When I first started writing my way through the church calendar back in 2012, I found that one English poet, John Keble, had beaten me to it in 1827. So I decided to pay tribute to him instead of trying to outdo him. The opening sequence of poems in Keble’s The Christian Year refers again and again to the way that our days and seasons “swell” with the expectancy of God’s glory. And so this seemed an apt image to use in my own cycle of poems.
In 2013, John Keble’s memorial day in the church calendar happened to fall on Good Friday. So here is a snippet from the poem that I wrote that day in memory of him:
If we could pause the swelling of our years
Enough to let our wounds rest in his wounds,
We might find hiding places for our shame
And tissue torn to daub up all our tears.
There all our sorrows sound their sweetest tunes
Within the broken triumph of his Name.
Stay tuned for more samples from The Swelling Year, and sign up to the mailing list via the “Contact” page to make sure you don’t miss any updates on the project’s progress.
Well, I’m in the throes of sorting through and collating six years of poems at the moment, and this one from 2016 struck me as fitting for both the time of year and this season of life. Stay tuned for more tasters of what will be in the anthology…
Resolution: Slow Fruit
Nothing purposed is instant. Fruit grows
first by roots spreading deep,
nutrients drawn, sunlight synthesised,
chlorophyll taking glory from green.
Look to the fig tree. If you see its buds,
Summer’s promise dangles, yet is not realised.
a kitten’s ball of yarn, or a note
waiting to resolve, a game
of slow expectancy.
New year brings blossoms
but fruit is never instant. Trees
ask for patient expectation.
Come here daily; look to leaves
yet wait before you pick.
Thanks for visiting!
This is the home page for my forthcoming book project, “The Swelling Year: Poems for Holy and Ordinary Days”.
The book will gather together poems written over the last six years, coming out of a growing interest in the ancient seasons of the church’s liturgical year and how these can shape our devotional lives.
These poems began with my “Swelling Year” project, back in 2012, when I started writing my way through each day of the Anglican church calendar. After I came full cycle through the year, I decided to keep going – not every day, but regularly revisiting the seasons of the year and the people, events, stories and themes that the calendar remembers.
At the start of 2019, I decided it was time to bring together the best of these six years of “writing liturgically”, and this site will be the place for updates on the project, including the launch (coming soon…!) of a crowdfunding campaign to get the book into people’s hands, on their devices and on their bookshelves. Please hit “Follow” and subscribe here if you want to know more, and spread the word to others who you think will be interested.
Meanwhile, you can find regular pieces of my writing at my home blog, The Consolations of Writing.
I hope to see you all here again soon!