Skip to main content

A wee bit ay standard Habbie fur th' occasion

Here's something I made earlier! Last January, in fact. (Although, it's had quite a lot of work done to it since).

New Year's Day 
At 6am on New Year's Day
While next door's lengthy Hogmanay
Was resolutely still in play
I wearily arose.
My brain was buzzing, anyway,
Too much to much doze. 
I dressed, and found an old cagoule
(Remembering the forecast squall)
And stuffed it — an ungainly ball —
In my fleece pocket.
Then crept down to the downstairs hall
And made my exit. 
The streets were dark; it felt like night
The more so for the frequent sight
Of homeward-headed revellers, tight
And waxing verbal.
One stopped, and asked me for a light
For something ‘herbal’… 
I drew the odd uncivil jest
From trendy cliques in party best
Who were distinctly unimpressed
By my appearance;
I scowled, and scorned “such shallowness"
With silent vehemence. 
Towards the centre of the town
Were several nightclubs of renown
Where people were still ‘getting down’
And stumbling out.
Kebabs and vomit spread the ground
For miles about. 
I saw it all — this scattered world;
I saw my substance paralleled;
But my admittance was withheld…
Nor did I rue it.
The world and I would never meld
And we both knew it. 
So I retraced, with heavy heart,
At which the skies saw fit to part
And drench the world and I with marked
The rain, unrivalled in the art
Of humane parity. 
It drenched, and purged the sullied streets
From every trace of festal feats —
A chastisement, of sorts, which metes
A mercy also.
The world made swift in its retreats…
I lingered, slow. 
Carolyn Whitnall, 2014

See Job 37:1-13 ("... he does great things that we cannot comprehend. For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour. ... Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen") and Isaiah 45:5-8 ("... I am the LORD, who does all these things. Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness ...").

[Thumbnail image cc from Dominic's pics on Flickr]


Popular posts from this blog

An autobiographical poem about walking on water

A decade ago, give or take – feeling at crisis point in my mental health and desperately socially disconnected – I "went up for prayer" at a church I was visiting. (I find it hard to do this at my own church when I feel desperately socially disconnected. It's hard enough even to be at my own church at such times). And the gentle, kindly woman who placed her hand on my shoulder and prayed some simple, general, healing words to suit my simple, general, hurting plea looked thoughtfully at me afterwards and said "just, if and when you can, keep taking each next step towards Jesus, whatever that looks like," or words to that effect. It seemed as good a plan as any, so I did. (Not instead of getting medical and professional help, I hasten to add; seeking out and receiving whatever support is available has always felt more like an action of faith than a compromise of it).

Since then, stepping towards Jesus has taken me (slowly, often painfully, and usually the long w…

The Sin of Onan

Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death. Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.” But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death also. (Genesis 38:6-10) According to Google's answer to what (let's face it) must be right up there among the most-asked questions since the invention of the search engine, this story is the closest the Bible comes to saying anything directly about masturbation.

And it isn't a story about masturbation. It's not even a story, not really, about birth control methods – although they feature. It's a story about the denial of ju…

(Come in under the shadow of this red rock)

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.  (T.S. Eliot, from The Waste Land, part I: The Burial of the Dead,1922) These lines have lingered in my mind the past few days. Eliot wrote The Waste Land in the years following the First World War, when the landscape of humanity seemed perhaps particularly stark and bleak. The poem resounds with disquiet and despair: all glimpsed respite turns out to be illusory or faltering; it seems improbable that any grounds for real hope exist at all. Eliot …