Sunday, 26 October 2014

Renew, Refresh, Rejoice - Poems from a Priest

More Poems From The Pen Of Father Rob
In Thames Ditton parish, faced with the mammoth of task of raising £250,000 for the repair and renewal of their church buildings (which celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2015), it’s ‘all hands to the pump’. Events range from the Parish Ball run by the Women’s Group to a Car-Wash organised by the Confirmation Candidates. Father Rob Esdaile, the parish priest, is making his own contribution, publishing a second volume of poetry, with its title drawn from the theme of the parish’s Jubilee Year, Renew, Refresh, Rejoice. It would be an ideal stocking-filler for Christmas! Copies can be obtained for £5 (+ £1.50 postage) from Our Lady of Lourdes RC Church, Hampton Court Way, Thames Ditton KT7 0LP.

Reproduced below is one of the more seasonal poems in the collection:

His Name Is John

That stubborn look in his wife’s eye,
the glint that he’s observed often of a morning or an evening
across the breakfast table or when doling out the steaming stew;
that set of mouth which both provokes and yet attracts
and which he knows he cannot countermand,
voices her conviction that ‘His name is John.’
And a dozen pairs of eyes are fixed on him
as he scribbles down his mute reply: ‘She’s right!’
Then a dozen tongues are of a sudden wagging,
plus his own, restored, pouring out his praise of God
against the nosy neighbours’ counterpointing commentary.

His name is John, or rather Jehohanan:
Meaning,‘The Almighty has shown forth his favour.’
The aging priest already knows the meaning of this blessing:
his son is not in his control. For the tiny infant scowl betrays
the self-same stubborn rightness of his wife
and in a few years, no doubt, the boy will be gone,
lost to wanderlust or to some harebrained plan of revolution, he presumes,
but lost in fact (did he but know the truth) to God.

No matter, though: ‘His name is John.’
God’s favour rests on him.
And while he voices his first flush of pride
this father gives his restless son
the tools to do his future work
hymning the undying goodness of the Lord.


©Rob Esdaile, 2014

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