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stones before the ocean

posted 8 Jan 2017, 08:38 by Fran Brady   [ updated 8 Jan 2017, 09:26 ]
I have had the honour of appearing in a worship anthology, called 'Stones Before the Ocean', alongside such venerable names as Charles Wesley (And Can it be?) and John Newton (Amazing Grace). Here are my three published poems in it:

1.    This poem came to me while I was sitting in a communion service on the Thursday of Holy week. As Jesus prepared himself for the death that awaited him the next day and the disciples continued to be as obtuse as ever, did he have doubts about the success and lasting efficacy of his short mission on earth? Or was it always intended to be just the beginning . . .


three years was all he had

to reveal the infinite ages of God

walking distance was all he had

to cover light years of knowledge and truth

simple, illiterate folk

to teach the complexity of His plan

arrogant, hostile scholars

to teach the simplicity of his love


 when they nailed him to the cross

did he hang there wondering

is it enough? It is finished -

but have they really grasped it?

that was when he knew that

revelation could not end


Christianity is not a finished product

to be analysed, preserved and taught

it is a living language always evolving

like modern Italian to classical Latin

so our living faith to old texts

the goldmine goes on giving

2.   This poem came to me at a ‘spiritual creativity’ conference about three years ago. The room was full of artists and I felt inadequate. How could anything I might write possibly compare with the beautiful artwork I could see evolving around me?        I took my feelings to God:

already given

fill me up , Lord; empty vessel, me

colour me pretty, Lord; blank canvas, me

mould and sculpt me, Lord; potters’ clay, me

light me up, Lord; space of shadows, me

delight my ears, Lord; silent and deaf, me

open up my life, Lord; limited, shuttered me


what is this empty, colourless lump of clay?

what is this shadowy, silent, closed-up box?

I do not know it or recognise

its place in my creation

I have poured out my spirit upon you

I have shone forth my power upon you

I have lit you up with the colours of love

I have sounded out my clarion call

a vibrant drum roll

to shatter your shutters

and rupture your limits

I have planted eternity in your heart


why go on asking and asking?

I tire of your demands

for the already-given

now listen to MY demands:

be full

be bright

be shaped

be lit up

be full of music

be open wide

live the life

for ME


3.  This poem expresses my sadness that the thrill I felt when I first found Jesus has somehow been commuted to dutiful routines and even boredom; but also my realisation that God is as sad as me about this as I am. He is still offering the thrill; why am I turning away from it?


remember first love?

remembering to breathe

forgetting to hide

aching void that filled up with a rush

and emptied back fast into pain

counting the moments till the next rush

not wanting to tell of it

not able to stop with it

carrying a fire so deep that it charred

my innermost innermost


how did it happen?

how did it become normal,

blunted into routine?

wonder turned into duty

toil verging on tedium

watching the clock, awaiting escape

nothing to talk about

no news to share

dousing the smouldering ashes 

in my innermost innermost


can I find it again

that breathless first love,

recapture the first careless rapture?

He has no need of my love

why would God almighty need me?

But He wants it, He yearns for it

offers new kindling for the ashes

pure gold for base metal

red-hot love for cold duty

why not take it? why not?

what is it I am afraid of

in my innermost innermost?

The anthology is over 200 pages of inspirational writing of all kinds, stretching across centuries and continents. You can download it as an ebook for free or buy it from various bookselling sites. Find out about it and read the introduction from its curator at