Tuesday, 2 October 2018


This poem was written for our Evensong service on 7th October, the week of National Poetry Day 2018. The day was given over to our church's Harvest Festival, and I was reflecting on what we - who no longer plough fields or scatter seed - can bring to the creator of everything, who needs nothing from us. Hope you enjoy...

I am not a farmer; I can bring no wheat.
I am not a butcher; I can bring no meat.
I am not a baker; I can offer no fresh batch.
Nor am I a fisherman; I can bring no morning catch.

I am not a hunter; I can bring no prey.
I am not a potter and can bring no refined clay.
I am not a gardener; I can bring no fresh produce.
And I am not a fruit picker; I cannot bring first fruits.

I am not a cow-herd; I can offer you no milk.
I am not a weaver; I can bring you no fine silk.
I am not a serving cook; I can prepare for you no meal
And I am not a blacksmith; I can forge for you no steel.

I am not a miner; I cannot bring you coal.
Nor am I a jeweller; I can bring no gold.
I am not a trapper; I can bring no fur.
And I am not a mystic; I can offer you no myrrh.

I am not a mason, I cannot bring you stone
And I am not an emperor, I can’t grant wealth unknown.
I am not a conqueror; I can bring no foreign land
And nor am I a shepherd. I cannot bring a lamb.

But I am not alone.
And we are more than I.

For we are children of our Father, and we shall bring you praise.
We are dwellers in the present, and so we bring to you our days.
But we are lookers to the future too, so we will bring our fears
And we are mourners of the past that’s gone, so we will bring our tears.

We have lived too long apart from you; we bring spiritual drought.
We have lost faith along the way; we bring to you our doubt.
We have been scarred and wounded, and we bring to you our bruises.
And we have not done that which we ought, and we surrender our excuses.

We have seen evil works of humankind, and so we bring our shame,
And we’ve been hurt by those same works, so we will bring our pain.
We have looked too long upon injustice, so we will bring our fury;
Lord, accept the gifts we bring, and use them for your glory.

This is our harvest; precious, bitter gifts of anger, pain, and hurt, and doubt
We lay them down here at your cross – Lord, we ask you’ll make them count.
These gifts have been a part of us, as much infused as bone and blood
And where we’ve wrenched them from our souls, God, replace their loss with love.

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