About 10 days ago I returned to the UK as my Mum had taken three falls and ended up in hospital. Mum has a disease called Parkinsons and is entering into its final stages. How this stage has manifested in my Mum includes huge anxiety, depression, constipation, stiffness, jerks, little mobility and memory loss. She’s eaten and drunk very little hence there’s has been a significant amount if weight loss.

It has been an emotional roller coaster for all of us filled with moments of her rallying and and moments of saying goodbye. Her quality of life is not great. Recognizing who is in the the room with her is a challenge as engagement with the world outside of her eyelids is limited! She gets locked into this internal world which we only get glimpses of. For example, last night we left her at the hairdressers getting her hair done which was quite funny!

During this time, in order to help process the change in Mum the one thing I’ve been doing is picking up the pen again. Below are free verse rants that have tumbled out of these weird circumstances.

Mum. June 14

Hair once styled
each strand
now displaced
makes you beautiful in pain
curls you inwards
into a world I’m blind too

heart beating stranger
I lean in to
kiss the skin
shallow, sunken breathing
you smell sweet
sweet Mum
a name no other owns like you

holding my hand veins
intertwining with mine
soft discoloured warm hands
I speak four words

I love you Mum
“I love you dear”
I love you Mum
“I love you dear . . . where you going?”

Bones and Bedsheets. June 16

Writhing cotton
growing like vines
around thin branchlike

“Can we go home now?”

contorted cries grasping
bedsides of plastic
lock limbs in
“Oh . . . Graham! Graham!”

bursts out tender hands
familiar touch
comfort arrives calm
and for moments you stop
crying trying

“Get your coat Graham.
The doctors said I could go.”

“No dear, we need to get you well”
greets the painful heart
of tangled bones
and bedsheets.


MERTON & ME. DAY 25 of 35

So I was taking a break walking around the neighbourhood today trying to get my head out of my paper when my thoughts were interrupted by this 3 year old toddler who was outside sat on a step screaming “Can I come out of time out please? Can I come out of time out please?” All I could do was laugh. Literally laugh. That 3 year old completely expressed how I am feeling about writing this paper!! But alas on we go! 10 more days left then time-out will be done!




I want to starve . . .
my hopelessness
my fears
my anger
my victim mentality
my worry
my anxiety
my selfishness
my self-righteousness
my judgement
my dividedness
my pessimism
my ego;
you know, all those things that make me small,
that shrivel my heart up,
and make me blind to life, connection,
the other, and You.

So today I start
by letting hope feed me
because hope, when I eat it, makes me
feel as though

no circumstance is inherently hopeless.

MERTON & ME. DAY 21 of 35

Two weeks today and the paper will be handed in. Yesterday had another break through with the paper writing which was a relief – the penny dropped so to speak.

Anyway’s here’s where it went . . .


MERTON & ME. DAY 19 of 35

Been a while since writing in this space. I moved back out to the suburbs last weekend and have been trying to get myself back into the writing head space. It’s been tough. Life has crowded in a little and I’ve been fighting to keep motivated. Upon leaving the city I had written a large chunk of the main section on Merton’s anthropology. I was hoping to get it nailed, however it still remains to be completed.

Drawing on the narrative of Scripture I’ve explained Merton’s view of the human person in 3 movements – life in the garden, the journey of exile and the journey of return. Life in the garden explains the Merton’s unified understanding of the person. Made in the image and likeness of God the person is constituted and animated through their union with God. This union is one of love and life.  Both God and the person are breathing the same air. The person is a unique and unified soul (body, mind, heart). Like God and yet distinct. Out of the outflow of this loving relationship with God the person sees and loves the other as God intends.

The journey of exile describes the fracturing of what was once unified – relations with God, the self and the other. Adam who possessed so much in God desired one more possession – “he wanted to add to the knowledge of good, which he already had, the knowledge of evil” (106, TNM).  Merton suggests that Adam wanted to “know evil in a way in which it was not even known by God . . . by experience” (106, TNM).  His desire for what [Read more...]