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Hello, my dear friend.
We meet once again;
a unique sting of longing
do you never fail to produce in me.

St Leonard's red monolith
stands atop Church Street Hill;
ever a friendly face before night's backdrop,
oddly menacing in the artificial light.

The two churches rise as we approach,
over the bridge which begot your name.
St Mary's stares longingly towards the other;
St Leonard's stands warden looking ahead.

We swing past The George;
those same folk are ever making merry.
Though their hair ever greys and thins,
the same can't be said of their love of mirth and ale.

Up Squirrel Bank; it feels steeper each time.
The Bell and Talbot has changed hands so often,
its once merry hall now sits doubtingly,
sheltering a few with stories of their own.

I'm back in my home; the silence is deafening.
The hearth is cool, no-one is in;
a chilling reminder of days gone by,
before we grew elder, seeking thrill far from your eye's reach.

I've breathed in the freshness of your fields;
I've felt your soil upon my face,
your water up to my knees,
and your birdsong in my ears.

I know not how many more years you will be 'home',
but by name or by heart, you always will be.
I've seen your warts and all of your sorrows,
but you, sweet Bridgnorth, will I always love.
Those outstretched arms upon the Cross
beckon to you their embrace;
not as a thrall loth to return to cruel master,
but as a child fain towards his father!

Howsoever far we fall from the path,
the yearning of nail-pierced hands calls.
Amidst hateful sin and wrothfulness,
we comprehend not such unwarranted mercy.
Inspired by Kristin Lavransdatter.
When I sit among the oaken seats
surrounded by Your endless faithful,
the angelic choir in my ear,
incense cleansing my soul of woe,
I am there. I am there beneath
Your golden altar presiding, steadfast;
I am there. I am there feeling that same spirit
that has endured for millennia and imbued the souls of
our greatest writers, our greatest poets,
our most beautiful songs, our most saintly people,
and our drive for charity which
no force of evil in the world can ever, ever undo.

I sit there in awe, astonishment and fear,
as Your humble and quaking servant
raises Your True Body and Blood to the heavens;
You are among us!
Not riding in a chariot of gold nor bearing an ivory crown,
nor in flaming glory nor terrible thunder,
but amongst the sick of heart, the poor of soul,
the vain of face and the dreadful of mind.

It is then when I hear those chanted words
from the mouth of Your servant,
whatever tongue of men they be uttered in,
that I come to fully understand Your unchanging core:

"Through Him and with Him and in Him,
O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honour is Yours,
forever and ever. Amen."

The goosebumps upon my skin,
the shiver down my spine,
the sideward glance to your tearful faithful;
my own eyes brimming amidst such wonder.
Amidst the hordes, such mighty wroth:
my bloodline doth elate.
Posterity hath, though, borne aloft
my banner as the Great.

Springing forth my namesake there,
outhewn from Hellas’ opal,
that city which was brought to bear:
her name Constantinople.

For years to pass there was beholden
Thy glory all so clear.
The Great City’s holy site, golden:
there stood Hagia Sophia.

Therein however I bade Thee
to grant portent or sign.
Thou didst forsooth bequeath to me
one sacred and divine.

I stand upon the ever-brink,
Rome’s beauty lies thereunder.
Thy truth through me starteth to sink,
it striketh me like thunder.

The sun blindeth my weary eyes
as I gaze over yonder;
whereupon thou revealest me:
In this sign, you will conquer.
Emperor Constantine I, or the Great, was the first Roman Emperor to legalise Christianity, and did himself convert. It was also he who named Constantinople.

The Chi-Rho (☧) is a famous Christian symbol that was revealed to Saint Constantine in a dream. It is comprised of the first two letters of 'Christ' in Greek (ΧΡ). Therewith, in that dream, Constantine heard the message: "In this sign, you will conquer," as my last verse refers to!
Have you ever looked into an old man’s eyes
as he ****** himself in his broken wheelchair,
quivering from the cold under a shop canopy
and all you have to offer him is some carrot soup?

That sheepish smile is the worst, when it’s time to leave.
You’ve given him an old beanie, maybe a cup of coffee with no sugar.
What do you say? See you soon? Have a nice evening?
You’re disabled and sleeping in your own ***** tonight.

Perhaps you've heard the ramblings of a mentally-ill stranger
shouting loud nothings at passers-by; incoherent, confused;
He's emaciated, with an empty coffee cup in his withered hands
carrying but a single 2 pence piece to his estate.

Some of these chaps even leave their sandwiches to go rotten.
See, if it’s rotten, you’ll get sick,
and then you can’t be ignored
because your ***** is making the pavement stink.

That mentally ill fellow, he sits outside Tesco’s every night,
sitting up against a lamppost laden with stickers:
“Smash the Patriarchy”;
“No country for white men”.

The Women’s March goes straight past his sleeping bag;
this example of human detritus means nothing to them
but for the smell it produces and the rats it attracts;
I imagine it'd put me off my macchiato too.

Maybe you deserve it; your eyes are blue and your skin is white;
You're out there in winter-time at 02:06
and I don't know if we'll meet again.

Sorry I couldn’t do more, my friends.
Looming over deep dug dale
with wending fjord below,
the Pulpit Rock stands over all
in Norway's chilling snow.

A sunny day it was that time
when I fared with my kin.
Up the Pulpit Rock we marched,
met with glory's din.

Imagine now, a cloudless sky
with sapphire blue abounding;
folk from far and wide had come;
the beauty was astounding.

That ancient Northern land in front,
home to the god of thunder.
Though sweat dripped from our weary brow,
we stood and basked in wonder.

So if you've never hiked that way,
you're in for quite a shock.
You'll find a world beyond your own
upon the Pulpit Rock.
Stå fram, du, som skjules i mørket.
Stå fram inn i verden.
Det kan være uhyggelig;
Det kan være urolig;
Det kan oppvekke gru innafor deg
som du ikke visste var til;
Det kan føles som om jordas lunger
puster deg inn og spytter deg ut;
Men sånt har det alltid vært.

En vismann har sagt før:
Syn uten handling er kun en drøm.
Handling uten syn fordriver tiden.
Syn med handling kan forandre verden.

Reis deg opp; ta på livet, grip tilværelse,
møt folk, snakk språk, drøm sagn,
bygg ting, slå deg ned, få barn,
les, gråt, le, rop, løp, hopp, ta feil, gå deg vill;
så blir ekte tilfredstillelse til.
Sitatet er av Joel A Barker.
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