There Was a Girl…

It’s that time of the year again, the anniversary of the first time I contacted the girl who would become my wife. By tradition, I write her a poem and send it to her by email last thing at night on May the 1st, and she is not allowed to read it until May the 2nd, (since I sent the original fateful email on the first, and she read it on the second). This time, I’ve recorded it as a song, which you can find below:

There Was a Girl

There was a girl whose name brought joy
To a once so lonely boy;
Now that joy is multiplied
That she is at his side.

Now many more does she delight
With her presence, at the sight
Of all she does to bless the lives
Of those close to her heart.

So now upon this special day
With fondness look my way I pray,
Take pride in what we’ve both become,
We two now joined as one.

The Greatest of These

As we approach the end of an eventful year, and the start of a new that promises a number of big things in the near future, I could make the standard wish to you all of success, health and comfort, but I thought I’d post a little reminder of what is most important of all:

The Greatest of These

There is no force upon the earth
That can outweigh the gift of love;
No wealth or situation
That can outbid its worth;

No jewel in all its glory
No title, honour, place
That can outshine the smile that spreads
Across your loved one’s face.

While victories are powerful joys
And justice plays its part
None can match devotion
From an honest human heart.

So dance and laugh and celebrate,
Savour and appreciate,
Stand, salute, commemorate
Console and commiserate
With those you choose to love.

Treasure Hunt

I had the following little adventure with my 5-year-old son yesterday (he’s recently discovered the magic of imagination)

Treasure Hunt

After fighting pirate hordes
That swept across our lawn,
We find among their broken swords
A map that’s crudely drawn.

“We must find all the treasure
Before the sun goes down,
Or else the scary Nightmare Moon
Will take over this town!”

We set off across the road
And look under the trees,
Guided by my five-year-old
When suddenly he sees:

A blue stone that’s a diamond
In our guide’s little hand;
Golden leaves are now gold leaf
That’s strewn across the land.

Brown stones are great ingots
Of purest Spanish gold,
Black pebbles are obsidian carved
From lava flows grown cold.

Our bounty’s brought to Mummy,
Displayed with gleaming pride;
When my son grins from ear to ear
Her smile is just as wide.

Where does the wonder come from?

wedding2It is my fifteenth wedding anniversary today, here is this year’s poem:

Where does the wonder come from?

Where does the wonder come from
That fills me as I think of you?
The privilege I have to share your life,
And know you love to share mine, too?

What can I be, what can I see
And share with you to lift your soul?
What can I learn, how can I grow,
And through your pain with love console?

What does our Lord require of us,
We two upon a path for one?
To unify our hearts and toils;
To calmly rest, with glee to run,

With overflowing joy take flight
And soar up to the healing light
That guides us through the passing night
Aflame with glory, clothed in might.

In daily troubles, trials and tears
Through precious days, weeks, months and years,
Cling to Him and thus together
Bind by an unbreaking tether.

United we can go and face
All challenges along the race
To win the great eternal prize
That He has set before our eyes.

Twenty-Eight and a Half

For my wife’s birthday:

Twenty-Eight and a Half

Wife and mother treasured far
Above all else, for who you are;
We celebrate another stage
In your ripe and youthful age,

Whereupon we share in cake,
Perhaps food served you as you wake
(If circumstances will allow),
In any case to show you how

Much we wish you all the best
And hope you can at least find rest
In what we try to do for you
(should our plans go off askew).

Your efforts we appreciate
And when you let us stay up late
We’ll try not to antagonize
Provide you with a nice surprise

And Let you know you’re loved and valued just the way you are.

How to Remember?

Today is the day I commemorate the first time I contacted my wife (by tradition, I email her a poem last thing at night on the first of May, she reads it on the second; this reflects the fact that I first emailed her on the first, but she discovered the message in her inbox the day after). Here is this year’s effort:

How to Remember?

On this notable occasion
Of our first communication,
I search for inspiration
As for how to celebrate.

‘Twas with hope and consternation
That I sat at my workstation
To compose a salutation
To a possible soul mate.

Like my in-person mumbling,
I penned a note quite fumbling,
And to compound my bumbling,
It contained a broken link.

Your message sent back to me
(whose detailed words elude me)
Said openly and truly
That Alex’s advice stinks.

No angel choir euphoric
Nor wild ride meteoric
Told us this choice historic
Would transform both our lives.

Instead a growing friendship
Unveiling a deep kinship
That grew into a courtship
That to this day still thrives.

More poems telling the the story of the first contact, courtship and subsequent marriage of my wife and I can be found in my first poetry collection, Selected Verse – Faith and Family, the ebook of which is now permanently reduced to 99 cents (or territory equivalent) on amazon

Selected Verse - Faith and Family

One Child

“One child is enough for you, the rest you will discard.
It’s in our nation’s interest; this choice is not so hard.”
A parent’s pure delight is turned into a source of woe,
As they decide which child to keep and which they should let go.

Millions are torn to pieces while still in the womb,
Their tiny bodies adding to another smoky plume.
Many more are left to freeze upon a winter’s day,
Abandoned in the street as if they all can make their way.

Shafts of light come filtered through the roadside’s fragrant trees,
The smells of woks and pans at work, all carried by the breeze,
Piano music interrupted by a teacher’s scold,
None of this brings comfort to a little girl that’s cold.

She’d love someone to scold her for an errant finger placed,
Since then they’d think their time’s investment in her not a waste.
She pines for Grandma’s village hut, with its floor of earth,
Nought but worms to play with, but folk grateful for her birth.

She makes it all the way back ‘home’, but then is left once more,
Each time the police bring her back to that unloving door.
Until at last that father is imprisoned for his crimes,
The girl sent to an orphanage to see more pleasant times.

Those places, though, are more like prisons; she soon runs away,
But there is no long-term escape, the world is bleak and grey.
All these troubles teach her that all parents are a fraud,
That Mother State and Party are her only loving lord.

The chairman of a boarding school then contradicts this thought,
He takes her and her cellmates in and treats them as he ought,
As children, pupils, precious lives of worth and purity;
He sacrifices plenty to restore their dignity.

(For this and other kindnesses, he’s later thrown in jail,
Performing better than the state, that’s far beyond the pale!)
The school’s house mother lavishes her love on all of them,
Soothing all the fears and pain from which her anger stemmed.

As years go by, a loving family seems a distant dream,
No-one will adopt a girl who’s now into her teens;
She must now start to think of when she’ll be a full adult,
On her own, responsible for each choice and result;

Then comes the news of a kind couple from a distant land,
Who long to take her in and hold her with their loving hands.
They’ve sons and want a daughter; they’ve come thousands of miles
To love someone this state discards, to treasure her sweet smile.

Inside her, softly, safe despair gives way to deadly hope
That tempts her from her lonely ledge to grasp this rescue rope.
Her broken self will have to die to birth a new creation,
As she is flown to her new life in that wild, distant nation.

In that odd land, one child is precious—missed when they are gone;
For those strange folk, one child is valued—each and every one.