What marks we shall leave upon the snow

A reflection on Charlotte Mew’s Poem ‘The Call’

From our low seat beside the fire
Where we have dozed and dreamed and watched the glow
Or raked the ashes, stopping so
We scarcely saw the sun or rain
Above, or looked much higher
Than this same quiet red or burned-out fire.
Tonight we heard a call,
A rattle on the window pane,
A voice on the sharp air,
And felt a breath stirring our hair,
A flame within us: Something swift and tall
Swept in and out and that was all.
Was it a bright or a dark angel? Who can know?
It left no mark upon the snow,
But suddenly it snapped the chain
Unbarred, flung wide the door
Which will not shut again;
And so we cannot sit here any more.
We must arise and go:
The world is cold without
And dark and hedged about
With mystery and enmity and doubt,
But we must go
Though yet we do not know
Who called, or what marks we shall leave upon the snow.

Charlotte Mew (1869-1928)

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The Now and Not Yet

A reflection on the Feast of Christ the King

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. (Matthew 25.35-36)

This coming Sunday the Church celebrates the feast of Christ the King. It is the last Sunday of the liturgical year, with Advent starting next week. We start the Christian year with looking towards Christmas, the birth of Jesus as a vulnerable baby, and we end the year by reminding ourselves of the authority of Christ as King. Although this may seem a straightforward movement from weakness to power, the opposite is true: at both occasions we see that power and weakness are not what they seem to be, and at both occasions we are reminded that what was, what is, and what will be, are inextricably linked.

Tidcombe
St Michael’s Church, Tidcombe

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Do this to remember me

A reflection on the Season of Remembrance

Beginning with All Saint’s Day today, November is a season of remembrance. We celebrate and give thanks for the holy people who have gone before us, and we remember with thanksgiving those who have died, including those who gave their lives for our freedom. Maybe also in more trivial ways, as the leaves are falling, we remember the long summer evenings and, in our melancholy, we may also think about those people who have crossed our paths but who have disappeared out of sight. Continue reading “Do this to remember me”

How beauteous mankind is!

Tempest

It is hard so sum up a day of pondering on the complexity, the beauty and the ‘messiness’ of human nature. Today, Canon Mark Oakley invited us to look at the human and divine nature through the lens of Shakespeare’s final solo play, The Tempest.

As with any truly worthwhile conversation, the more one understands of the other – in this case the characters in the play, or even the play itself – the more one realises how much we have in common. Particularly it struck me today that the answers we look for in the play, belong to questions that we need to ask ourselves and the world we live in.

What would a graceful life look like? Is justice what the most powerful enforce? Can we be truly free if we hold any power over others? What does it mean to forgive those who have hurt us and those whom we have hurt? Continue reading “How beauteous mankind is!”