Flame fingers- Look, See, Pray

Flame-finger’d fronds
fight the creeping frost.
October gone, so winter’s eye
turns to leaves not yet vanquished in the cold.
How long to stay?
November gales shriek, laughing,
for summer is but memory-
and leaf-husks rattle at the roots.

Bold glow of orange, crimson stems,
holding remember’d warmth –
Clinging to shades of Spring gone by
when days were long and sap rose swift
in triumph and strength, now lost…
Can we hold till Christmas?
Or must yield to holly and captive firs
making merry at the wake of the season?

In restful peace we shall sleep,
careless of snow and icy dawns.
Deep in the earth our strength lies hidden
until lengthening days and warming Sun
bid us reach for the heavens
and sound the trumpet of daffodil’s Spring.
For now, whilst our flames can hold tight,
we give joy to the soul of those growing cold.

Prayers and poems grasp promises
that life and love and God
may seem to pause in winter’s chill yet
Renewed again, and rested, we shall stand.
Colours leaking to leaf-mould now
are never wasted, but shall return.
God speaks in colours!
Nature sings a symphony, music for the soul.

(Copyright Richard Starling, 2020)

Fading into Gold- Look, See, Pray

All changing… things becoming new.

After the stormy winds and rain, today started in frost and sunshine under a clear blue sky. The autumn is bringing its own changes- as hours of sunlight lessen, the leaves and grasses change colour. Warmer browns and orange shades compensate for the cooler air, and diamond dust is scattered generously with touch of icy breath.

Reeds catching the light are backlit with a golden glow. As the greens of summer fade, the Light transforms the park into a parade of golden sculptures that hiss and rustle in the breeze.

It has been a lovely day.

The affairs of humankind have been changing too. Election fever has raised the temperatures in the United States, sadly generating friction and heat but little light! At this point, the final result is undecided. People have been passionately campaigning and complaining, tempers are hot, and the world looks on in sorrow. How has democracy been reduced to petulant squabbles? Who decided it was OK to play games with truth?

Perhaps the dawn will bring clarity. Whichever party wins, the war of words is likely to continue for some time. Given a choice, my preference would be clear. But it isn’t my election, not even my country- so although the outcome matters greatly, I am an observer rather than a participant. People from across the divide will be sad, angry, confused, bitter. So what can I say or do?

I can be grateful and thankful for the blessings of a fine day; and I can choose to trust that the Sovereign Lord God Almighty is able to deal with tomorrow, the day after… and so on. One day at a time, I live in the love and grace of God- and I hope that the Light of the World will keep transforming me into golden Christlike beauty.

I cannot control the world, and shouldn’t try. It’s all in the divine Hand that holds us safely.

So, Lord, on that note:

Thank You for the blessings of this day, and I shall commit my way to You. I pray for the best possible outcome in all the changes, and ask You to bring truth, justice, and reconciliation wherever there is strife, disaster or sickness. Please, Lord, aid those seeking to combat Covid-19 with wisdom and compassion. Bless our hospitals and healthworkers, our key workers from cleaners to kings, and help us find the beauty among change and the uncertainty of our fragile lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Autumn’s days- why so sad?

Leaves are beginning to change colour. Some birds have already headed south for the winter. The annual influx of Russian starlings has started- soon we will see the mass murmurations as they flock together at dusk. Migrating wildfowl are joining in aerial ballet, and probing the sands at the local RSPB reserve. The poets are inspired by autumn’s glories: perhaps we can be too.

Why sad Oct 2014_00024Sheffield Park

“Why is it that so many of us persist in thinking that autumn is a sad season? Nature has merely fallen asleep, and her dreams must be beautiful if we are to judge by her countenance.” ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

There is so much to see, so many photographs waiting for my hungry lens. As the year draws towards its end, it dons glad rags and starts to party!

Autumn is a time of change and fruitfulness: as John Keats wrote, “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness…”

The season reminds us of the importance of rest, and the necessary process of preparing for rebirth.

Some of my favourite sayings are found in the Bible.  Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season.”  In Ecclesiastes 3:11, “God has made everything beautiful in its time.”

Embrace the autumn. Rejoice in its splendours. Accept the natural rhythm and find peace in the quieting of the summer days. Let your thoughts turn in gratitude and thanksgiving for the time we are given and the gentleness of rest. Live in this moment, this season, instead of hanging onto the past or rushing impatiently into tomorrow. In the quiet, make space to seek out & find the beauty of NOW and the presence of God in the present.  Leave regrets behind, and use this season to prepare for the unknown future. Seek the dreams of peace and joy.

May sweet dreams and beautiful colours become a vision of what God can do in our lives and, through us, in our communities and world.

Galatians 6:9 (New Living Translation) So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” 

We may be sad for a good reason. Yet there is hope in the changing seasons of life. Sweet dreams!