Poems from around the world

Revolutionary Love

A poem by Bishop Graham Kings, inspired by Luke 6: 20-36. 
Written during Holy Week 1987 at St Andrew’s Institute, Kabare, Kenya.

The Resistance Movement

A poem by Bishop Graham Kings, 'The Resistance Movement', looking at Luke 13:18-21. 
Written during Holy Week 1987 at St Andrew’s Institute, Kabare, Kenya.

Help Us, O Righteous God

A poem by Muthuraj Swamy.

St Ambrose of Milan

A poem by St Ambrose of Milan, a fourth centry Bishop and influential figure in the church.

Prayer Stool

A poem written by Graham Kings in 1986 in Kenya.

Previously published on Fulcrum: https://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/articles/prayer-stool/

"You were called to freedom, brothers,
only make sure this freedom does not let sin crouch at your door;
if you are at each other so ferociously,
watch that you do not kill each other:
if you are led by the spirit - with its life-giving harvest
you will not be under the law - with its deadly flesh"
(trans. Gal 5.13-18)
Ever since we fell short to another
to our better brother
that guilt, paralysing, 
left us restless - 
that blood poured out
cries up to the Father,
but what it says 
we dare not consider;
a convicted sinner
holds the withering harvest
out - 
expecting rejection.
Yet that flesh
held out so fresh
rots all the same
and the plain condemnation
that kills Cain kills Abel.
And so two brothers,
away from the Father's house
one concerned with flesh
the other with acceptance
hear it: live in the Spirit.
where the flesh counts for nothing
where the fruit is accepted
where the temple crumbles falteringly
where the faltering body becomes a temple
where the restless find home.
So the divisions that plagued races
til the passing of ages
degrades in that crucified embrace
- both brothers so small
at the feet of Christ their all in all.

A poem by Jamie Klair, reflecting on the message of Paul in his letter to the Galatians. 

Turning Point for Augustine

A poem by Bishop Graham Kings, for Advent.

Hindu Poem by Tukaram

Tukaram(1608–1645) was a prominent Varkari Sant and spiritual poet in the Bhakti tradition.
His poetry was very popular with ordinary people, expressing the possibility of direct communion with God.

Pentecost Prose Poem

A poem by Bishop Graham Kings.

It seems to me that the Holy Spirit may appropriately be called ‘He’ or ‘She’, but not ‘It’, for the Spirit is profoundly personal not a simple force. For a change, let’s try ‘She’.

She bubbles like a spring, tumbles like a waterfall, meanders like a river and welcomes us like the sea. You may as well try to bottle the wind as capture her. She is wild and unrestrained, surprising and unpredictable, yet true to her character and utterly reliable. She is reticent and reflective, giving glory to the Son and the Father.

Like the wild desert wind she drives and scorches. Like the oil of the olive tree she heals and soothes. In a still, small voice she speaks and questions. The contemptuous proud she resists and brings down. The humble poor she supports and uplifts. Our imagination she enlarges and stretches. Our humdrum existence she enlightens and enlivens. Who can resist the draw of her calling to come to Christ and delight in God?

She does not force and manipulate, but coaxes and draws. She inspires, enthuses, interprets and invigorates. She warns and reminds, convicts and convinces. She brings joy and delight, depth and sorrow, a feast in want and fasting in plenty.

She does not ingratiate but delivers grace. She does not calculate but risks adventure. She does not rest on her heels but is fleet of foot. She is not sedentary but agile, not ponderous but quicksilver. All who know her, love her, for she loves the Son and the Father.

Republished, with permission from, Graham Kings Signs and Seasons: a Guide for your Christian journey (Canterbury Press, 2008) and Fulcrum (https://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/articles/pentecost-prose-poem/).

Crossing the Water

A poem by Bishop Graham Kings.


A poem by Sri Aurobindo (15 August 1872 – 5 December 1950) – an Indian nationalist, political leader, spiritual leader, author and poet. Major works include the epic Savitri.

Taken from http://www.poetseers.org/the-poetseers/sri-aurobindo/index.html 

Walk and Touch Peace

A poem by Buddhist poet Thich Nhat Hahn.

One Instant

One Instant by Wu Men.

Translated by Translated by: Stephen Mitchell
From: The Enlightened Heart

A Bridge of Peace

A Bridge of Peace by Ada Aharoni.

(English version of "My Palestinian Sister")
'They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and
none shall make them afraid" (Micah, 4. 4)
My Palestinian sister,
Daughter of Abraham, like me,
Let us build a sturdy bridge
From your olive world to mine,
From my orange world to yours,
Above the boiling pain
Of acid rain prejudice -
And hold human hands high
Full of free stars
Of twinkling peace
My Palestinian sister, daughter of Abraham,
I do not want to be your oppressor
You do not want to be my oppressor,
Or your jailer
Or my jailer,
We do not want to make each other afraid
Under our vines
And under our fig trees
Blossoming on a silvered horizon
Above the bruising and the bleeding
Of poisoned gases and scuds.
So, my Palestinian sister,
Let us build a bridge of
Jasmine understanding
Where each shall sit with her baby
Under her vine and under her fig tree -
And none shall make them afraid

Ada Aharoni is an Israeli poet, writer and professor. Ada was born in Cairo, lives in Haifa, and is  President of IFLAC: PAVE PEACE, the International Forum for Literature and Culture of Peace. She writes in Hebrew and English, and her works have been translated into Arabic.

Taken from: http://mideastweb.org/poetry.htm

The Pause

The Pause - a poem by Bishop Graham Kings.

Jesus Goes Underground

A poem by Bishop Graham Kings.

Magi Momentum: Seven Poems on the Magi by Graham Kings

A series of poems on the Magi by Bishop Graham Kings, originally included in Andrew Wheeler’s Desire of Nations: The Magi, their Journey and the Child (2015).

Farcical Journey

Persians not Arabs
Farsi not Arabic,
Magi not Kings:
worship not rule.
Crazy and farcical,
leaving two rivers,
to follow a star,
to worship a King:
a journey afar.
Leaving behind
family and kin,
like Abram of old,
unlike the King:
outside his line.

Through centuries

From the beginning,
Magi pondered and travelled;
offered and worshipped.
For the record,
Matthew collected taxes and stories;
scribed and described.
In the sermon,
Lancelot Andrewes translated and prayed;
preached for the King.
Through the poem,
T S Eliot essayed and imagined;
journeyed to Christ.

Feigning faith

Herod the King,
“racially Arab,
religiously Jewish,
culturally Greek,
politically Roman.”
Baffled, bewildered,
by naïve strangers,
Shocked and scared,
by sacred page.
Secretly, exactly,
gathers facts,
feigns faith,
requests report:
Diligent intelligence.

Offerings Presented

Away from home,
Mission accomplished:
It is finished.
Star trek over,
King discovered,
But not as they know it.
Rapturous joy,
Offerings unwrapped.
Mined mineral, for brilliant mind;
Sweet savour, for sense of spirit;
Balm of burial, for enwrapped body.
Warned and turned,
They follow the Way:
Another way home.

We Refugees

By the first dream,
I was assured:
Mary was faithful,
not fooling around.
That was fulfilled.
By the second dream,
I was warned:
We three refugees
needed to flee.
This was frightening.
We took the road South,
To Gentile territory,
Oppressive or safe?
Who could tell?
Sad and miserable,
Sleepless nights,
Hungry and thirsty,
on the move,
Hardships, distress.
How can we sing
the Lord’s song
in a strange land?
How long, O Lord?
Owning nothing,
yet, with this child,
Possessing everything.

Terror unleashed

Outwitted, outmanoeuvred,
Herod unleashes terror.
Revenge, outraged, ventures out,
Unresisted, unrestrained.
Many are slaughtered to slay the One:
The One survives to save the many.

Perennial problem

Into Egypt,
Joseph was sold,
rose to the heights,
and saved my people.
Out of Egypt,
Moses was freed,
received my Law,
and led my people.
Out of Egypt,
I called my Son,
brought by family,
renewing my people.
Threat of death passed over,
bypassing Judea,
Galilee beckons,
Nazareth welcomes,
my Refugee.
Tragically, later,
home town rejects
home-grown Prophet,
who cites my acts
for people outside.
Unsightly reaction incited:
my perennial problem.
Psalms of Struggle and Liberation by Ernesto Cardenal

Ernesto Cardenal,  born on January 20th 1925 in Granada, Nicaragua, was a revolutionary Nicaraguan poet and Roman Catholic priest who is considered to be the second most important Nicaraguan poet, after Rubén Darío.

Click here to read a biography of Ernesto Cardinal, The Poetry Foundation

Cardenal's poems in Salmos ('The Psalms of Struggle and Liberation', 1964) represent his rewriting of the biblical psalms of David and condemn modern-day evils. These poems, like many of his others, express the tension between his revolutionary political fervour and his religious faith. The book culminates in an apocalyptic view of the world, a theme that becomes an obsession in later works.

Buy The Psalms of Struggle and Liberation

Inkondlo kaZulu by Vilakazi B. Wallet

'Inkondlo kaZulu' by Vilakazi, B. Wallet.

Published by Johannesburg, Witwarsrand Univertsity Press, 1935 (first publication)

Benedict Wallet Vilakazi (6 January 1906 – 26 October 1947) was a South African Zulu poet, novelist and educator. In 1946, he became the first black South African to receive a Ph.D.

After being awared his Bachelors Degree from the University of South Africa in 1934, Vilakazi began work in the Bantu Studies department at the University of Witwatersrand in 1936 under linguist C. M. Doke, and together they created a Zulu-English dictionary. Vilakazi's teaching position made him the first black South African to teach white South Africans at the university level.

Inkondlo kaZulu is the first publication of Western-influenced Zulu poetry. 

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A Cord by Graham Kings
A Cord 
One accord for all
 God and woman:

according to his Word,
God becomes
 conceivably small. 
Life-giving cord
is cut for life:

Heir of the world
 air of the world.
21 December, 2012 Graham Kings
Treasure by Emmanuel Egbunu

Treasure by Archbishop Emmanuel Egbunu, Diocese of Lokoja, Nigeria

Published in Birth Pangs and Other Poems (Tamaza Publishing, 2009)


"No room in the inn"
and you were stranded
in the cold night
Walking in the rain
and by the heat of day scorned 
like a tramp,
forsaking another residence:
Resolved to endure the lashes of time
and to persevere.
O immortal mortal
I understand your language:
many waters cannot quench love.
The streaks of light sear my eyes
fiercely piercing the intervening gloom
and my equivocating thoughts rise
in combat for the room.
Hope would have me strive on
striving and groping along the gloomy way
defying the tides til the treaure is won
and thent to smile at the break of day.
History will have me hold
and be tutored by pains of the past;
"Not all that glitters is gold
nor all that's through the fire shall last"
The treasure I must win
a fatal venture I must save
The fools' paradise must not capture my 
the path of regret I must not pave.
2009, Emmanuel Egbunu