13th May – A Prayer for Today

Sometimes it’s the small things that get you down – my hair hasn’t been this ‘wild’ since my student days and the streets of the village have become too familiar.

Last night I listened to a talk by a poet who I admire. It was a recording made at a festival I attended a couple of years ago. I’d been disappointed to have missed hearing him speak at the time but the venue tent had been overfull, so I’d moved on.

His talk was good: funny, sad, reassuring and challenging – but what was best was that the microphone picked-up the background noise, the sounds from other sites – laughter, applause and music from other tents: it was almost as though I was ‘there’.

Greenbelt, like many other summer season events, has been cancelled this year, as a family we will miss it enormously but it will be back in 2021 and in the mean time they have made available their back catalogue of recorded talks to listen to at home.

Dear Lord,
everything is so uncertain
so much we were looking forward to
simply can’t happen.
Our world seems to have shrunk,
our horizons narrowed.

Help us to recognise that in unforeseen ways
the world – in virtual form – has come to us:
So that we may ‘visit’
the New York Metropolitan opera house,
look closely at the pictures in the Rijksmuseum,
enjoy a West End musical
or follow the wildlife on the Galápagos.

And on those days when we have the courage,
the inner resolve,
challenge us to ‘explore’ other places, perhaps:
the deforestation of the Amazon,
a refugee camp in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon
or the perilous journey of a polar bear near Hudson Bay
So that our horizons are stretched
that we might be better informed and prepared
to re-shape our world.

Michael Mays