Frog

There once was a frog
Who got lost in the fog
As he made his way over the road
He hopped and he hopped
But then his jaw dropped
As he saw that his boat had been towed
He’d parked on the side
Of a river so wide
And he thought that it would be ok
But a grumpy old coot
Thought it would be a hoot
To carry his rowboat away

(c) Rich Clarkson 2017

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Bible Memory Poem II (The Gospels)

As a boy Jesus loved to learn all about God
Told his friends: “follow me, fish for people, not cod!”
When people in need came to him he would heal them
And teaching the crowds he’d take truths and reveal them
His miracles they were the talk of the town
And his stories could make people think, laugh and frown
“Who is this amazing man?” asked everyone
Only Peter knew how to reply: “he’s God’s son!”
“Yes I am”, Jesus said, “I’m the truth, the life, the way”
Then “our Father in Heaven” he taught them to pray
The crowds cheered, but some of them weren’t so impressed
And after the last supper they came for his arrest
They killed him and buried him but that wasn’t the end
Jesus rose from the dead so now God is our friend!

(c) Rich Clarkson 2016

Bible Memory Poem I (The Old Testament)

In the beginning God made it all
Then Abraham and Sarah followed God’s call
But their family was messy – Jacob tricked Esau
And Joseph went to Egypt following dreams he saw.
The Egyptians enslaved them but God called out Moses
Who led them to freedom from under their noses.
God gave them commandments to show right from wrong
And judges – like Deborah – to help them along.
Ruth was a foreigner but God called her in
And her great-grandson David became their best king.
But some kings forgot God so to exile they went
Then God called Isaiah, and a message he sent:
“I’m coming myself to show you the way”
And so God became a baby on the first Christmas day.

(c) Rich Clarkson 2016

Blessing

May the God of beginnings,
fresh starts and clean slates
be with you wherever you go.
May the God of kind strangers
and not-yet-met friends
greet you as you walk this new road

May the God of remembering,
of sadness and loss,
hold your hand as you say your goodbyes.
May the God of the unknown,
the uncertain, the unsure,
guide your steps under unfamiliar skies.

May you know you are called,
May you know you are loved,
and – whether or not it feels true –
may you know beyond knowing
and trust beyond words
In God’s promises and purposes for you.

(c) Rich Clarkson, 2016

St Anthony

I’m sure I had a thought but now it’s gone
Before my mind could let it take full shape,
It will forever stay a thing half formed
Unwilling or unable to escape.

I’m sure I had my keys right in my hand,
I picked them up before I left the house!
Now I’m locked out – I just don’t understand!
I’d better get my phone and ring my spouse…

I’m sure I put my shoes back in that box
When I got home from work this afternoon,
But now I’m in the garden in my socks
hanging washing out beneath the moon.

I’m sure I left my diary over there –
I had it out while I was on the phone,
But now it’s disappeared, I don’t know where.
My pencil’s there still, pointedly alone.

I’ve tried mnemonics, post-it notes and rhymes,
But all those tricks were never quite enough
To counterbalance my forgetful mind
So I expect I’ll keep on losing stuff!

(c) Rich Clarkson, 2016

Abergele

The train is crowded with people and bags.
Some off on holiday, some off to work,
Some are just wearily journeying home.
3 hours of travelling, hot stuffy trains,
And stations, and benches, and no room for knees.
I’d give anything for a breeze.

Shotton, Flint, Prestatyn, Rhyl,
All doing nothing to ease the congestion
As more and more bodies and cases and bikes
Optimistically seek just the hint of a space.
Then, gripping my bag, I head for the door.
A traveller no more.

I’d hoped for a breeze.
A breath of fresh air.
And for a moment on the platform it was there.

Then stepping out from the station’s shelter into the helter-skelter of a howling gale I see clouds, pale with fright, taking flight and even the sand tries to flee from the land and I wonder what danger lies over the hills…

Shoulders. hunched. Pressing. On.
Every. step. hard. won.

As I make my way along the shore,
Steadily gaining ground against the wind
In the distance caravans lie, pinned
Like specimens in some museum drawer,
Neatly lined and labeled. That is where
I’m heading, if the air allows me through.
A sanctuary. A haven. Overdue
Respite from the burdens of elsewhere.

Into the sea the sun quietly slides
And, for a moment, I see its treasure glinting on the tide.

(c) Rich Clarkson 2016

For Wendy

Some days the sunlight sparkles off the sea,
scattering its jewels through rising mist
then, safely gathered, like the memory
of summer or a child’s cheek newly kissed,
It lodges in the eye and in the heart,
A glint of hope when worlds are torn apart.
Yet days like these are rare, most days will not
be quite so fine or filled with fire. Most days
prefer to temper “what could be” with “what
is now”, cloaking life’s gold with winter greys.
A shadow falls. A smile fades. A friend,
through tears, marks the beginning of an end.
But endings are like evenings. Even night
Is pregnant with dawn’s promise of new light.

© Rich Clarkson 2017

Knitted

In my mother’s womb you knitted me
My fabric fashioned from your own design.
As weft and warp were woven, even then
You knew what this frail form would one day be.
Each stitch, with love and care, was intertwined
And tied off with a heavenly “Amen!”.
But some threads are no longer firmly tied,
and edges, over time, have become frayed,
causing                   gaps to appear
revealing the unravelling inside.
We may indeed be “wonderfully made”,
but “fearfully” at times gives way to fear
yet one day God will take this threadbare frame
and weave it into beauty once again.

© Rich Clarkson 2017

Coddiwomple

It was dark outside but with one pull
Of the bell the train slid to a stop
I leapt out and began to coddiwomple
In search of a hoped-for shop
I knew there was one near the station
So set of with a purposeful stride
To my as-yet-unknown destination
And the treasures awaiting inside.

(c) Rich Clarkson 2017

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