Published on 27 Feb 2017

bee and a cabbage-white select

a radiant dish of sow-thistles;

tortoiseshell practises ephphatha

on sunhot valerian, whilst dandelion’s

unclocked star gives summer’s loss


thus Yeshua’s beatitudes

mere emendations of scribes;

Aramaic tzetels

perpetually frail,

raising the nap on native finery


sugar-burn in chestnut leaves

blackspot spattering sycamore

and under this gingko’s still dance

scarlet pimpernel reduces

to thin pickings


wild teazle gathers dew in leafcups, and

world is growing cold –

its breadth and length, depth and height –

petrichor of burnt waters

of deicidium 

(written by Jonathan Wooding, September 2013, and published in The Third Way magazine in June 2015


The Rain Stick

(Sent in by Jonathan Wooding after it was read to him, and to those taking part in the recent Poetry & Prayer retreat, by Fr Brian McClorry)


Upend the rain stick and what happens next

Is a music that you never would have known

To listen for. In a cactus stalk


Downpour, sluice-rush, spillage and backwash

Come flowing through. You stand there like a pipe

Being played by water, you shake it again lightly


And diminuendo runs through all its scales

Like a gutter stopping trickling. And now here comes

A sprinkle of drops out of the freshened leaves,


Then subtle little wets off grass and daisies;

Then glitter-drizzle, almost-breaths of air.

Upend the stick again. What happens next


Is undiminished for having happened once,

Twice, ten, a thousand times before.

Who cares if all the music that transpires


Is the fall of grit or dry seeds through a cactus?

You are like a rich man entering heaven

Through the ear of a raindrop. Listen now again.


(Seamus Heaney, from The Spirit Level, 1996)