all wrong,
I’ve three kids now at Holy T,
Tall, short hair, at the gate, that’s me,
Chatting away with the rest of the bunch,
Hoping they’ll help with the old peoples’ lunch,
Or hoping, too, they’ll come to pray:
But’s that’s all for another day.
I want to help, please vote for me,
And unlike your MP, I’m totally free!

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The Vicarage Cat

We have a cat. Or rather a cat has us. She is small, very pale tabby with a mutant tail and she mews loudly. A lot. Especially in the mornings. She joined us when we lived in Singapore and spent her very earliest days living in a Singapore drain before she adopted a friend of a friend and then landed up with us.

So she’s a well travelled beast, but these days she hunts vermin in the Vicarage garden (of which more at a later date) and hunts for the warmest place to recline in the Vicarage. As you know, the latter is a bit of a challenge. In summer you might find her scanning the children on their way to school from the vantage point of our gatepost. Or she might be lying on the carpet in my bedroom, soaking up the sunshine from the south facing windows.

In winter however she cuddles up to the fire, or sits upon the lap of the poor (rather cat allergic) Vicar’s Apprentice. Sometimes we find her lurking in the bathroom, but only when the underfloor heating is on. She is a good indicator of where the temperature is bearable. For that reason, to date I have never once seen her in the Vicar’s study.

Grumpy Grandpa has written a few poems on the subject of cats. This one is a good summary of VC’s attitude to life:

A  hamster has his little wheel, a gerbil can be fun,
A guinea pig is cuddly, though you have to clean his run,
A dog’s a good companion, and will make you smile and laugh.
But a dog will have a master, a cat, she just has staff.

There’s a dead mouse in the corner, and lots of tiny hairs.
A hairball on the carpet, and some feathers on the stairs.
She won’t do what you tell her, she smells a little too,
A kitten makes you love her, then she takes charge of you.

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