Holy Water

Our daughter Eleanor died on 21st April of this year.


You want to know what’s happening to me where I am now,

which makes me reach for something that will represent the calm, slow

Transformation I’m undergoing. If I ever thought of heaven I imagined

Instantaneous change because I lived in a culture with a fashion

For not waiting. And philosophers ask, if you don’t grow older

In heaven, how can you grow? In this place we grow where

Time and space exist without decay, and death has died out.

External obstacles to growth have been removed, but what about

The internal obstacles, the wrong desire, the bad faith, the stubborn

Addiction? It’s these that constrain us to make such a buggering

Mess of life. So, listen up, while I give you the metaphor of water:

You know my passion for mountains and geology. Give thought to

The way the mountain streams have cut through solid rock

over thousands of years, and not by overwhelming shock

But persistent slow erosion, a soft bite daily into granite

Schist or sandstone, which in time will undermine it.

Or think of the red cliffs at Arbroath, where volcanic pressure

Flung great shelves of seabed into air, home for rock-pigeons, treasure-

-house of fossils, worked from above by rain and from below

By the ceaseless crepitation of the sea. Yes, sometimes a wind-blow

Can knock an adult over, but more than the battering

Of winter storms and spring gales the gentle pattering

Of each day’s tides has worked the arches, spires and dungeons

Where you and I have walked, feet touching the junction

Of land with the sea’s persuasion. The rule of heaven is not control;

Love is not force; God works like water on the soul.

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