Poetry from the pen of Pat Marsh

Saturday, 16 December 2017


as the glory of God
illuminates the night
and shepherds
before angelic choirs

the rest of the world
remains oblivious

whilst a young mother
and an awestruck father
take in the miracle
and the mystery

the rest of the world
continues unaware
that everything
just changed

a gift of Love
lies sleeping in the straw

the greatness of God
takes baby small breaths
in the hay

the Prince of Peace
peacefully sleeps

God has come

God has come
to us

and almost no-one

Ragamuffin Rumours

I tell you
it’s hard to know
what to believe
there’s a story flying round the town
that the Messiah’s been born
here in Bethlehem

would you credit it
right here
in this very town they say

and there are wild rumours
of angels
and dazzling stars
and choirs in the sky

it beggars belief

the Messiah
in Bethlehem

it’s only gossip I’m sure

let’s face it
the town’s bursting at the seams
with this stupid census
and no-one else
not one single person
seems to have heard or seen
this ‘heavenly announcement’

strikes me
maybe the wine’s been flowing
a little too freely
at all those family reunions

I have to say though
it’s certainly got folks talking

but here’s the rub
they say it started
with a group of shepherds
spreading the news

well I ask you
what a group of misfits and rogues they are
it has to be a hoax

the hope of Israel?
born in Bethlehem?
and a bunch of ragamuffin shepherds
the first to hear the news?

can’t possibly be true

The Melting

it seemed
as if the heavy weight of her weariness
melted into the straw
as her exhausted body
surrendered itself
to the makeshift bed
that Joseph had fashioned

it was done

the child was born

the promised one
was here

and a river
of unimaginable
relief and joy
washed over her and through her
like an all-consuming tidal wave

he was safely come

she knew not
what the future held

but God had come good
she knew she could trust
her Adonai

she had surrendered her body
to his purposes
and he
had delivered on his promise

and through the swirling mist of emotion
and a million unanswerable questions
through the discomfort
and after pains
of childbirth
in the total unknowing
of what came next
the whole weight of her tired body
settled into the straw
and utter joy
flooded her senses

God had come good

let it be to me
she thought
according to your Word


Saturday, 3 June 2017

Holy Fire

it came
out of nowhere
a great thunderclap of sound
and a rushing roaring wind
powering through the room
like the stormiest gale on a wave-whipped sea
pure unadulterated power
ripping through the space

and a great explosion of fire
saturating the senses
blowing apart all concepts of God
tongues of flame
raining down on us
vibrant infusions
of red, orange, gold
heavenly spotlights
homing in
on their targets

and then


a long, loud silence

as the fireball
dispersed itself
and we were left with
flickering dancing candle flames
on each one of us
with the gentle hypnotic beauty
of fire that danced and blazed
yet did not burn
flames that covered
but didn’t consume

and after the moment
of shock-filled fear
a sense of quiet wonder
rippled through the room

and someone
Matthew I think it was
began to smile
a warm
bringing a sparkle to the eyes kind of smile
as the huge relief
of recognition
came upon him

the fire of God
he whispered
it’s the fire
of God
the burning bush that does not burn

he’s done it again
he’s kept
his promise

remember what John said?

he will baptise you
with fire
with the Holy Spirit
and with fire

and suddenly we were laughing
embracing each other
not understanding
but knowing
knowing this was him
this was the gift he’d promised
and we were touching the flickering fires
daring to hold
their flame dancing beauty
in wonder-filled moments
of joy
and recognition
and indescribable
and humility

the Spirit
was with us

and power
rippled through us
with all the grace and wonder
and profound simplicity
that we had to come to expect
of the Master

and everything


Wednesday, 16 December 2015

A Christmas Prayer

risk-taking God,
re-enter our hearts
as we ponder your coming amongst us.

Holy and beautiful
radiant God,
shine in our dark
as we think of your birth in the stable.

Peaceful and merciful
all-loving God,
pour your compassion out through us.

Let us love like you,
live like you ,
bear your Good News to our world.

Let Emmanuel
live on through us.

risk-taking God,

re-enter our hearts
as we ponder your coming amongst us.


Spirit of the Incarnation

Spirit of the Incarnation

Holy birther
of possibility

rushing wind
dancing flame
within the womb

gentle whisperer
promise nurturer
of change

in this flawed
and wounded temple
of my being

be the energy of God

my resistance
to your flow,
break through
with power and wisdom,
and shine
gloriously shine

Spirit of the Incarnation

be fully enfleshed
in this place
this time
in me

A Whisper in the Night

He came
out of nowhere,
like a whisper in the night,
delivered the message,
the truly astounding message,
and then
like a half forgotten dream in the morning
he was gone
as if he'd never been,
leaving me wondering
wrestling with questions unanswerable,
knowing that everything
every single thing
had just

I had said my yes
and now
there was no turning back.

I rested my hand
on my belly
and pondered
the mystery of it all.