Leadership as poetry

#563 I’ve been thinking about #leadership…how might you illustrate good leadership? Might it look like #poetry, where the poet is #guided by, and writes from, something so #deep within, they may not fully know the true potential until they arrive it? Just as the #interplay between #words is key in poetry, is the cooperation between team members key in leadership, or is a leader always successful regardless of the dynamics of the team?


Christ in you and Christ in me

Community church
Community church in context
Community church in context with Christ at the centre
Christ in you and Christ in me
Christ crucified and died – why?
To collapse the corrupt, cold and contemptuous
To carry those who are cleaned out, companionless or crying out
To give courage to the collective
regardless of class, creed or citizenship
We needn’t have anything in common
except that all were created and configured with one image
That of Creator, redeemer and sustainer
Christ in you and Christ in me
Claire, Charlie, or Chris
Cruising in an old cortina or a classic convertible
In church, clinic, college, even the House of Commons
At Christmas, Candlemas or crucifixion
Chef, carpenter, civil engineer or cleric
Council house, cottage or country manor
in Chester, Cupar, Cardiff, Coventry, Chichester or Clitheroe
All form the collective, the church
Christ in you and Christ in me
So why do communities come a cropper
Contaminated by crime, cruelty and contumacy
Cascading, collapsing into churlishness, condescension and discontent
Charity is exchanged with cupidity
Collegiality converts to a disconnect
A chink in our cityscape
With conviction we clutch our comfort blankets, careful not to catch
sight of concepts or commoners who cast confusion
Christ in you and Christ in me?
Christ at the centre, context of church in the community
Church or community


One-Way Traffic

An “All traffic” sign points ahead to the only possible direction in the middle of the day in a busy unknown city on a one-way route. The Sat Nav clearly states otherwise with a sharp, repetitive “Make a u-turn where possible.” Neither was this the intended route. How did I end up here, and how do I make my way through? This is the third time I have seen this stretch!

There are times when the one-way street just is not where you want, or need to be. Slowly following all the other cars, as they impatiently try to weave through the traffic and get a little further ahead. As I lean towards frustration, I wonder whether this is perhaps all they can do to break the mould, to exert their individuality. Or does a sense of importance  urge them forward?

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray; each of us has turned to our own way….” Well, if only we could turn our own way! Claustrophobia sets in as I realise there is no getting out! I’m stuck in this one way traffic with all of these other cars, blindly following, unable to question…no-one to ask. A desperate plea begins to lurch from deep within – a loud, shrill scream escapes.

My heart is in my head, beating loud and fast. “Make a u-turn where possible” has become my theme tune, repeated over and over in my head as everything becomes black. An unceasing horn beeps from somewhere around me, but I am powerless to act. Overwhelmed by this one way traffic, which is not my way, I try to abort or eject, to go a different way.

Yet this is the one thing which the system will not allow. Health and safety, law and order and “It’s always been like this” offer justifications for this one-way traffic, but each excuse seems steeped in bureaucracy, unable to hear criticism or alternative suggestions. And so we remain stuck in this crazy one-way system, which fails for so many navigators – how could this be my way?!


The Mighty Pen

“The pen is mightier than the sword.” What does this mean? A pen cannot kill, neither can it be used as a tool for decapitation. It is unable to vindicate with violence and fails to bring retribution or retaliation. A pen would be useless as an aide to self-defence so how on earth is it a mighty tool, never mind one that is mightier than that which takes life?

What do we even mean by the term “mighty?” A sign of strength perhaps? Undoubtedly physical, and yet a pen does not seem to be so physical. Powerful and important perhaps, but how can such concepts be quantified – what measures should be used? Mighty as large maybe, larger than life even, and yet a pen is significantly smaller than the sword.

The pen does not protect from harm. It is not an outward sign of strength, yet it is highly acclaimed by diplomats, lovers, lyricists, poets, politicians and writers of every tribe and nation. It is not violence but voice that has power and superiority; not the wails of war that positively transform society, rather greater consideration of whys and wherefores.

This mighty pen used by wordsmiths of the world is there for all to use. To speak out and be heard, or so they say. Actually though, this mighty pen does discriminate in a similar way to the sword. It is only available to the educated, the literate and the privileged. And what about those who censor or dismiss what is written? We hear and read what others allow us to….

Where is the justice, the will to fight, for fairer opportunities to speak out and be heard? We fail again and again to use this mighty pen, instead choosing the superior cellotape to silence the stubborn, stupid slanderers of our successful society. Successful for who and at what cost? Perhaps we’ll never know while censorship reigns and the mighty pen falls.

The Echoing Tunnel

Complex journey; seemingly endless
tunnel, a tiny prick of brightness
in the distance – is this the holy grail?
Catch a glimpse of all that lay before…
nothing that darkness fails to obscure.
Of times gone by; experiences…
of people, places, words and faces.
Some are forgotten, distant and dim
whilst others continue to dwell within,
to haunt and taunt, calibrate to fail.
The eyes adjust, determination
over-rides defeat, condemnation
slips away slowly leaving room for
a hint of hope. Faint at first, still raw
from echoes of life lived long ago,
yet gradually it starts to grow.
Here, within the tunnel, a new pale
emerges – ceasing agitation
overwhelmed by anticipation.

The Faceless Woman

Saturday afternoon. Miserably bleak.
Incomplete mundane tasks creep upon me;
fuel gauge beeps, warning lights flash.
Fuel station! Reluctantly I pull in.
Frustration looms and I wait,
as she stops me in my tracks.

I fail to see this faceless woman in my hotheadedness.
At least I don’t really see her and her need;
the pain and upset which she bears are also invisible.
Do I even want to see such brokenness?
Much easier to ignore, or rather simply not address.
Yet, as if prompted, I get out of the car
to draw closer to the bereavement of which we never speak.

Her agitation is plain. That I see.
Yet I don’t see, she is faceless to me.
‘It won’t work,’ cries her despair.
Indeed something is wrong, it needs fixing…
‘no…I must go to London,’
she whispers. What a nightmare.

Finished I bid ‘take care and drive safely.’
And then I see her, this faceless woman;
old, frail, weary and distressed.
Embodiment of human brokenness,
and yet beautiful in her
vulnerability, exposed.

For this faceless woman, her unnamed grief, I feel compassion
as never before – it brings me to my knees.
Evident in my eyes, she seeks to claim it for her own;
she flings her arms around me and we embrace.
This moment, like a sacrament, shows us God’s unending grace.
On release, we look at each other anew
God’s love brims over for the other, we turn and leave transformed.