Faith took a holiday

He hitched down the Hume, or up;
he didn’t tell me. Faith has no fear
of murder, or everyday sleazes
and their boring imprecations.
It’s the ones left behind
who tend to fret. What if,
we say, and perhaps
as if perhaps isn’t Faith
flipped like a decisive coin,
standing on his head.
As if as if isn’t
closer to for sure
than some might like it to be.

Faith rang me from Melbourne,
(so it was down the Hume)
and said he wanted to look around
a bit longer; catch the trams.
He too remembers
the excellent days of conductors,
with their magical brown bags.
Even Faith feels regret
at the passing of old days;
the spinning of so much
towards the expansive sun
of interconnected drivel.
There is a grace
in not knowing too much,
he said, though Faith would say that,
I suppose. That’s his job.
A kind of conductor
unseen in any tram,
on any route, whatsoever.

Faith will return soon;
I can hear the jingling
just at the edge of thought
and the tune is one
I almost remember.
The brown bag of my
restless, overloaded brain
awaits his presence,
and will sling itself, eager,
over his patient arm.

P.S. Cottier


Like a lot of the world, I’m suffering the post-US election blues, and almost didn’t post this week.  The clever amongst you will have noticed that it is Wednesday, not Tuesday, and the weekly schedule has been disrupted.   But poetry is fairly unstoppable!

For my overseas readers, the Hume is the major highway linking Melbourne and Sydney. Canberra is just a wee drive from it.

I have no idea why Faith is male in the poem.  Perhaps it was some association with Christ? And my phone has just died, which has me longing for the ‘interconnected drivel’ which I decry in the poem, even if I’m avoiding news sites at the moment.

Faith, hope, love

September 9, 2014

Sometimes amongst the flow of evil events that we call ‘news’ you read something so beautiful that it seems to come from a different, kinder planet.

Or Iowa, in this case, where a lesbian couple who have been in a relationship for over 70 years were just married:

This story emphasises that the lives of ninety year olds can be as full of meaning and even excitement as those of people in their twenties. It also reminds people who tend to write off the United States just how diverse that country is. And how diverse Christianity is, too.

I hope that some day we will see such marriages in Australia. Civil marriages and religious marriages, for those who want them. If only most relationships lasted 70 years! To quote Corinthians:

‘But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.’

(For once that is not the King James version, as that translates the last term as ‘charity’, which sounds a little odd to modern ears.)

This story is definitely the poem of the week. And I hope my complete lack of sarcasm may be forgiven by regular readers, for this week only!


Tuesday poem: Prayer

December 17, 2012


Let me kill the cynicism
that dogs me, toothily.
Let cleverness die
just for today;
let me believe
with simplicity,
that hope was born
that hope is with us
that hope will come again.

Let me lie down in pillowy hay;
no more maybes and yets
and tired, half-hearted smirk.
Or better still, blow me, now, full-sailed
and squalling, billowing onto faith.

P.S. Cottier


May I wish all my readers a Merry Christmas, whatever their faith (or lack of faith).

And, to get away from simple faith and back to weird curiosity, note how two of the wise men in Jacques Daret’s painting seem to be talking into their sleeves, like security guards looking after a VIP.

For the last time this year, click this feather for further poetic gifts. It’ll all be happening again next year, from January 22nd.

Tuesday Poem

Unwrapping belief

December 22, 2011

Go for his wings! His wings!

I’ve posted this poem before on this blog, but here it is again as I wanted to have something for Christmas.  I would now describe myself as an agnostic, rather than an atheist, as I was when I wrote this poem. I sometimes picture Jesus as a ninja, waiting to leap out on unsuspecting rationalists.  (That’s not him above, that’s Jacob with an angel, by Louis Bonnat.)

We’ll see where I am by next Christmas!

First published in ‘The Mozzie’, Queensland.

The atheist at Christmas

Yes, I wish for more, more than these tottering temples,
these building blocks of presents under this most
European plastic tree, dropping leaves unseasonably.

If only it were possible, to unwrap belief, to kiss it quick
like an unexpected guest under mistletoe’s sharply
convenient hangover marriage.

But God is an idea too far, too gaudy, too stuffed,
fills a void of longing with crumbs unreasonably.
The brain must talk turkey, (or mouth gobble on).

Faith desire shines each new born December,
but frail batteries barely make month’s end.
By then it will have broken down.

And then be gone.

P.S. Cottier