Cormorant’s Rest

I wrote a poem during my postgrad study day on Sunday in which I talked of re-emerging, coming from that stage of fertile womanhood into the wise old crone and how I now had to just stand and wait for my wings to dry. I meant like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis but when I shared what I had written with my fellow student she squealed “Wow a cormorant!” I got her to explain more.

Apparently cormorant’s have no wax on their wings so after they have bee in the sea they have to stand with their wings held out to dry and only when fully dry is it safe for them to dive in again.

I just found that so uplifting, releasing and encouraging. It is so where I am at the moment. I’ve dived and fished, helped and supported, touched the ocean’s depths of all life could give and now I know its very clear that I am to rest. But I have been a bit scared of this rest because I’ve been afraid that I’ll get old and stuck in it, that I’ll slowly do less and less, that I won’t dive again. For me this cormorant image says that I will dive again, fish, do what I do when I’m in my diving state, but for mow I just rest and let my wings dry full in the sun – and most of all not feel guilty for it. It’s how God made me, to do and dive but then I have to rest. If I dive back in too soon I’ll drown because my wings won’t be dry enough. So now I wait in this vulnerable place, wings held out, still, not able to go, watching the ocean rising and falling.

Matthew 7:21b says “…only those who obey My Father will get in (to heaven).” So often in the Sunday sermon this word “obeying” has been used as a going/doing word, and yet if Father God has told me to rest then I have to obey that. I can’t go off applying for jobs, volunteering, doing really good stuff because that would not be obeying.

Did God make a mistake with the cormorant’s wings? Did evolution let it slip through the “survival of the fittest”? Who knows? But that’s the way it is and it’s learned how to survive. It obeys the rules of God, the rules of Nature, of how it’s made. Why should I think I’m any different? To obey God for now I need to stand with my wings held out, vulnerable, and allow myself to dry. And then I can go from flappy little bird to prehistoric, wise old crone.

This is the poem that came from the observations about the cormorant.

Cormorant’s Rest

She stands, awkward, wings stretched out

Head down, perched on a rock.

All around the ocean crashes

seagulls scream, continuous movement.

In all this general busyness she stands

vulnerable in the vast active sea.

A freak of nature? God’s forgotten?

Or made to dive and then to rest?

For now the course is to obey

to stand, to rest, able to do nothing until –

the sun’s warmth seeps in to the depths

of wet and tired wings

to dry, to heal, to regain strength.

So even if there’s winter gales

when there’s so much to do

still she must stand, allow the winds

to do their job, to dry her quills.

No diving in too soon no matter what she sees

but wait, but rest, till strong and dry.

And then …

This was the original that encouraged her response –

Original poem – line from Simon Armitage’s “Book of Matches”

Don’t let me be! Don’t let me sleep!

Yes help me rest and realign

To change my shape and change to be.

Don’t let me fix into the shape I do not want to be.

Wake me, help me search to find the shape I can become.

A re-emerging caterpillar as woman become crone

with all the wisdoms I have learned,

to know that even though my womb has ceased it’s purpose

there are still children for me to nurture.

So let me rest, get use to who I am

To see the beauty of this new creation

I am called to be.

I’ll flex my slightly strange new wings

and wait till they are dry.

For now I’ll rest and sleep and then

I’ll come and be again.

Searching For Sunday – book review

I’m really late in getting this out. I should have had the review out by the launch date of 14th April, but life got in the way, as life does. I will stick to the task and then blog later on my priorities.

So I had the great privilege of being on the Searching For Sunday review launch team. This meant I got to read the book in pdf form and put comments up on a special closed facebook page, as well as commenting on my own facebook page. This did mean writing with facebook open which is not ideal for me.

I would say one of the best ways to see the bits that influenced me would be to go on my facebook page and look for #seachingforsunday  In fact there are loads of post across the world from the other reviewers.

For those of you who haven’t read Rachel Held Evans I would suggest reading her “A Year of Biblical Womanhood“, the first one of her books that I read which looks at the things that Church says women should and shouldn’t do. Rachel looks at it with open eyes and candour, not slating it but showing the roots of where these “rules” come from.

In “Searching For Sunday” she looks at her own journey from evangelical church life to exploring congregations, of finding places to question what is meant by what she believes. Like many of us, Rachel has reached a point where she wants to know why she believes what she believes and is off exploring. For many of us we haven’t lost faith in God but want to find a genuine way of working it out. Interestingly I read a piece by Richard Rohr, which I can refind to post, where he talks of how the apostle Paul had to go away and work out how it was this Christ revelation fitted into his understanding of the world. It is like having met Christ we are taking into an already formed world and there comes a time where, not so much we have to question God, but we have to question how we work in relationship to God. Here Rachel talks openly and honestly about her’s. She breaks it down into the seven parts which equate to seven sacraments; baptism, confession, holy orders, communion, confirmation, anointing the sick and marriage. Through these sacraments and Rachel’s journey the reader gets to visit with all sorts of people who are walking out their relationship with God in their own ways. As with “A year of Biblical Womanhood”, Rachel is not judgemental or condemning. This is a book full of exploring, discovering and most importantly hope. As she says at the end

But if I’ve learned anything in this journey, both in writing this book and clumsily living its content, it’s that Sunday morning sneaks up on us—like dawn, like resurrection, like the sun that rises a ribbon at a time. We expect a trumpet and a triumphant entry, but as always, God surprises us by showing up in ordinary things: in bread, in wine, in water, in words, in sickness, in healing, in death, in a manger of hay, in a mother’s womb, in an empty tomb. Church isn’t some community you join or some place you arrive. Church is what happens when someone taps you on the shoulder and whispers in your ear, Pay attention, this is holy ground; God is here. Even here, in the dark, God is busy making all things new. So show up. Open every door. At the risk of looking like a fool buried with his feet facing the East or like a mockingbird singing stubbornly at the night, anticipate resurrection. It’s either just around the bend or a million miles away. Or perhaps it’s somewhere in between. Let’s find out together”

Go buy it. Read it. Get the study guide. There is so so much to explore. If I could afford it I would buy you all a copy but I’m broke, again!

Poetry Month – Day One

The month of April is National Poetry Month in the USA so I thought I would give it a go. Some of the poems will be brilliant, I hope, and some will be not so good and some will just be silly. I don’t see myself as a poet, though I do write a lot of thoughts as poetry.

My first attempt is a pantoum covering both the fact that today is April Fool’s Day and also the first day of Parliament being closed in the final run up to the elections on 7th May. Enjoy!    (I can’t get it to do the stanza breaks so have put in the frog so you can see the 3 stanzas and get the pantoum idea better!)

A Silly Pantoum to start Poetry Month and the dash to UK Elections

First fool!

Is it foolishness to be first?

Frolicking frogs appear forlorn,

furtively all forlorn.

Is it foolishness to be first

on this day when kings became fools?

Frolicking frogs appear all forlorn.

What happens when fools get to rule?

On this day when kings became fools

do they remember to change back?

What happens when fools get to rule?

Would anyone notice the change?