The gift of space to write, think and pray

January 15, 2021| Past Issues, Emmanuel Church

As I write, this strange year of 2020 is coming to a close. The Covid virus came upon us suddenly and changed our lives completely. This has been a truly global trauma. I thought that I would look back on these last 9 months and reflect on the year by focussing on poems that I wrote at different stages in the year.

Looking back to March and the first lockdown many of us were shut in far more than we were used to being. Others were working frantically in the NHS and other front-line services to help make life possible. It was out of this first period of feeling trapped that this poem came.

The rabbit run

The gift of space to write
And think and pray
Has landed on us like a cloud.
We’re now fenced in like rabbits in a run
Whose minds still stretch beyond the universe.

Is God the bringer of all this darkness
Or does he meet our eyes
From lonely cross?
We’re frightened and trapped
Like rabbits in a run
Whose minds still stretch beyond the universe.

Come June and the poppies were flowering near Pilgrims Way like never before. As I walked amongst them at first light they linked powerfully with what was happening in the world.

I can’t breathe

This is the season of poppies
Not peonies.
Forty thousand faces
Not dancing in the sun.
Each poppy a family
Sitting quietly in grief
Carer and cared for
Meeting equally in pain.
Ambulances rushing patients
Who cry out
‘I can’t breathe!’

This is the season of poppies
Not peonies.
When pent up protests
Crowd our empty streets
To make us look inside
To see if racial hatred
Lies within our pleasant hearts.
We’ve let injustice reign too long.
Now well respected ears must hear
The black man, helpless, Christ like
Cry out
‘I can’t breathe!’

As we end the year I want to end on a more positive note as the start of the vaccinations points to a turning of the tide.

Breathing again

It was a morning to breathe in creation
And to breathe out exhilaration.
The skylark rising in practised song,
Sparrows flitting from frond to frond,
Deer watching with alerted ears,
The field grass left long for future food,
The sea calm now after crashing waves.
Life is on the move again.
The heaviness of politics seems distant here.
The rush of scientists chasing cures
Continues hidden for a moment now.
The sun rises and announces hope
Of life and breath and hugs again.

I do wish you all a much happier New Year.

If there are ways that you feel the church community can be of help to you then please contact us: or call 01483 561603 or 560560.

Frank Scammell
Vicar of Emmanuel Stoughton

Church Office: 01483 561603