The Sacred Presence

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For Felicity Walker

*

This morning, at the altar rail, I kneel

Beside a woman called Felicity

As delicate as china roses, frail

Much closer to the mystic veil than me

And as the priest approaches with the host

A ray of sun comes sudden from the east

Lord, let it shine on her, who needs it most

And waste it not on me, who needs it least

And so it comes, in blazing gold and white

Infusing her with glory as she prays

Behold, she is an angel full of light

Enfolded in the wonder of his ways

There at the altar with Felicity

I feel the sacred presence next to me

*

© Gail Foster 14th May 2017

Easter Sunday; Devizes

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for John (Ted) Dexter

*

no cars on the road

all of the town sofa bound

food lulled and sleeping

walking home, a man

evensong’s slow gentle peace

on him like monks’ robes

old man and poet

meet in quiet communion

by the graveyard gate

souls of the same shade

in unspoken fellowship

watching the birds fly

on the bridge, silence

white blossom, silver water

Easter Sunday light

*

© Gail Foster 17th April 2017

Come Rise

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Written for the Gorsedd of the Bards; Avebury, England, Spring 2017

*

Can you feel her in the blood

The turning tides, the shifting of the skies

Or hear her on the wind, or in the cries

Of gulls that wheel above the drying mud

Come rise…

Can you sense her in the urge

Of flames that lick the furze and lambs that leap

Of sap that rushes sudden from the deep

In swirls of sacred water in the surge

Come rise…

Can you feel her in the stone

The ancient fire, the spark of energy

The force that flows through river, rock, and tree

The movement of the marrow in the bone

Come rise…

Can you taste her on the lips

The heady scents of grass and honey wine

Of sun warmed earth and rain on celandine

Upon the tongue, upon the fingertips

Come rise…

Can you feel her in the beat

Of wing on air, of drum, of run of deer

Or see her colours on the hill appear

All blazing bright, alive with pulsing heat

Come rise…

What are you, man, but water through her hand

The winter’s ashes and the summer’s dust

A flick of life and then a flare of lust

Then back into the earth on which you stand

Come rise…

Be still, and feel her raw and naked power

Come forth as lightening, set the trees alight

Set hares to run and horses to take flight

Through alder grove and furrowed field in flower

Come rise…

*

© Gail Foster 18th March 2017

Watch My Soul For Me

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I wrote this rhyme when I was young, and sometimes I say it to the moon…

*

Glide high, my glimmering crystal moon

Across the mirror of the sea

Mother of water and blood

Watch my soul for me

Curve, pendulum, clock of the night

In your swing, in your sway

In your shadow of light

Watch my soul for me

*

© Gail Foster 1980 something

The Light Is Not A Solemn Thing, It Shines

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for Sarah

*

The light is not a solemn thing, it shines

With merry glee and mirthful gentleness

Will not be held a hostage, in confines

Of darkened halls where little ones confess

The sins of fathers that they never chose

Nor be a slave to chapter, scripture, verse

Be boundaried, or fettered in its flows

It is the joy of blessing, not a curse

It isn’t how you said it was.  You lied

I ran, and left your lies behind the door

And here I am, and oh, the light is wide

Mysterious, and infinite, and more

A wildly wilful, free, and feisty thing

I wear a ribbon in my hair, and sing

*

© Gail Foster 26th February 2017

This sonnet was written for my friend Sarah, who left the Plymouth Brethren.  In accordance with the Brethren’s belief in the Doctrine of Separation, those who have left are no longer allowed contact with their friends or families.  In recent years former members have developed the custom of writing their loved ones’ names on yellow ribbons as a symbol of love and remembrance.

Sorrow Weeps For Me

*

In dusty cupboards, far from prying eyes

I hide my dark and private miseries

And dress for town in bright accessories

With reddened lips, and silkly stockinged thighs

And sickly smile, in magical disguise

For there be war to fight on days like these

Dark demons to defeat, and gods to please

And light to draw down from the sullen skies

In dusty cupboards, Sorrow weeps for me

There be no place for cowards in the fray

Nor dark despair, nor moaning misery

To dull my fire and fill me with dismay

Or worse, betray me to the enemy

– I’ll catch you later, Sorrow, I’m away…

*

© Gail Foster 28th January 2017

The Old Lights Of Christmas

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Devizes, Wiltshire; New Year’s Eve…

*

The cyclist sees, in the edge of her eye

Fireworks flash in the distant beyond

Ghostly swans on the dark of the pond

The old lights of Christmas go glittering by

The cyclist sees, in the edge of her eye

Houses shimmer with sparkling rain

Curtains drawn on sorrow and pain

The old lights of Christmas go glittering by

The cyclist sees, in the edge of her eye

Stars wheel over the Market Place

The shift of a shadow on Ceres’ face

The old lights of Christmas go glittering by

*

© Gail Foster 31st December 2016