I’M NUTS ABOUT COLOUR and the abstract, even as I’m dotty, too, about poetry and the precise. Both, in quite different ways, leave plenty of room for liberality, for openness to life’s gifts in oneself and in others, for generosity of spirit. I wonder how many images will present themselves to you “out of” the abstract blending above? I enjoyed creating them – but that enjoyment is almost as nothing compared to the enjoyment I’ll gain from returning, and from the never-ending procession of “new” works that will arise therefrom.

I shall try to carve out time in 2014 for a bit more artwork than has been afforded in the past year. In like fashion I’ve embarked upon a new handwritten journalling project for the year. I’m resolved (how effectively remains to be seen, of course) to hand-write a pondered poem-a-day into a specially purchased journal. I hope that the act will facilitate a daily pondering and contemplation. And there’ll be the benefit, in the future, of a slightly more personal than usual returning.

And all this “returning” helps maintain a constant communion with loved ones and with friends near and far, known and unknown, in this world and in other worlds. This returning, this abiding remembering, brings me daily to the constant prayer – a cantus firmus in my life for an end to a few more of the harsher divisions and judgments still insisted upon by some members of our humankind – even whilst being thankful for progress made in the past year. If I’m nuts about colour, and dotty about poetry, I’m absolutely besotted with my conviction that the “will” of God the Source of Life is to draw all persons, all created things, always and everywhere into Unity. Tomorrow I’m hoping to see “Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom” – so doubtless there’ll be more from me on all of the above thereafter.

Meanwhile, my Alice Meynell post of New Year’s Eve has touched something in my soul several dozen times since then:

… in the eternities,
Doubtless we shall compare together, hear
A million alien Gospels, in what guise
He trod the Pleiades, the Lyre, the Bear.

O, be prepared, my soul!
To read the inconceivable, to scan
The myriad forms of God those stars unroll
When, in our turn, we show to them a Man.


I OFTEN SPEAK about life’s being, for me, a colour-full affair. I’ve read on several occasions that some blind people can “see” in their dreams. This doesn’t surprise me.

Anger, anxiety,
adoration and awe,
celebration, communion,
confession, consolation,
consternation, contemplation,
dying, fear, joy,
lamentation, loneliness,
longing, love,
Magnificat, meditation, mediation,
passion, poetry, prayer and prose,
sadness, sleepiness, silence, song

– any and all forms of worship – often translate for me into vivid and fluid colour. The movement is gentle and healing. And thankfully, for a minimalist like me, the colour sometimes involves shades of plain and lovely uncluttered white. Neither the movement nor the colours are loud or aggressive or overwhelming. But they are bright. And each represents someone, some emotion, or some thing. A bit of time spent with “Alleluia” above may reveal some faces and one or two particular spaces …

In common with many artists, pray-ers and writers I think of our ultimate Heaven as fullness of life expressed in colours hitherto beyond our wildest seeing and dreams, but utterly reminiscent, too, of experiences we’ve known throughout our incarnate lives, here, in “this world”. Our hymn book contains a (much too long) version of the Ascensiontide “Hail the day that sees him rise”. Printed service orders (our Sunday usage) allow for discreet pruning. Not so when we use the hymn book, as we did on Thursday. So lots and lots of alleluias! For me though the words sometimes become the means of transport to a different level of seeing and / or hearing.

This “Alleluia” developed whilst humming “Hail the day” on and off over a period of about 48 hours. Sometimes these paintings start out with canvas or paper, paint and brush, and are photographed and digitally developed later. For this one the “medium” has been entirely my miracle iPad with BoxWave stylus. Have a great Sunday-after-Ascension. And may your Alleluias be colour-full and joyful.


BANK HOLIDAY weekend affords a happy extension to “left brain time.” There are always more books I want to read, more paintings I want to paint, more photographs I want to make, more writing to be done, more poems to unfold, more prayer to be celebrated, more people to share some time and stories with, more songs to be sung, more colours to be marvelled at, more silence to be revelled in – than time ordinarily allows. And that very fact is cause for thanksgiving! Life is indeed a rich tapestry. The signs of the reign, the joy of God, are all around me. And I’m immensely thankful for the connections that blogging makes possible with people all around the world.

Today’s artwork is inspired, in Eastertide, by Mary Magdalene, beloved apostle of Jesus, first witness to new life in the Resurrection, loyal provider of intimate and loving support and sustenance, someone generous, open-hearted and giving, someone who just “knew” instinctively, what Jesus’ mission on earth was about, someone released, by God’s goodness, from the kind of prison every one of us finds ourselves in from time to time.

All human persons are “bedevilled” by “Legion” the perpetually underlying and taunting belief that somehow we’re failing to make the grade, we’re unlovable, bigger and better “failures” than anyone else, destined to be “alone”, faithless, heartbroken, misunderstood, wretched. All human persons yearn for the kind of release that Jesus’ love and acceptance brought about in Mary’s life; for the kind of release that she brought about in his.

Mary Magdalene: someone cruelly maligned and abused by religious patriarchy and misogyny across the centuries, but all the while someone I’ve admired and looked to as an icon of life’s richness and fullness, of life’s goodness and generosity, of life’s being – under the vivifying reign of God – a beautifully, colourfully, gorgeously dressed dance with our Creator.

Sydney Carter described Jesus as The Lord of the Dance. In my heart I think of Mary of Magdala as Jesus’ dance-partner and she is clothed, dressed, like the environment all around and about her, in colour and glory. And theirs is a partnership, theirs is a dance that, far from being exclusive and excluding, invites you and I to join. “Shall we dance?”, Mary asks. “And shall we sing?”, asks the Lord of the Dance. And sometimes the colours blur a little in the swirling. And sometimes they’re blended by our tears …

Have you seen the wonder of it? Have you seen Mary’s dress?


Prayer photo/simonmarsh

HERE’S ONE OF MY MANY (thousands of) photos, this one dating back to April 2008, that I love and return to as much as almost any other photo I can think of. I’m not much of a horticulturalist so cannot, I’m afraid, give an account of what is growing before the camera lens, but what I saw through the lens that Spring day is, for me, an image of prayer, my kind of prayer.

Here is a tender shoot, tentatively reaching beyond itself, (though its origins lie in a space, a place, a heart perhaps, before time began) opening slowly, rising out of dark, moist earth. Past, present and future. Here are (tiny) “hands together, eyes closed” all suffused in liquid light, like the newly baptised, yesterday’s and everyday’s.

Here – in tiny, precious hair, and arteries and veins, and nuanced colours, and exquisitely petite majesty – is testimony to the care and the call of a life Source beyond the limited capacity of any one of us fully to comprehend. Here is tenderness. Here is openness. Here is extra-ordinary beauty. Here is a call to life. Here is something precious being graced, and honoured, and sustained by love – before its rising from the earth, throughout its rising and its temporary temporal glory, and after its return to ‘adamah, to dust.

And this is prayer. My kind of prayer. The kind of love I live for, and in and with. Like you do.


EASTER HOLS drawing to a close and the nation’s headed back to work upon the morrow. I read today that April was the warmest the UK has known for donkey’s years and I loved it! – but it’s this Spring’s colours that will stay in my mind’s eye, I think. Maybe we’d eventually become a bit blasé if we woke up to blue skies and sunshine every day – but I’m hoping that, for a while at least, this lovely weather’s here to stay.


bird of paradise

IS IT STILL GREY IN THE UK? I’ll miss the colours here. Reds and blues, and greens and yellows and gold. I haven’t been missing grey. And I’ll miss the mellowness of our days here. Leisured meals, early bed, books, seaside ambles, no phone, time to write, birdsong, meditation, time and space to pray. I could cheerfully stay.

But would it begin to pall? I’m always aware, as a taker, a holiday-maker, of mucho trabajo for the smiling people here who maintain it all. And aware too of Egypt, Libya, New Zealand’s earthquake – the world has carried on, with good and ill, in the brief time we’ve been away.

It’ll be right and good when it’s time to fly home, whether or not the UK’s grey. For now we dreamers must live in the “real world”. And, God willing, we’ll return here anyway.

Yet dreaming, in the midst of this world’s action, is actually the ground of my faith. I dream of a new kingdom come some day, where in colours, and peace, no more destruction, or pain, souls amble, hear birdsong, live in love, and – returned – feel they’ve never been away.

posted from iPad by BlogPress

Fuerteventura, Spain