In this column you will find the most recent posts unless you have selected a specific poem, meditation or collection/index in which case that single item will appear here.

Friday, 23 March 2018

News of a songbook and Cancer 4

This has been a remarkable two weeks. Last week our printer delivered 250 copies of the songbook called ‘Sing of God and Science’ that I have been compiling over the past year. It is aimed at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 children and a copy has gone to every Church of England primary school in Ely Diocese (mainly in Cambridgeshire but some in Norfolk, UK). There are nineteen songs in the book, nine of them written within schools in the Diocese; the remainder written by Barney Leeke (a fellow Licensed Lay Minister) and myself. It has drawn several favourable comments and I am in course of working out how to make it more widely available. When it is available, I will make it known here on this blog how copies can be obtained.

The compilation of the book has taken longer than we originally hoped and has happened alongside my diagnosis and treatment for Non-Hodkins Lymphoma, needing first chemotherapy and then radio-therapy. Just this week the consultant told us that he could find no residual trace of the cancer and that he thought there was a good chance it would not recur, having reached this milestone one year after treatment ended. I was moved from a four monthly to a six monthly review pattern. Wonderful news and a time for immense gratitude.

Both the treatment and the book project have entailed a lot of waiting and we have learned just how hard waiting can be, both by our own experience and through talking with some of the very many other cancer patients we met. Throughout both situations we have been very aware of being borne up in prayer by many, many friends and knowing that has undoubtedly sustained us at the more difficult times. Our grateful thanks to all of you. Alongside finding strength in this, we have also been consistently grateful for the amazing resources and the truly remarkable staff at all levels at Addenbrookes. We are so very grateful to them and I have also been profoundly grateful to Pam who has watched over me with a very great concern and done all she possibly could to help me be positive and comfortable throughout the year.

We are also very grateful to have been within easy driving distance of the hospital. For the many patients who live further away than we do, regimes similar to mine must be way, way more tiring, especially for those who have to negotiate the unpredictability of the A14 as it is in course of being re-developed.

So it has been a year of blessings amidst the unpredictability of the chemical battle being waged within me and we are both thrilled to have reached this stage. Our prayers now go out especially for friends we know who have not been so blessed and, as ever, it is so hard to even begin to make sense of the less successful outcomes of other peoples’ treatments. We can only be sad with them and for them.

This entry could go on and on, and have no-one left reading it all the way through – so I will stop now and ask those of you who have walked alongside us to give thanks and praise as we are, for all the blessed moments of our recent lives. However, it is good to be able to add into all of this the news that I have now been formally invited to be a Visiting Fellow at St John’s College, Durham for the whole of the Summer term to work on further ideas for singing of God and Science more widely than just for children. This, too, has been an amazing morale booster in the last few weeks and being ‘cleared’ by the consultant means that we can be less apprehensive about being well enough to enjoy the ‘un-flat’ terrain of Durham. once more, we feel very, very greatly blessed.
Radiotherapy mask fashioned to 
the shape of a patient’s face to ensure
that the treatment is consistently precisely 

The two pictures represent something of the twin passage of the songbook and the treatment during the last year.

If you are minded to read more of this story, you can access Cancer 1 HERE
Cancer 2 HERE and
Cancer 3 HERE

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

After Parkland Florida: A Prayer

Here in the UK there is little we can do but offer supportive prayer for America’s protesting young people.

Harrowing picture of pairs of shoes representing 
7000 children who have died in school shootings.
picture credit Thinappuyal News. 
This news touches every nation.

After Parkland Florida: A Prayer

Precious, innocent lives
wasted once more
by the perplexing mindset
of too large a part of a nation
that claims to be Godly.

Come, Lord God,
break asunder the influence
of those whose lives
are invested
in such a godless
love affair with
instruments of hate and death.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Rosemary For Remembrance

Order the download HERE

This very modest cost download from Wlild Goose Publications/ Iona Books (£2-64) has a simple, tried and tested activity suitable for collective worship/ assembly about Easter or an All – Age service on Easter day. There are three other items for late Lent: a poem ‘Wood and Nails’ which links Jesus’ birth, life before his ministry and Crucifixion; a short meditative poem for Good Friday, and ‘Bleak Sabbath’ imagining how Jesus’ followers might have felt on the day after Good Friday.

In addition, there is other unusual Lent, Holy Week and Easter material for general use HERE

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Make Us Good Stewards, Lord,

This could give an opportunity for Christian fellowships/ congregations to think about their commitment to caring for our planet in song. It can be sung to the tune of  Hills of The North Rejoice (or any other 66.66.88 metre tune).

Credits NASA

Make us good stewards, Lord,
Of this your earthly home.
Help us be resolute  
In curbing damage done
By fossil fuels and plastic waste,
And other ways earth is defaced.

Help us encourage hope   
That the world can achieve  
Limits to harm caused by 
products to which we cleave,  
that strip the world of minerals rare,     
and plunder water without care.   

Give to your people, Lord,  
Zeal so we might protest,
when justice is denied
by wealth’s voracious quests   
That ransack earth, afflict the poor,
as greedy profiteers make more.

Other poems/hymns/songs with the theme of caring for our common home can be found HERE

Friday, 9 February 2018

Tree Messiah by Garry Kilworth

Just ahead of Lent, I am delighted to have permission from writer Garry Kilworth to publish his unusual poem of reflection on Good Friday

When trees can talk
they will tell how brutal hands
cut down their tall prophet
from a sentient slope -
they will speak of pagan tools
that scissored away the gold-green arms
from the holy son of the forest
and how the bark-robed trunk was
split and crossed -
they will tell patient judges
how their lord was dragged
through jeering crowds, and crucified
against the body of a man.

You can find a profile of Garry at the end of his poem ‘Body Language’ posted earlier on this blog Click Here

This poem is also included in the Lent, Holy Week and Easter collection on this blog which can be accessed HERE

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Let The Cosmos Praise its Maker. (A hymn/ song)

Cross-stitch bookmarks designed to represent
Christ’s involvement in the early universe
(through the image) and his sovereignty
over all nations in the several languages
of the quote from Revelation.

Let the Cosmos praise its maker,
In its known and unknown tongues, 
Giving thanks for all existence
In its multitude of forms;
From immense to subatomic,
From primaeval to new-born.

All the fundamental forces
Dance before his heavenly throne, 
Giving praise with saints and angels 
For the mighty deeds he’s done; 
Bringing matter out of nothing 
As the universe was formed. 

Let us, as his much loved creatures
Seek how we might understand
All the glory of creation, 
All the beauty that he planned, 
And his cosmic gift, salvation 
Through Christ Jesus, God in man.

This hymn/ song was written with the meditative tune in mind to which ‘Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence’ is usually sung (Picardy), and with the idea that it provides a short, thought-provoking time for reflection on the immensity of the cosmos and what that says about God.

It could equally well be sung as a celebratory song of the glory of the universe and there are numerous hymn tunes with 87.87.87 metre which could be used for this such as the well known 'Praise My Soul'

There are three lines of the song that warrant brief explanation for those not familiar with current scientific understandings.

Although the cross-stitch bookmarks illustrated above the first verse are limited to English, Spanish and French, the expression 'known and unknown tongues’ is intended to allow not only for lesser known terrestrial languages but also for ‘ tongues' which may be used on planets or moons far beyond our amazing solar system. Thousands of stars are now known to have ‘exoplanets’ and ‘exomoons’ circling them similarly to our solar system, and many astronomers/cosmologists think it is more, rather than less likely, that some of these support life that thinks and communicates in ways comparable to the way we humans do.

The first line of the second verse, ‘All the fundamental forces’  could  easily refer to storms, winds and floods and it is likely most people will understand it as such. But it also has a more scientific meaning. In this sense it refers to the four fundamental forces. These are the gravitational force, the electromagnetic force, the strong interactive force and the weak interactive force which between them hold matter in its place, from the component parts of atoms and molecules to galaxies.

Finally, the penultimate line of the song specifically points to the cosmic significance of Christ’s coming to us here on earth: this is a proposition which many thoughtful scientist/ Christians have written on persuasively and enthusiastically.

I hope this ‘shorthand’, note will encourage both those who use this language readily and enable those who don’t, to be drawn into the glorious mysteries of our faith, complemented by the scientific explorations and understandings of so many awe inspiring aspects of ‘our’ amazingly benign cosmos in which our planet has its being.

Further songs with similar faith and science themes can be found in the second section of the left hand column of this collection

Monday, 8 January 2018

You, Lord Will Take Good Care of Me. (Based on Psalm 23 for anyone who has never seen a shepherd!)

(Sing it to 'Amazing Grace' )

You, Lord, will take good care of me
Each day and every night,
For like a lamb, so lovable,
I’m precious in your sight.

By sea or stream or river calm
Help me to think of you,
As I look at your wondrous world,
And at the night skies too.

May love and truth and honesty
Be constant gifts from you,
So those who see the way I’m led
Might want to follow too.

If I’m afraid or desperate,
So sad, I need to cry:
I know that you can calm my fears
And lift my spirits high.

Lord, may I ever thankful be
For precious food and fare:
The promise that your world can yield
Enough for all to share.

Your love, dear Lord, will follow me
As I learn more and more
Of all the awe and wonder that
Creation holds in store.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Two contemporary Carols to greet you in this Christmas season.

Two of the contemporary carols posted earlier on this site to wish all who visit it from time to time a blessed and peaceful Christmas: one of the carols is to a well known tune, the other to a new tune.

 Carol of the Cosmos                         Finlandia *(

Be still small earth, this is the night of nights,
Your great Creator hovers at your gates,
In human form, now to become a babe
To Jewish maid, who for this moment waits:
Fulfilling now the ancient prophecies,
Her child, the Saviour of the human race.

You nightly stars surrounding Bethlehem,
Prepare yourselves to be eclipsed this night,
An angel host, with joyful beating wings
Clothes all the waiting hills with brilliant light.
And shepherds, spurned by those of wealth and might,
Are first to see the Christ, this holy sight.

O dazzling skies, welcome a stranger star
To play its part, a brief and guiding role:
To bring from far, sage watchers of the night
Who linked its light to what the prophets told.
Trav’ling with gifts to celebrate The King
Rich myrrh and frankincense and precious Gold.

‘Twas by this child th'eternal Word came flesh
God’s pledge unveiled, such holy mystery.
Come praise him now, this coming was for us, 
His cosmic task laid by to set us free.
From death the natural end in time and space
He calls our souls beyond to his great grace. 

* * * * * * *

This second carol, unusually, gives Joseph a ‘voice’ in the stable as he expresses his hopes for his newborn son. (Find a printable score below the words and hear the first verse and chorus from the video file beneath the score)

‘This manger’s well made’,
said Joseph to Mary,
‘Its joints are a joy
 to a carpenter’s eye’.
‘I hope that our son 
will be skilled with timber, 
so neighbours we serve
will be e’er satisfied.

‘Oh Joseph love,
 you are so wise and good.
yet our son will, perhaps,
work with far more than wood.’

‘That crook there is shaped 
with skill and perception;
‘tis made for a shepherd
who’ll both dare and save’.
‘I’ll show our son how 
sheep are protected,
so shepherds will ask him,
to shape them good staves.

Oh Joseph love etc

‘This yoke is a work
of marvellous honing.
It never will chafe:
the ox scarce need a goad.
Our son must learn ways
of both beast and ploughman, 
then contour his yokes
to ease burdensome loads’.

Oh Joseph love etc.

‘I‘ll teach him the strengths,
Of timber, dear Mary,
show him all the things
he must and must not do’.
‘Like ne’er make a cross
for fierce Roman soldiers,
Nor sell them our wood 
To hang slave, thief or Jew.’

‘Oh Joseph love,
 you are so wise and good.
Yes, our son when time comes
Will be smitten by wood.

Listen to the first verse and chorus 

‘Stable Talk’ is part of ’The Cross and Cosmos’ Christmas collection which you can find HERE

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Body Language by Garry Kilworth

After a considerable gap, we caught up with friends Garry and Annette Kilworth recently. We were aware that Garry was a prolific writer in several genres (profile below) but I had not realised he wrote poetry. Some of his work resonates very well with the themes and aims of my blog. So I am grateful to Garry for his permission to publish one of his poems today and a further one with an unusual Lenten theme in the early part of next year.

Garry is also a skilful photographer and whilst we visited a reservoir-side bird hide with them, a kingfisher gave us an exquisite display just a few metres from the hide. That welcome little surprise seems to have a parallel in the first line of Garry’s poem - and you’ll find the gorgeous photo Garry took of the Kingfisher that Garry took below 

Body Language

When an eagle vaults the sky
or inventive Man spears deep space
at superhuman speed,
or a seed bursts like a bomb
and expands,
God is talking
with his hands.

© Garry Kilworth

Kingfisher at Alton Reservoir
photographed by Garry Kilworth
November 2017

Garry Kilworth has been a writer of fiction for almost 40 years and has published some 80+ novels and collections of short stories as well as four volumes of poetry. The genres in which he mainly writes are: science fiction, fantasy, young adults' literature, historical novels and general fiction. He has been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal twice, has won the Children's Book of the Year Award, the World Fantasy Award and also the Charles Whiting Award for Historical Fiction. His website, is

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Wicken Fen: November.

A second visit to Wicken Fen (National Trust wetland reserve) within a couple of weeks prompted a return to the poem started after the first visit 
Photo by Pam
 which prompted part of this poem

Wicken Fen: November.
 Stillness had wrapped the fen in her embrace,
nothing moved save the occasional reed
nudged at its base by creature unseen,
a brief, barely imperceptible interruption
of the enormous silence.

Above us, lazy clouds stole quietly across the vast sky,
punctuating the blue with subtle hues
of grey and white, with edges tinted
orange, pink and cream
as the sun drifted lower in the early winterscape.

We sit, eliminating even the faint sound of our footfall on the boardwalk,  
and our souls rest content in this Divinely given, cherished flatland.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

TRUTH Sets Us Free by Roger Pullin

Roger, who wrote both words and tune of this song is a marine biologist who works internationally. He is also a member of Christians in Science and responded warmly to an invitation I put out through that organisation to contribute songs of faith and science towards the collection of such songs we are gathering together for singing in primary schools This is the first of three songs and feels VERY appropriate just now. It  draws on the words of Jesus in John 8.32 and gives them a contemporary sense
Roger Pullin
 God sends truth to me and you,
 Truth through faith a-nd science too,
 Truth in bo-dy-mind and soul,
 Sets us free and makes us whole.

Sets us free, free! free!!
You and me, me! me!!
Sets us free, free! free!!
You and me, me! me!!

Find chords and suggestions of how to best sing the song below and a printable score below that

TRUTH (SETS US FREE!) by Roger Pullin

Introduction[2]: C, Em, Am, Em/ F, C, G/ Em Am F, C/ G, C/

Verse[3] 1:  C       F      C         F    C    G
                God sends truth to me and you
                Em      Am       D            D7        G
                Truth through faith a-nd science too
                C    EmAmEm F      C      G
                Truth in bo-dy-mind and soul
                EmAm F      C     G                C
                Sets us free and makes us whole

Chorus[4]:   C  F    C
                Sets us free, free! free!!
                 F    BF
                You and me, me! me!!
                 G    C   G
                Sets us free, free! free!!
                 C     F    C
                You and me, me! me!!

Repeat as Introduction: /C/C/ (2 bars)

Verse 2:  C       F   C               F   C    G
                Seek the truth and you will find
               EmAmD            D7           G
                Op-en up yo-ur heart and mind
                 C     Em  Am Em  F    C   G
                God sends truth to you and me
                Em    Am   F              C  G   C
                Makes us whole and sets us free

Choruses (repeated and getting faster, as desired):

[1] By Roger Pullin
[2] As last two lines of the verse
[3] Verses are hymn-like, at moderate speed
[4] Choruses are faster, with hand claps and/or percussion

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe
It is currently thought that the Universe has at least 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars! Hence the use of the word ‘scintilla’ for a mere ten thousand billion.

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)
Cross and Particle Accelerator. The words of 'A Prayer for Understanding' can be viewed by clicking on this image

Nebula (Embroidery)

Nebula (Embroidery)
Nebula (Embroidery) to accompany the poem 'Invitation' which can be found by clicking on the image.

Orange Galaxy

Orange Galaxy
'Orange Galaxy' posted to accompany 'Bounded and Boundless'. Go to the poem by clicking on the image.

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower
Cosmic Icon 7 - Summerflower Nebula (Acrylic)

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth
Cosmic Ikon 8: Moth Nebula(imagined-acrylic) The Gold field of deep space is intended to convey the Lordship of Christ over the whole of the Cosmos

Surprise garden rose (Photo)

Surprise garden rose (Photo)
This beautiful head of roses in our garden, which are giving off a delightful perfume in the morning sun, seems a fitting picture to link to the sonnet 'Evolution and Beauty'. Let the picture take you there. It is a surprise because it is growing high on a bush of otherwise pure yellow roses: amazing!

Cross and Vortex

Cross and Vortex
'Cross and Vortex' to accompany 'Stars and Planets Sing Your Glory'. Click on the image to go to the poem/hymn.

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)
Gaseous Cosmic Threads: Mixed media - acrylics and painted threads

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)
Warm Umbrian Hills: Click image to take you to the poem St Francis' Sky

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)
'Cosmic Labyrinth' - This icon is a symbol of the path through the near reaches of the Cosmos with its 'Havens' where current advances in science (2012/13) are celebrated. By clicking on the picture you will be taken to the latest version of the poem of the same name.

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)
Time, perhaps to consider a restorative break before the approach of Advent/ Christmas. Let this image take you to 'On Drawing Apart'.

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)
On the South shore of Iona is a bay which shows the industrial scarring of a beautiful place. Read of it by clicking on the picture

Butterfly Nebula (CGI)

Butterfly Nebula (CGI)
The Imaginary Butterfly Nebula . Anything like this would be a real Curiosity! The image will link you to the reflection titled 'Curiosity' which is actually a celebration of the achievement of landing the Mars Rover of that name

Light of the World amidst stars (CGI)

Light of the World amidst stars (CGI)
'Light of the world' posted to accompany 'To Light'. Find the poem by clicking on the image.

Iona from Fionnphort (Watercolour)

Iona from Fionnphort (Watercolour)
Iona from Fionnphort. At this point of the Isle of Mull, the end of a pilgrimage or trip to Iona is in sight. Click on this picture to take you to the poem 'IONA - The Pilgrim Way'

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)
Cross and simple prayer rope: make one like this to use as an aid to using ‘The Jesus Prayer'