Monday, 15 December 2014

i saw myself last night

I saw myself last night
I was tiny
Not of great height
But the sight
Of seeing me
Full of perfect simplicity
Before the darkness of the fight
Before the blackness of the night
Of all the woes
The rains on earth
I was breathing free
Not shackled in dirt

And in all my knowledge
And worldly gain
She knew not any pain
And as I stood there looking down
I knew she was wiser 
Than my learned 
Heavy brow

For though I know how to tie my shoe
She knows all that is true
And while I sit counting the days
She abounds in endless play
When I am sorry and crying so
She is full of a golden hope
And when I am angry and bitter to the core
Her heart overflows with a love so sure

For she cast her troubles before they came
She hid her treasures where none could take
She is all the delights of her Father's heart
Never once are they a-part

O dear little I
May I too find
That sweet wonder
That definite sight
Of our Father's own heavenly light
And store it also within my heart
For each day and each night
Of my old 

Joanna Grace

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

when the weathermen get it wrong

Man traps and frames and captures and tames
But a wilderness is forever wild.

When the rain pours with hours long,
And the weathermen get it wrong.
When the rising river presents her tongue,
When the sea shows she is more strong.
I smile at nature's furious song,
And am glad when man's predictions are un-done.

The flood waters, the rippling mud,
Of what she does, you must not judge.
The wandering bolts, the un-mapped deep,
The roaming, roaring tempest,
The frothing force that never sleeps.

Eventually the wind blows you hollow,
And you are left with nothing but sorrow.

You may have conquered here and there,
Invaded, killed, and were not aware.

But now Nature speaks with full command,
Even though you hear, you do not understand.
You go on marking, breaking, fencing land,
So now you will see the wrath of Nature's hand.

- Joanna Grace

Thursday, 2 October 2014


Well, here I am back in the centre of things, that is physically.
I'm a little further out mentally or emotionally or spiritually, on the edge of things, you might say; leaning away from the curve of the pavement; beyond the racing cars with their faces steely blue, and out beyond the railway track, floating above the pollution; somewhere.
Physically I must remain I suppose.
For a time anyhow.
It will go.
Falling back in step with the striding angular shoulder blades and the clickety-clack of the step upon hard ground, but I don't really want to fall in.
I want to wander.
There are croaking bloated coughs here, eyes sore from artificial light, they do not seem to grow with the green- the evergreen.
They are stunted in their musing, in their singing and their dancing.
But here I am in the centre of things.
Things being here.
Here being things.
And around and around it goes.

but, really, I have flown away to sweeter days...

Friday, 15 August 2014

to an unknown soldier

haven't moved much from where we last said goodbye. But now, the wind howls and presses the breath out of me; it no longer ebbs calmly at my elbows as it did then. We used to sit here with our feet dangling over the bridge, watching the steady flow of river tumble out to sea.

Years have danced before me since those fast hot days, the last summer before it all. I hate time when it dances like that, taunting me, telling me how late I am and always, always, how gentle you were.  

I grow old and so do you, but your skin does not fall from your bones like mine will, or your hair drain of its colour as mine should, and your head won't ache and your hands tremble no more, because you grow without the gravity of age; you grow in beauty just as the barley ripens and falls back into the earth again and again and again.

Some nights I won’t sleep - I’ll just sit on my sill, my feet dangling out of the window. But now, the nightingale won’t sing and the moths bump into me; their feathery pallor scares me. And I’m a stranded rock and all I can do is wish I had arms so I could hold tight to the last ribbon of fraying seaweed attached to me, just hoping the river will change its course so it could never be swept away. But the water pushes faster and harder with every winter and you have almost gone.

I try to tell them. They never listen: they do it again and again and again. You said you couldn't understand how bodies were so fragile until you saw that there was no wall between life and death, skin and blood. I’m sorry beloved that the sorrows of sorry and the weeping of one hundred years haven’t ended it. The disease of war invades each of us and death streams from our voices like flares plunging into inky blackness.

 But you wouldn't like it here now. Things are rushed and loud, never gentle, not now.

When you watched from the train, the day you went away, you saw it all: the shy English soil slipping away. Now the oak is stooping with the years and your name upon her bark is almost cracking apart. But it hasn’t gone and you’re in each one; in each flower dancing wild and pure in this valley, in the clouds that grow heavy and with the rising of the sun. Your whispers move the barley husk. You sigh with the coming and going of the tide, reaching me, feeling me, watching me, keeping me.

But still, I cannot stop the shadows crawling or the rooks clawing at the earth, and I am sucked further into sinking dirt, when I think of you telling me,

I’ll go, because then you’ll be free.

-Joanna Grace

Sunday, 10 August 2014

never saw blue like that before


Gusty wind today. All the valley bends and groans under the weight of the years. Clouds scudding on by, sailing up above me. I went walking to the river and sat on a rock. Saw the otter watch me then glide easily into the water. Her fur was puckered and jagged from the wet drops rolling off her back.

Then, of course, the splendour of the Kingfisher, fleeting, shooting above the river into the safety of the orange banks of mud. Her colour always surprises me; such a bright, electric blue. Glimmering she was, as the sun dropped through the clouds.

Then down under the great brick bridge where there is a mighty waterfall, and the cars sailing over the top, cannot be heard. Wrote my name there, with the blood of a blackberry.

Now here am I, writing as though I were Virginia Woolf, and you, her diary. Full of her today though, always am whenever I see her Kingfisher. Her unspoken favorite.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Monday 24th March 1941

A curious seaside feeling in the air today. It reminds me of lodgings on a parade at Easter. Everyone leaning against the wind, nipped and silenced.
All pulp removed.
This windy corner. And Nessa is at Brighton, and I am imagining how it would be if we could infuse souls.
Octavia's story. Could I englobe it somehow? English youth in 1900.
L. is doing the rhododendrons . . .

Virginia Woolf

Friday, 8 August 2014

Saturday 8th March 1941

No: I intend no introspection. I mark Henry James's sentence: Observe perpetually. Observe the oncome of age. Observe greed. Observe my own despondency. By that means it becomes serviceable. Or so I hope. I insist upon spending this time to the best advantage. I will go down with my colours flying. This I see verges on introspection; but doesn't quite fall in. Occupation is essential. And now with some pleasure I find that its seven; and must cook dinner. Haddock and sausage meat. I think it is true that one gains a certain hold on sausage and haddock by writing them down.
Oh dear yes, I shall conquer this mood. Its a question of letting things come one after another. Now to cook the haddock.


Thursday, 7 August 2014

Easter Sunday 24th March 1940

Wobbly like one of the spring lambs in my legs. And its refreshing and rejuvenating to see the gold thick clumps of crocuses, and the unopened green daffodils, and to hear my Asheham rooks dropping their husky caws through the gummy air. The twig carrying has begun, and this goes on while all the guns are pointed and charged and no one dares pull the trigger. Not a sound this evening to bring in the human tears. I remember the sudden profuse shower one night just before war which made me think of all men and women weeping.


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Monday 28th August 1939

I stay out here, after bowls, to say - what? on this possibly last night of peace. Will the 9 o'clock bulletin end it all? - our lives, oh yes, and everything for the next fifty years? Everyone's writing I suppose about this last day. I walked on the downs; lay under a cornstack and looked at the empty land and the pinkish clouds in a perfect blue summer afternoon sky. Not a sound. Workmen discussing war on the road - one for it, one against. For us its like being on a small island. Neither of us has any physical fear. Why should we? But there's a vast calm cold gloom. And the strain. Like waiting for a doctor's verdict. And the young- young men smashed up. But the point is one is too numbed to think. Old Clive sitting on the terrace, says 'I don't want to live through it.' Explains that his life recedes. Has had the best. We privately are so content. Bliss day after day. So happy cooking dinner, playing bowls. No feeling of patriotism. How to go on, through war? - that's the question. Yes, it's a lovely still summer evening; not a sound. A swallow came into the sitting room.  


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Monday 7th August 1939

Oh and I thought, as I was dressing, how interesting it would be to describe the approach of age, and the gradual coming of death. As people describe love. To note every symptom of failure: but why failure? To treat age as an experience that is different from the others; and to detect every one of the gradual stages towards death which is a tremendous experience, and not as unconscious, at least in its approaches, as birth is.


Monday, 4 August 2014

Tuesday 11th April 1939

Roasting hot: birds achirp: butterflies. I am reading Dickens; by way of a refresher. Also I'm reading Rochefoucauld. Chaucer I take at need. So if I had any time - but perhaps next week will be more solitudinous - I should if it weren't for the war - glide my way up and up in to that exciting layer so rarely lived in: where my mind works so quick is seems asleep; like the aeroplane propellers.


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Tuesday 31st january 1939

A very sensible day yesterday. Saw no one. Took bus to Southwark Bridge. Walked along Thames Street; saw a flight of steps down to the river. I climbed down - a rope at the bottom. Found the strand of the Thames, under the warehouses - strewn with stones, bits of wire, slippery; ships lying off the bridge. Very slippery; warehouse walls crusted, weedy, worn. The river must cover them at high tide. It was now low. People on bridge stared. Difficult walking. A rat haunted, riverine place, great chains, wooden pillars, green slime, bricks corroded, a button hook thrown up by the tide. A bitter cold wind. Thought of the refugees from Barcelona walking forty miles, one with a baby in a parcel.


Saturday, 2 August 2014

Wednesday 18th January 1939

I am going walking and adventuring, going to see pictures of an afternoon; and often come face to face, after tea, at odd moments, with the idea of death and age. Why not change the idea of death into an exciting experience? - as one did marriage in youth? Age is baffled today by my creative gift - still abubble. And then the steady passion with which I now read . . . A rainy day. Rain real wet drops: white splashing from the road.


Friday, 1 August 2014

Saturday 18th December 1937

How much do I mind death? I wondered last night, and concluded that there is a sense in which the end could be accepted calmly. That's odd, considering that few people are more immensely interested by life: and happy. It's Julian's death that makes one sceptical of life I suppose. Not that I ever think of him as dead: which is queer. Rather as if he were jerked abruptly out of sight, without rhyme or reason: so violent and absurd that one can't fit his death into any scheme. But here we are, on a fine cold day, going to mate Sally at Ickenham: a saner proceeding than to analyse here.


Thursday, 31 July 2014

Saturday 27th March 1937

Merely scribing here, over a log fire, on a cold but bright Easter morning; sudden shafts of sun, a scatter of snow on the hills early; sudden storms, ink black, octopus pouring, coming up: and the rooks fidgeting and pecking in the elm trees. As for the beauty, as I always say when I walk the terrace after breakfast, too much for one pair of eyes. We came down on Thursday, packed in the rush in London; cars spinning all along the roads; yesterday at last perfect freedom from telephones and reviews, and no one rang up.


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Saturday 31st December 1932

Yes, of course this autumn has been a tremendous revelation. It was a great sense of liberation. Well - it is always doubtful how far one human being can be free. However, I secured a season of intoxicating exhilaration. Nor do I intend to let myself pay for it with the usual black despair. I intend to circumvent that supervening ghost - that which always trails its damp wings behind my glories. I shall be very wary. To suppress oneself and run freely out in joy - such is the perfectly infallible and simple prescription. And to use one's hands and eyes; to talk to people; to be a straw on the river, now and then - passive, not striving to say this is this. If one does not lie back and sum up and say to the moment, this very moment, Stay you are so fair, what will be ones gain, dying? No: stay, this moment. No one ever says that enough. I am now going in, to see L. and say Stay this moment.


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Monday 13th June 1932

Back from a good week-end at Rodmell - a week end of no talking, sinking at once into deep safe book reading; and then sleep: with the may tree like a breaking wave outside; and never a person to be seen, never an interruption: the place to ourselves: the long hours.


Monday, 28 July 2014

Friday 4th January 1929

Now is life very solid, or very shifting? I am haunted by the two contradictions. This has gone on forever: will last forever; goes down to the bottom of the world - this moment I stand on. Also it is transitory, flying, diaphanous. I shall pass like a cloud on the waves. I am impressed by the transitoriness of human life to such an extent that I am often saying a farewell - after dinner with Roger for instance; or reckoning how many more times I shall see Nessa.


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sunday 12th August 1928

Yesterday at Charleton we had tea from bright blue cups under the pink light from the giant hollyhock. We were all a little drugged with the country: a little bucolic I thought. It was lovely enough - made me envious of its country peace: the trees all standing securely - why did my eye catch the trees? The look of things has a great power over me. Even now, I have to watch the rooks beating up against the wind, which is high. And still I say to myself instinctively 'What's the phrase for that?' But what a little I can get down with my pen of what is so vivid to my eye.


Saturday, 26 July 2014

Tuesday 20th December 1927

Nessa's children's party last night. The little creatures' acting moved my infinitely sentimental throat. And yet oddly enough I scarcely want children of my own now. This insatiable desire to write something before I die, this ravaging sense of the shortness and feverishness of life, make me cling, like a man on a rock, to my one anchor. I don't like the physicalness of having children of one's own. I can dramatise myself as a parent, it is true, And perhaps I have killed the feeling instinctively; as perhaps nature does...
Yes, I repeat, a very happy, a singularly happy autumn.


Friday, 25 July 2014

Monday 21st March 1927

Edith Sitwell came to tea: transparent like some white bone someone picks up on a moor, with sea water stones on her long frail hands which slide into yours much narrower than one expects like a folded fan. She has pale gemlike eyes; and is dressed, on a windy March day, in three decker skirts of red spotted cotton. She half shuts her eyes; coos an odd little laugh. All is very tapering and pointed, the nose running on like a mole. She said I was a great writer, which pleased me. So sensitive to everything in people and books she said. She got talking about her mother blaspheming in the nursery, hysterical; terrible; setting Edith to kill bluebottles.She is a curious product, likeable to me: sensitive, etiolated, affectionate, lonely, having to thread her way (there is something ghostlike and angular about her) home to Bayswater to help cook dinner. In other ages she would have been a cloistered nun; or an eccentric excluded country old maid.


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Saturday 20th March 1926

But what is to become of all these diaries, I asked myself yesterday. If I died, what would Leo make of them? He would be disinclined to burn them; he could not publish them. Well, he should make up a book from them, I think; and then burn the body. I daresay there is a little book in them; if the scraps and scratches were straightened out a little. God knows. This is dictated by a slight melancholia, which comes upon me sometimes now, and makes me think I am old; I am ugly; I am repeating things. Yet, as far as I know, as a writer I am only now writing out my mind.


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Friday 15th August 1924

I don't often trouble now to describe cornfields and groups of harvesting women in loose blues and reds and little staring yellow frocked girls. But that's not my eyes' fault; coming back the other evening from Charleston, again all my nerves stood upright, flushed, electrified (what's the word?) with the sheer beauty - beauty abounding and superabounding, so that one almost resents it, not being capable of catching it all, and holding it all at the moment.


Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Friday 17th February 1922

I meant to write about death, only life came breaking in as usual. I like, I see, to question people about death. I have taken it into my head that I shan't live till seventy. Suppose, I said to myself the other day, this pain over my heart suddenly wrung me out like a dish cloth and left me dead? - I was feeling sleepy, indifferent, and calm; and so thought it didn't much matter, except for L. Then, some bird or light, I daresay, or waking wider, set me off wishing to live - wishing chiefly to walk along the river and look at things.


Monday, 21 July 2014

Sunday 5th December 1920

Then both so popular, so well known, so much respected - and Leonard forty, and I nearing it, so there's not much to boast of. In my heart, too, I prefer the nondescript anonymous days of youth. I like youthful minds; and the sense that no one's yet anybody.


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Monday 25th October 1920

(first day of winter time). Why is life so tragic; so like a little strip of pavement over an abyss? I look down; I feel giddy; I wonder how I am ever to walk to the end. But why do I feel this? Now that I say it I don't feel it. The fire burns; we are going to the Beggar's Opera. Only it lies about me; I can't keep my eyes shut.It's a feeling of impotence: of cutting no ice. Here I sit at Richmond, and like a lantern stood in the middle of a field my light goes up in darkness. Melancholy diminishes as I write. Why then don't I write it down oftener? Well, one's vanity forbids. I want to appear a success even to myself. Yet I don't get to the bottom of it. It's having no children, living away from friends, failing to write well, spending too much on food, growing old - I think too much of the whys and wherefores; too much of myself. I don't like time to flap round me. Well then, work. Yes, but I so soon tire of work - can't read more than a little, an hours writing is enough for me. Out here no one comes in to waste time pleasantly. If they do, I'm cross. The labour of going to London is too great. Nessa's children grow up, and I can't have them in to tea, or go to the zoo. Pocket money doesn't allow of much. yet I'm persuaded that these are trivial things: it's life itself, I think sometimes, for us in our generation so tragic -  no newspaper placard without its shriek of agony from some one. Unhappiness is everywhere: just beyond the door; or stupidity which is worse. Still I don't pluck the nettle out of me. To write Jacob's Room again will revive my fibres, I feel. And with it all how happy I am - if it weren't for my feeling that it is a strip of pavement over an abyss.


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Wednesday 7th January 1920

L. has spent most of his time pruning the apple trees, and tying plums to the wall. To do this he wears two jackets, two pairs of gloves; even so the cold bites through. These last days have been like frozen water, ruffled by the wind into atoms of ice against the cheek; then, in the shelter, forming around you in a still pond.


Friday, 18 July 2014

Wednesday 30th October 1918

Just in from a walk in the Park on this incredibly lovely autumn day. We talked of peace: how the sausage balloons will be hauled down, and the gold coins dribble in; and how soon people will forget all about the war, and the fruits of our victory will grow as dusty ornaments under glass cases in lodging-house drawing rooms.


Thursday, 17 July 2014

Wednesday 18th September 1918

I saw them from behind, a shabby, homely, dowdy couple, marching with the uncertain step of strength just beginning to fail, she clutching his arm, and looking much older than he, in her angularity. Their clothes looked ill dusted, and their eyes peering in front of them.


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Sunday 8th September 1918

Poor old Bunny! He is as if caked with earth, stiff as a clod; you can almost see the docks and nettles sprouting from his mind; his sentences creak with rust. He can only lay hands on the simplest words. However by dint of kindly treatment we softened him. We wanted to know about mushrooms; and upon all funguses he is an authority.


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Sunday 3rd January 1915

I think patriotism is a base emotion. By this I mean that they played a National Anthem and a hymn, and all I could feel was the entire absence of emotion in myself and everyone else. If the British spoke openly about WC's, and copulation, then they might be stirred by universal emotions. As it is, an appeal to feel together is hopelessly muddled by intervening greatcoats and fur coats.I begin to loathe my kind, principally from looking at their faces in the tube. Really raw red beef and silver herrings give me more pleasure to look upon.


Monday, 14 July 2014

Virginia Woolf

Yesterday was an incredibly emotional day, full of splendour but also sadness. I came to the end of the diaries of Virginia Woolf; the genius modernist author of the 20th Century.
I had been living with her, in her every day jottings for many weeks, trying to read as much as I could squeeze into an evening after work. I feel so privileged to have been able to get hold of these diaries, these very personal outpourings from her day to day life. I read from 1915 up until the day before she tragically drowned herself.

What can I say about such an incredible artist? She filled the world with her words, her thoughts, the things she saw and loved. She has given me many things: first of all she would always try to 'find the phrase' for things, 'things I see'. I love this, when you write yourself you see the relevance of finding the words to describe on your tongue. When I see wonder or beauty or ugliness, anything that touches me, I shall try to find the phrase for it.
 Secondly she had a wonderful talent at describing people; the way they looked or found a metaphor for the way their smile worked, such fluent unforgettable pictures were conjured up in my head because of her literate, imaginative mind. She would sit listening to her guests and would describe them in her mind, thinking all the time of how fascinating everyone was.
 Thirdly, she has encouraged me to write all the time. To keep writing, even when busy, just to write, write write, think and write, speak it out, write it down, that is how we grow in our gifts.
 Fourthly, she adored her friends and family so much, in a simple straight forward way that they knew she needed them and they needed her.
 And finally, there is the fact that underneath she was an ordinary human being with extraordinary talent; she was humble; refusing publicity, literary honours. She lived every day to find something that was worth that living.

 She has touched my life because her soul runs through everything she writes and I couldn't help but think I knew her, as an intimate friend.

So to thank Virginia for her time with me and to show the world how beautiful she was and still is, I would like to post one quote, every day from her diary for the next couple of weeks. These entries are ones that inspired me, fascinating me or just brought something to life.

So Virginia- here's to you.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

still wild

We are wild but tamed by television, controlled by Captain Clock, hemmed in by routine and obedience to petty convention. The more suffocatingly enclosed we are, the louder our wild genes scream in misery, aggression, anger and despair. In wildness is our self-willed, self-governing freedom, and such wild freedom blossoms within us, bubbles over with an anarchic ivresse of feeling. And we glint when the wild light shines. 

Jay Griffiths (Wild)


my mothersea

I know my mother's mothering was like the sea and she flooded beyond the bounds of her separate self into me and my sisters and brother, and I know that her love was a flowing water that knew no dry borders, for she was not like the sea, but she was the sea, as she carried us our nine months each, and in our childhoods her motherlove was open silverwater for us five fish to swim in.

- Jay Griffiths (Wild)

Friday, 28 March 2014

i can't forgive

I have just finished reading Corrie ten Boom's amazing autobiography, 'The Hiding Place'. She re-tells the horrors she had to face in WW2 and her punishment for hiding Jews in her home. The book speaks of the miracles that happened to her and her sister whilst they endured in a concentration camp and how even in the most vile suffering they found things to praise God for.

In the last few paragraphs Corrie writes about a time when she met, after many years, one of the prison guards at the camp. When she looked upon him, all the old memories came flooding back to her and with them hatred welled within her. He had come to thank her for her message, of how even a sinner like himself could be saved and forgiven because of Jesus. And Corrie realised right there and then that she couldn't forgive him. But God showed her that he had forgiveness enough for him, that Jesus had died for this man, would she ask for more than that? God showed her that only through His love could she love this former prison guard. That only through God's strength was she ever going to forgive him.

Throughout my life I have heard people say 'well God helped me to forgive', statements like that never truly applied to me because the only enemies I had when I was younger was when I would fall out with one of my siblings. But over the past years,weeks and months I have grown angry. Passions stirred within me of righteous anger, anger that I didn't really know what to do with. There were so many things I couldn't handle, I saw evil everywhere I turned, and the rock of my life, my own family, were even falling apart. I grew tired, I had had enough, I couldn't take it any more, then I realised through the suffering that I really needed God. Not just to know God, not just to think about him and praise him and tell others about him, but to actually help me to live this life in the way that he planned for me to. Because only when you have been through suffering do you realise that it was all 'you' before, it was you trying in your own strength to love, to forgive, to heal, to make better. Then when you come to the end you break down and weep. You fall on your knees and say 'I just can't forgive him any more, he's broken my heart too many times. I don't think it's fair on me any more, it's just not 'human' to love him after this!' That's when God says 'I know and I've watched you carry all of that, I didn't take it from you because I wanted you to come to this place, to see me now. To realise that I'm here with more than enough love to give, that's what I do- I am love, I have an eternal love, an ever-lasting love that will overcome all evil and cleanse every sinner white as snow. I can love him for you, I can forgive him for you. Through me and me only will you realise you can.'

This is remarkable, don't you think so? Our heavenly father takes our burdens for us and loves us so much, he will help us overcome all trials, more than help us, he will forgive our enemies for us- with us!

Corrie ten Boom said that as soon as she offered her bitterness and her hatred to God, he poured through her a warmth and in an instant she could look upon that prison gaurd with love! She didn't try in her weak human efforts, she let God try, and there was love unlike any other. Corrie says that never are the floodgates so open to the ocean of God's love, than when one's loving one's enemies.

I encourage you, who will have problems and trials all of your own in this life, to just stop and cry out to our heavenly father who longs for us to surrender to him. So that you too can experience this true freedom found only through divine love.


3 curses of the fall

Thinking about old curses today, looking at the Bible itself. The curses I'm going to talk about are the notorious ones in Genesis chapter 3, entitled 'the fall'.

To Eve, God said "I will make your pains in child bearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." And to Adam God said "Cursed is the ground because of you (...) it will produce thorns and thistles for you and ... you will return to dust from where you came."

We know that these curses were given because of sin and because Adam and Eve chose to know good from bad, and sin from holiness. With that sin has to come punishment, that is death. But praise God- Jesus has redeemed us and makes us holy without having to die first, if only we believe in him. But though (if we love Jesus) we are living under the freedom found in Christ, we still must endure the hardships of this world, this same world where Eve and Adam were placed  in the fall. So we are still living in 'the fall'.

Humans try to make things better in the world, but because of the fall we cannot escape these curses. These curses remind us that this world is not eternal and that one day we will all be set free and reign together as daughters and sons of Christ; co-heirs with him.

So, looking at the 3 curses above, I will get to my point.
The 1st curse- humans try to make toiling on the land easier, correct? New technology is invented to make farming easier and though there are still thorns, we can get rid of them for a time. Farmers can battle against the toil and win, they can produce crops, though of course if nature takes over, the crops fail and things go wrong. But, man tries to combat this.

The 2nd curse is also battled with- childbirth. Doctors and midwives are creating new drugs and new techniques and tools to make it as easy as possible for expectant mothers. Of course some mothers have terrible labouring and we cannot always escape that and thus we can see that the old curse still exists, but in just the same way as the farmers, we try to make it better.

 Now we come to the final curse, the 3rd. The one that will hold most debate and argumenting. The issue of husbands having control, ownership and authority over their wives. If you look around the world you will still find this old curse in place. Some women may tell you that is 'just how it is' or that they think 'it right'.
Why does this curse withstand? Because at the core of human nature is selfishness. And the greed of power and control is seen through every human being, be it a woman or a man. You find us doing this with animals, with nature, with science. We like to be in control.
So, over the many centuries, men have flourished in this 'ownership' over their wives, claiming that it is a natural order of things. Those same people seem to forget that their wives are actually the same specie as them, and that they have the same needs and desires as any of us. It just so happened that men abused the power they had over women until the women began to think that they were different, that they were lesser human beings, etc...

I find it fascinating then, to look at the world around me and at the christians I know and to see them still living under this curse. Why try to throw 2 curses away but keep the 3rd? Is that because only men have been controlling our history? Telling the rest of the population how it should be? Because it suits them? Have they brain-washed so many of us to think it is 'natural' rather than a cultural construction made from sin?

I'm asking each one of you that reads this to be honest, why are so many of us allowing ourselves to be dictated by this curse of sin? Why aren't so many more of us making it better? Making it right?

 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

- Galatians 3:26-28


Monday, 24 February 2014

then I become sad

Spring is almost here. I know when the sun is shining because its reflects off my bathroom walls, but the sun cannot reach the other side. So I can only see the traces of light from my bedroom. I can only catch the stark outlines as the shadows move over me incessantly. All inspiration is drained of me when I am left in the darkness for too long.

Sometimes when the wind is wonderfully strong and pushes against my walls, I run to the bathroom and stand on the shelf just to peak out of the tiny window and pretend I can just catch a glimpse of the sea. I saw lights flashing, I was so sure it was the lighthouse. But in the morning I realise it wasn't the sea, and that all I could see out of the window was more flats of more windows of more concrete structures, blocking, imposing, towering over me.

Sometimes I feel so small but with this realisation comes a humility that is beautiful. I know someone else who is above and beyond all we do down here has created all existence with his very breath. And that he cares for me? Mortal brains cannot fathom!

Today I ran out to the nearest park and lay down against an oak. I could hear the traffic raging beyond the walls but the birdsong was so great that I could pretend I were in a forest somewhere where there was only the sounds of those with flight and the wind upholding them.

How other people survive here I don't know. It's like they are different beings than I, like there is some integral part of them that simply isn't alive. Spring is nearing! How can you not be a little excited?
But then I rationalise. They don't know what it feels like to live the summer with bare feet, to be in a place that doesn't exist on a man-made map, to feel the wind dancing with your body from the arms of a tree, to lie down on the earth and hear rabbits thumping somewhere, to be, to be... Free.

It's not just some nice poetical phrasing, it's true. I was born to be free and when that freedom is snipped and clipped at the edges I notice and grow angry and then I become sad.

I have learnt that just because someone is older than you or has more education than you or is more experienced than you or has had a different past than you or has been raised differently to you- they aren't better than you. They aren't more important.  We are all of the same tribe.

I don't see birds attacking their own tribe to unintentionally hurt them, to make them suffer. They protect each other in family units just like all the other animals, they build up a defence against predators from other tribes, not their own. And yet with the human race, I see us attacking each other just to hurt one another. I see girls afraid to walk the streets alone incase they are attacked, I see parents afraid to send their children out to play after school, I see so much fear, so much hate, so much hurt. It isn't right, any of it.

But we don't give up. We keep going, trying our very hardest to make things better in some way. We lift our bruised bodies up off the concrete and try again.

But I still can't help feeling that sometimes I am alone.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

on a discovered curl of hair

When your soft welcomings were said,
This curl was waving on your head,
And when we walked where breakers dinned
It sported in the sun and wind,
And when I had won your words of grace

It brushed and clung about my face.
Then, to abate the misery
Of absentness, you gave it me.

Where are its fellows now? Ah, they
For brightest brown have donned a gray,
And gone into a caverned ark,
Ever unopened, always dark!

Yet this one curl, untouched of time,
Beams with live brown as in its prime,
So that it seems I even could now
Restore it to the living brow
                                                                           By bearing down the western road
                                                                        Till I had reached your old abode. 

                                                                                                                                                        -Thomas Hardy

she opened the door

She opened the door of the West to me,
With its loud sea-lashings,
    And cliff-side clashings
Of waters rife with revelry
She opened the door of Romance to me, 
     The door from a cell
     I had known too well,
 Too long, till then, and was fain to flee
She opened the door of a Love to me, 
     That passed the wry
     World-welters by
As far as the arching blue the lea
She opens the door of the Past to me,
    Its magic lights,
    Its heavenly heights,
 When forward little is to see!

- Thomas Hardy

Sunday, 5 January 2014

enough Time?

My mind lingers on the golden water where the sailing boats reflect in glorious light.
The mermaids sing with the cooing gulls and watch from stranded seaweed rocks.
The farm house with gilded panes is set in the valley.
The hay loft in the barn.
The wet silver path waiting for ancestor to tread again.

But you, you were there watching with me.
We were existing then.
We talked and sang and ran and roared into the wind.
We smiled into the setting sun and sat and watched the waves.
You asked me
'Don't you want to stay here forever?' 

But did I hold you enough.
Did I kiss you enough.
Did I just lie with you and not wander further, enough.

Because Time slips through my fingers like rain.
It tells me to be afraid.
It whispers to me a worry
 that I haven't loved enough 
in this constant now.

Joanna Grace