Category: theopoetics


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Trigger warning for suicide. If you’re feeling down, please reach out to friends, family or support agencies like Beyond Blue, Lifeline: 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467, Kids Helpline (for young people aged 5 to 25 years): 1800 55 1800.

 

There was a suicide in my sphere recently. Not someone I knew but it impacted lots of people that I know and in the aftermath we talked, trying to make sense of it. It’s not something easy to make sense of. We tried to find out details, as you do – who/why/when – and learned for a variety of reasons that further information wouldn’t be forthcoming, people worry that a suicide might lead to more suicides. I hear that but at the same time, I wonder: if we don’t talk about it, if we don’t know it’s happening, how do you prevent it? This person, whose name we don’t know, who we don’t know anything about – we have shed tears for them, we want to acknowledge their life and their family, want time back to tell them they were loved because we know the surety of that whatever else we do not know. Now that I am conscious of my not knowing, I look it up. More than 8 people a day in Australia, one every three hours… more than from cancer (ABS, 2015). I don’t know that we really begin to understand how the comings and goings of people in our lives matters deeply.  My coming and going matters, your coming and going in my life matters whatever context of work, of community, of relationship… A life lived shorter than it might be is always tragic.  I felt a grief inside me that didn’t feel appropriate to show, didn’t feel appropriate to share – it wasn’t supposed to belong to me because this person didn’t belong to me except that we all belong to one another.  So I asked myself: Where is appropriate to show grief? And took myself on an excursion to the local cemetery (as you do). The following poem is made up of words entirely taken from words written on people’s headstones. It  isn’t intended to be some macabre or nihilistic exercise… but the opposite. What words of comfort or solace could we have said if there’d be time? What message of love? Read them and be comforted, be solaced, be loved now. Hear them deep in your soul, take them in and let them nourish you.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will know the essence of life.

v1 bw

v3 bw

v4 bw

v5 bw

v6 bw

 

Peace, perfect peace,
let your song be delicate,
the flowers can hear.
In God’s care.

In the midst of life we are in death.
Let not your heart be troubled
neither let it be afraid.
In God’s care,
not here but risen,
Love’s Tribute.

Always loved, always in our hearts.
Sadly missed.
Behind all shadows standeth God.
Some time, some day, we’ll understand.

So deeply loved, so deeply mourned,
till we meet again, at rest,
in heavenly love abiding.

Abide with me: fast falls the eventide
the darkness deepens, Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Thy will be done always in our hearts.
Loved and remembered.

Resting.
All losses are restored and sorrows end
in God’s care.
Those we love don’t go away
they walk beside us every day
To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.

 

God, did you see the news today?

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God, did you see the news today?

We’re killing one another.
We’re killing in places killing has gone on so long we don’t know how to stop…
We’re killing next door.
We’re killing one another.

God, did you see the news today?

We’re laying waste to the world
to consume, consume, consume
an appetite “stuff” cannot sate.
Our elders know. Our elders tell us.
We ignore their wisdom.

God, did you see the news today?

People are saying hateful, hurtful things
what is right, what is wrong
what is holy, what is profane
…as if we know. As if we could know.

God, did you see the news today?

Were you there when we turned the boats away?
We are denying people food, electricity, sanitation, shelter, medical care…
We are denying people their basic human rights.

People are grieved and weary.
Longing for a world that is different
but not knowing where to start.
Not knowing how to start.
All victims, variously blind.

I’m not pointing fingers, I’m raising my hand.
I need Your help. We need Your help.

Amen

Because, but, despite…

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who   I   am

∫            ∫           ∫

because of       but         despite

∫           ∫           ∫

who   You   are

 

Talitha Fraser (in the style of RD Laing)

Sit, empty cupped hands

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Sit
empty cupped hands
outreached in supplication
for the daily bread
that feeds and sustains you.
Everyday you must
acknowledge your own hunger,
acknowledge your own emptiness,
acknowledge your own longing…
in this weakness
lies your strength.
Freed from all you cannot do
you are released to do what you can
and it begins when you sit
empty cupped hands
outreached in supplication.

Talitha Fraser

Re-lie

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You want to lie
to cover up what you
think of as incompetency,
letting people down…
That’s a narrative that
reassures who you want
to be to yourself.
Selfish is closer to the truth,
sinful is closer to the truth,
human is closest to the truth.
When did being human become
something you had to lie about
and “cover up”?

Talitha Fraser

A man struts

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A man struts
the ramp to the platform
pausing here and there
to strike glamour-pose
between gyrating dance moves
and smooth hip-swinging
and off-key singing.
I smile, everyone smiles.
What a Monday morning.
What a beautiful morning.

Talitha Fraser

Lay your burdens down child

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At the beach this week I found myself writing a bit of a song of lament and solace but can see it having several applications perhaps as prayer of confession of self, powers and politics.

Lay your burdens down, burdens down, burdens down child x2

Chorus
I will come to you, come to you, come to you child x2
I will lift you up, lift you up, lift you up child x2

Let your tears fall down, tears fall down, tears fall down child x2

Variations
Lay your:  troubles/darkness/heartbreak/sorrow… down
Lay: what scares you/what’s hurting/what’s broken… down
Lay your: body/spirit/hunger/weapons… down
Lay your: anger/sadness/hatred… down
Lay your: power/whiteness/stigma/baggage…down

 

What will You make of me?

I must be
unmade
to be made
reduce
reuse
recycle
here I am then
broken
what will You
make of me?

Talitha Fraser 

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All that isn’t
All that is
All out of my hands
but I hold it
just the same

All that is mess
All that is mystery
All that is ‘out there’
and within me
just the same

 

Talitha Fraser

 

God, what does Your Great Economy have to say to this who knows its worth? Let me trust to Your providing for what is pleasing to You. Drop what should be dropped, yield what should be yielded, share what should be shared, confess what should be confessed. Let some fall, let some break, let some call, let some run late. If it is not of You – let it lie, let it die, that I might know life anew in You.

Fragile, I wait.

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Fragile, I wait.
Soft new tendrils shooting
are greeted with joy.
There is little definition,
no certainty
but possibility
and that is enough
to hope.

Talitha Fraser