click the small triangle in the recording section to hear the next poem

from the Golden Cap News Sheet

And people stayed home
And they read books and listened
And they rested and did exercises
And they made art and played
And they learned new ways of being,
And they stopped
And they listened more deeply
Someone meditated,
Someone prayed
Someone was dancing
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed.
And in the absence of people who lived in ignorant ways,
Dangerous, Meaningless and heartless,
Even the earth began to heal
And when the danger ended
And people found themselves
They mourned for the dead
And they made new choices
And they dreamed of new visions
And they created new ways of living
And they completely healed the earth
Just as they were healed.

PASSION SUNDAY - The Fifth Sunday of Lent

HOLY SONNETS VII John Donne (1572-1631)

At the round earth's imagined corners, blow
Your trumpets, Angels and arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go,
All whom the flood did, and fire shall overthrow,
All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance, hath slain, and you whose eyes,
Shall behold God, and never taste death's woe.
But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space,
For, if above all these, my sins abound,
'Tis late to ask abundance of Thy grace,
When we are there; here on this lowly ground,
Teach me how to repent; for that's as good
As if thou hadst sealed my pardon, with Thy blood.


RIDE ON! Henry Hart Milman

Ride on! Ride on in majesty!
Hark, all the tribes 'Hosanna!' cry;
Thine humble beast pursues his road
With palms and scattered garments strowed.

Ride on! Ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die:
O Christ, thy triumphs now begin
O'er captive death and conquered sin.

Ride on! Ride on in majesty!
The wingéd squadrons of the sky
Look down with sad and wondering eyes
To see the approaching sacrifice.

Ride on! Ride on in majesty!
Thy last and fiercest strife is nigh;
The Father, on his sapphire throne,
Expects his own anointed Son.

Ride on! Ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die;
Bow thy meek head to mortal pain
Then take, O God, thy power, and reign.


Liturgy of Malabar (4th Century):

Strengthen, Lord, the hands which have been held out to receive these Holy Things. Grant that the ears which have heard the voice of your songs may be closed to the voice of clamour and dispute; that the eyes which have seen your great love may also behold your blessed hope; that the tongues which have sung the Sanctus may also speak the truth; that the feet which have trodden your courts may ever walk in the light; that the bodies which have tasted your living Body may be restored to newness of life.

The marrow of Ecclesiastical History Queen Elizabeth I
on being asked her opinion of Christ's presence in the Sacrament
(A touchy subject for her as people tried to find her real opinions between Catholic and Protestant views.)

'Twas God the word that spake it,
He took the bread and brake it;
And what the word did make it;
That I believe, and take it.

HOLY COMMUNION by Dom Gregory Dix
from a text book! Would that all text books were so poetic!

Jesus told his friends to do this, and they have done it always since. Was ever another command so obeyed? For century after century, spreading slowly to every continent and country and among every race on earth, this action has been done, in every conceivable human circumstances, for every conceivable human need from infancy and before it to extreme old age and after it, from the pinnacles of earthly greatness to the refuge of fugitives in the caves and dens of the earth. Men have found no better thing than this to do for kings at their crowning and for criminals going to the scaffold; for armies in triumph or for a bride and bridegroom in a little country church; for the wisdom of a Parliament or for a sick old woman afraid to die; for a schoolboy sitting an examination or for Columbus setting out to discover America; for the famine of whole provinces or for the soul of a dead lover; in thankfulness because my father did not die of pneumonia; for a village headman much tempted to return to fetich because the yams had failed; because the Turk was at the gates of Vienna: for the repentance of Margaret; for the settlement of a strike; for the son of a barren woman; for Captain so-and so, wounded and prisoner of war: while the lions roared in the nearby amphitheatre; on the beach at Dunkirk; while the hiss of scythes in the thick June grass came faintly through the windows of the church; tremulously, by an old monk on the fiftieth anniversary of his vows; furtively, by an exiled bishop who had hewn timber all day in a prison camp near Murmansk; gorgeously, for the canonisation of St Joan of Arc one could fill many pages with the reasons why men have done this, and not tell a hundredth part of them. And best of all, week by week and month by month, on a hundred thousand successive Sundays, faithfully, unfailingly, across all the parishes of Christendom, the pastors have done this just to make the plebs sancta Dei,the holy common people of God.

And now covid19 has caused us to break that link in physical terms! But in our hearts it will not be stopped. We make our Spiritual Communion separately if we cannot do it together - but still linked into the one body.


The rain in Edith Sitwells poem is the rain of bombs in the blitz in 1940. You can almost hear the crrrump! of the bombs in the background.


Still falls the Rain -
Dark as the world of man, black as our loss -
Blind as the nineteen hundred and forty nails
Upon the Cross
Still falls the Rain
With a sound like the pulse of the heart that is changed to the hammer-beat
In the Potter's field, and the sound of the impious feet
On the tomb:
Still falls the Rain
In the field of blood where the small hopes breed and the human brain
Nurtures its greed, that worm with the brow of Cain.
Still falls the Rain
At the feet of the Starved Man hung upon the Cross.
Christ that each day, each night, nails there, have mercy on us - On Dives and on Lazarus:
Under the Rain the sore and the gold are as one.
Still falls the Rain -
Still falls the Blood from the Starved Man's wounded side:
He bears in his Heart all wounds, - those of the light that died,
The last faint spark
In the self-murdered heart, the wounds of the sad uncomprehending dark.
The wounds of the baited bear, -
The blind and weeping bear whom the keepers beat
On his helpless flesh . . . the tears of the hunted hare.
Still falls the Rain -
Then - O Ile leape up to my God: who pulles me doune -
See, see where Christ's blood streames in the firmament:
It flows from the Brow we nailed upon the tree
Deep to the dying, to the thirsting heart
That holds the fires of the world, - dark smirched with pain
As Caesar's laurel crown.
Then sounds the voice of One who like the heart of man
Was once a child who among beasts has lain -
'Still do I love, still shed my innocent light, my Blood, for thee.'

THE ATONEMENT by Gerald Gould

One died upon a lonely Cross
- Lonely enough with two beside.
Dear, that was your loss and my loss,
And it was there we died.
O past the scope of hand's compelling,
Past the cunning of the eyes,
Past the noose that thought, rebelling,
Flings to snare the skies,
His love reached out to every part,
And taught his fellows to atone,
And broke my heart and broke your heart,
And would not let him die alone.

PIETA by David Gascoyne

Stark in the pasture on the skull-shaped hill,
In swollen aura of disaster shrunken and
Unsheltered by the ruin of the sky,
Intensely concentrated in themselves the banded
Saints abandoned kneel.
And under the unburdened tree
Great in their midst, the rigid folds
Of a blue cloak upholding as a text
Her grief-scrawled face for the ensuing world to read,
The Mother, whose dead Son's dear head
Weighs like a precious blood-encrusted stone
On her unfathomable breast:
Holds Him God has forsaken, Word made flesh
Made ransom, to the slow smoulder of her heart
Till the catharsis of the race shall be complete


EASTER EVE by Alice Meynell

All night had shout of men and cry
Of woeful women filled his way
Until that noon of sombre sky
On Friday, clamour and display
Smote him; no solitude had he,
No silence, since Gethsemane.

Public was death; but Power, but Might,
But Life again, but Victory,
Were hushed within the dead of night,
The shuttered dark, the secrecy.
And all alone, alone, alone,
He rose again behind the stone.


MOST GLORIOUS LORD OF LIFE by Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

Most glorious Lord of Life, that on this day,
Didst make thy triumph over death and sin:
And having harrow'd hell, didst bring away
Captivity thence captive, us to win:
This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin,
And grant that we for whom thou diddest die
Being with Thy dear blood clean wash'd from sin,
May live for ever in felicity.
And that Thy love we weighing worthily,
May likewise love Thee for the same again:
And for Thy sake that all like dear didst buy,
With love may one another entertain.
So let us love, dear love, like as we ought,
Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.

Blessed are you, God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By your great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of your Son from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. Once we were no people, but now we are your people, declaring your wonderful deeds in Christ, who called us out of darkness into his marvellous light. By the baptism of his death and resurrection you gave birth to your Church, delivered us from slavery to sin and death, and made with us a new covenant. At his ascension you exalted him to sit at your right hand, where according to his promise he is with us always, baptizing us with the Holy Spirit and with fire. The joy of the resurrection fills the whole world, and therefore we join with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven, in the song of unending praise, saying:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory! Hosanna in the highest!


It is usually forgotten that the popular hymn "Abide with me" was written as a meditation on the Emmaus story when the disciples walking away from Jerusalem fell in with a stranger - who talked with them and then revealed himself as the risen Christ - "they knew him in the breaking of the bread". "Abide with me" is an echo of the disciples request to Jesus to stay with them that night.
I have written a hymn to that same popular tune that is more directly associated with the Emmaus story.

STAY WITH US by John Eade

Stay with us Lord, great is our need of you
The darkness deepens when we doubt you're true
The Lord is here! Your spirit with us stay!
Lord of our table be with us we pray.

Lord break this bread and now bless it to us
As you were broken for us on the cross
And, as we eat, may we see you, our Lord
Know you and love you, in and through your word.

Shall not our hearts burn in us on the way?
For you our Lord meet here with us today
Open our eyes to read your living word
Give us the message the apostles heard.

Let us rise up and share the news around
The Lord is risen! Shout with joy the sound!
The Lord has met us in the midst of strife
The Lord of Glory is the Bread of Life.

John Eade to tune Eventide "Abide with me" Copyright 1999. May be freely used.


How cheerful all those others were
And how they chanted their belief
"We've seen the Lord!" - "We've seen the Lord!"
Its hard to be the iron man
Who knows what's what and speaks the truth
When people babble on like that,
And pay such scant regard to grief.

"Look, now hear this, pious friends,
Unless I see the fact myself
I will not, cannot, dare'st, not think
That life is stronger than the grave".
I would, I could, deceive myself,
But truth to tell I'm not that brave.

I hold the truth to matter more,
Than any hope or wish.
And only if our Lord himself
Should come to me and tell
What size the nails that held him so,
And spear, what angle, to what depth?
And then I'd say - what would I say -
"My God, they didn't get you after all?"

But when he came and spoke with me,
The questions died upon my lips.
Those hands, that side, what could I say?
I said what leapt from deep within,
"My Lord, you are my God".


Cloud-puffball, torn tufts, tossed pillows
flaunt forth, then chevy
on an air-built thoroughfare:
heaven-roysterers, in gay-gangs
they throng; they glitter in marches.
Down roughcast, down dazzling whitewash,
wherever an elm arches,
Shivelights and shadowtackle in long
lashes, lace, lance and pair.
Delightfully the bright wind boisterous
ropes, wrestles, beats earth bare
Of yestertempest's creases;
in pool and rut peel parches
Squandering ooze to squeezed
dough, crust, dust;
Squadroned masks and manmarks
treadmire toil there
Footfretted in it. Million fuel-ed,
nature's bonfire burns on.
But quench her bonniest, dearest
to her, her clearest selv-ed spark
Man, how fast his firedint,
his mark on mind, is gone!
Both are in an unfathomable, all is an enormous dark
Drowned. O pity and indignation!
Manshape, that shone
Sheer off, disseveral, a star,
death blots black out; nor mark
Is any of him at all stark
But vastness blurs and time beats level.
Enough! the Resurrection,
A heart's clarion! Away grief's gasping,
joyless days, dejection.
Across my foundering deck shone
A beacon, an eternal beam.
Flesh fade, and mortal trash
Fall to the residuary worm;
world's wildfire, leave but ash:
In a flash, at a trumpet crash,
I am all at once what Christ is,
since he was what I am, and
This Jack joke, poor potsherd,
patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,
Is immortal diamond

'Come, dear heart' A LIVING EUCHARIST, Evelyn Underhill. With a hymn setting.
'Love bade me welcome' by George Herbert
'Prayer: the Church's banquet' by George Herbert

These are hosted on my website thames.me.uk - "Where Thames smooth waters glide" which is mainly given to a guide to the River Thames - complete with its prints and pictures and history and poetry and water levels and weather and news and events.
It will take weeks to go through the 600 or so pages - but some of us do have the time nowadays!
Keep well!
John Eade