QUAKERS Acrostic Poem

From our Redland Christmas lunch:

Q is for quiet
not silence because there is always the sound of your breathing
or a stirring or a shuffle of feet
a baby’s burble, a passing car, a dog barking, a tweet, voices in the street
or a gurgle (that’s not the baby – that’s the symphony of digestive systems)
or a ping
that kind of thing
or a cough
or – heaven forbid – the mobile phone you thought you’d switched off
buried deep in several layers of reinforced sound-proof padded bag picking up
the decibels and, louder than it has ever done before
going off
Yes Q is for quiet
and sometimes it deepens and blooms to a point
where it reaches out and touches the edge of silence
and the two shake hands
and space and time expand
into something close to the infinite peace beyond
And peace is also a practice
We are practising
in case practising persuades conflict to slink away and take a break
U is for you
(I didn’t say this was about spelling words correctly)
You and me
my friend, my sister or brother, my acquaintance, or a stranger
The other who has that of God within that I’m looking for
and while I’m looking
you may be looking for that of God in me
And maybe…God’s looking out of us at the world
or for us
trying to find us
or looking out for us
whatever that word means to you
For me it means love
A is for awareness
of the small and majestic beauty of things
how we notice
how noticing and expressing can sometimes change the way we live
how listening is an art, a fine art, which is also an A
K is for kayaking kaotically down white water rapids
bouncing over bubbles, slipping down slipstreams
flipping back-flips on cascades of torrents of a flow of
exhilarating energy of living life adventurously
But it doesn’t have to mean living dangerously
Living life as an adventure
embracing whole-heatedly the small but enormous challenge of…
saying hello to the person next to you
Seeing life as an adventure minute by minute
an awfully big one, but not being Peter Pan
not refusing to grow up, but taking on being adult and child at the same time
not imagining an adult is too old to play
or a child is too young to have wise things to say
and no matter what the number of your years
you might sometimes push aside those niggling or enormous fears
and do it anyway
E is for evidence
Not the evidence of Randomised Controlled Trials
that measure this really carefully, but never look at that
a modern miracle that generates incredible medical evidence
for new drugs and new tools that can save and transform lives
but not everything can be measured with numerical rules
And it’s not the evidence of justice in a court
because someone standing up for right and speaking out can be vilified
And it’s not slogans on buses telling randomised lies
It’s the evidence… of the heart…that has its own intelligence
the evidence of experience (which is what empirical means)
sitting in a room with others – it’s not even what we say
it’s tuning in a different way
The evidence of history that hands us heritage with a light touch
inviting us to run with it, or walk with it, holding a torch
R is for real
The reel of the ceilidh dance to the rhythm of fiddles and pipes
The reels of films shown for all ages for entertainment, insight and delight
The cotton reel – threads connecting us to others around the world
hands and minds sewing together pieces of the whole cloth
people elsewhere who teach us how hand-made and home-spun
can be the gold standard not sub-standard
And R is for real
a table of food shared with friends
that brings us into the here and now, gives out good
despite all the complex insoluble intransigent dilemmas and puzzles of everyday life
the vexing perplexities of exiting Brexit (or is it entering Brexit?)
forged out of blinkered bungled binaries
or the sad performance of a lonely president
building a wall across nations to keep the other, that is also himself, out
or the growing gap between rich and poor
or our belated realisation that we are the earth’s custodians not her owners
and she will let us know what is wrong
for we have not treated her with care
Yes R is for real
and this is all real
this mixture of things
sometimes so complex and baffling
S is for simplicity
Something simple that can be savoured
The privilege and pleasure of being here, now
S is for sharing
Fiona Hamilton    December 2018