Monday, December 6, 2021

The Baptiser warns

 Haiku of preparation

The Baptiser warns

the crowds who come to hear him.

It is time, repent!

This brood of vipers

come out of fear, to escape

the coming judgement.

Produce in your hearts

and in your deeds, fruits worthy

of your repentance.

Don’t trust in your race

or that you are one of God’s

privileged people.

Share your possessions,

be honest, deal fairly, don’t

abuse your power.

They asked John, Are you

the one who God is sending?

I am not the one.

Not I, but one comes

who will set your souls on fire.

This is my good news.

© Ken Rookes 2021

Monday, November 29, 2021



haiku of announcement

Located in time

and in space, the arrival

of Baptiser John.

The wilderness voice

of God echoes through John’s head,

compels him to speak.

Turn away from sin!

When they come for his message:

John baptises them

Isaiah wrote it:

A voice shouts in the wild place,

preparing the way.

Earthworks metaphor,

a track is cleared for the one

who brings salvation.

Valleys will be filled

and mountains will be levelled,

the rough ways made smooth.

A big metaphor

for a cosmic happening:

the promised one comes!

© Ken Rookes 2021

Monday, November 22, 2021

These too will pass

Haiku for those who wait


exciting literalists;

Jesus is coming!

Here are rich pickings

for those who speculate, who

think they have knowledge.

What does it all mean?

Much ink has been expended

through the centuries.

Perhaps those who lived

in the first century knew

the hidden meanings.

The disturbing signs

hide a worse reality;

as the planet burns.

Jesus will return

to fix the climate. Is that

what it really says?

The generation

did pass away, so that much

is proved incorrect.

All is temporal.

Heaven, earth, these both will pass.

Jesus’ words remain.


the warning to be ready,

alert and faithful.

© Ken Rookes 2021


Monday, November 15, 2021

Are you a king?


Haiku of enquiry

Pilate and Jesus.

Pilate’s got the upper hand,

has the final say.

Your own countrymen

handed you in, accuse you

of a kingly claim.

Tell: Are you a king?

What is it that you’ve done? Why

do they hate you so?

It’s not from this world,

my kingdom. Not power, wealth

or earthly glory.

All earthly kingdoms

fade away, turn to dust. My

kingdom never ends.

So you are a king!

said Pilate, little knowing

the truth of his words.

Jesus, born a king.

to bear witness to the truth

For this he was born.

What is truth? Pilate

asks, scoffing at the notion;

like many today.

A needle within

the haystack of straw and lies;

truth is elusive

Listen to his words;

become children of the truth.

Do you hear his voice?


Pilate’s not impressed.

Like many men of power,

truth is a nuisance.


© Ken Rookes 2021

Monday, November 8, 2021

When will this be?

Haiku of the eschaton

Up from the country,

disciples are in awe. Look

at the size of those!

See these great buildings,

said Jesus. These are nothing;

all will be made dust.

What is important;

which are the things that remain?

There is only one.

Four came to Jesus,

asking him on the quiet:

when will this happen?

Troubled times ahead!

Some will come, claim “I am he!”

Don’t be led astray.

You will hear of wars

and rumours. Mere precursors;

the end still awaits.

Conflicting nations,

famines, earthquakes; these are signs;

the birth pangs begin.

The kingdom will come

but not as you expect; won’t

be an easy birth.

© Ken Rookes 2021

Monday, November 1, 2021

Flash robes


Haiku for the self important

Religious leaders,

shaped by pride, just like us all;

no better, no worse.

The erudite Scribes,

learned, apparently wise;

enjoy the honour.

Flash robes, the best seats,

places of esteem; the Scribes

are lapping it up!

They like to look good

but don’t care about justice;

they will be condemned.

The rich can pretend

to be generous; the poor,

giving freely, are.

She gave all she had

to live on; this poor widow.

True munificence!


stamped into the DNA

of God’s creation.

© Ken Rookes 2021

Monday, October 25, 2021


Haiku for those who are close

The scribe was impressed;

this itinerant teacher

is clearly no fool.

An honest question:

Which, of all the commandments,

is the first of all?

One: Hear, Israel,

the Lord God, is one. Love God

with all your being.

Wait, there’s a second!

Your love for God becomes real

in loving others.

As you love yourself,

so you must love your neighbour.

It’s all about love.

Great answer, Jesus.

To love completely, this is

the way to true life.

No burnt offering

or sacrifice can compare

with the work of love.

The scribe understands!

Jesus speaks: You are not far,

from the realm of God.

© Ken Rookes 2021


Friday, October 22, 2021

Bartimaeus knew.

A metaphor sublime:

from darkness to light;

was blind, now I see.

Pure poetry.

From illusion, soft, unfocused,


to crisp-edged reality,

sharp against a blue sky

that extends beyond.

This reality, the substance of which

is pain and beauty; mingled

and aching, both,


They call it discipleship;

Bartimaeus knew.

© Ken Rookes 2021


Monday, October 18, 2021

Now I see

Haiku for the enlightened

The blind beggar sees

enough light to realise

that Jesus can help.

Just a glimmer, but

The smallest fragment of hope

leads him to shout out.

Blind Bartimaeus

has heard the rumours; he cries,

Jesus, have mercy!

The crowd insists: Hush

Don’t trouble the teacher! But

Jesus has heard him.

Jesus stops. Call him!

Take heart! they tell the blind man,

he is calling you.

The teacher asks, What

should I do for you? Let me

see again, Jesus!

Your faith makes you well.

Sight restored, Bartimaeus

follows on the way

Open our eyes, Lord.

We, who grope in the darkness,

would see, and follow.

© Ken Rookes 2021

Monday, October 11, 2021

At your right and left

Haiku for servants

Teacher, will you grant

whatever we ask of you?

They ask, cunningly.

What is it you want?

He asked brothers James and John

when they came to him.

In your glory time,

grant us to sit at your right

hand, and at your left.

Jesus must have sighed.

You don’t know what you’re asking;

haven’t heard my words.

Can you drink my cup,

or share in my baptism?

Sure we can, Jesus!

Yes, you will follow.

Death will be my baptism,

suffering my cup.

The Gentile rulers

play at power, lording it;

Don't imitate them!

Would you become great?

You must become a servant;

be the slave of all.

The Son of Man came

not to be served, but to serve;

and to give his life.

The sighs continue.

Many still play power games;

refusing to hear.

© Ken Rookes 2021

Monday, October 4, 2021

We have left everything

Haiku of the journey

He had kept the law,

this man who wanted to live

the life eternal.

Jesus looks with love.

One thing you lack. Sell the lot,

give it to the poor.

For your poverty,

treasure in heaven. The cost

proves to be too great.

How hard for the rich

to enter God’s realm. Camels

squeezing through needles!

Relax, he wasn’t

talking to us. Just this man!

We can keep our stuff.

We who have comfort,

warm, with three meals; perhaps we

are among the rich.

Who, then, can be saved?

For mortals, not possible,

but God can do it.

What you leave behind

to follow, you will receive

back a hundredfold.

In the age to come

all will be reversed. The first

are last; the last, first.

© Ken Rookes 2021


The Baptiser warns

  Haiku of preparation The Baptiser warns the crowds who come to hear him. It is time, repent! This brood of vipers come out of f...