The God of the Glimpses



Andrew Lansdown


Life Ministries

(Nollamara, Western Australia), 2015

32 pages


RRP $5.95




Back cover blurb

The eminent Australian poet, Les Murray, has said, “James McAuley, the tough anti-modernist Australian poet of last generation, was a super hymnodist. Probably the only greater Australian Christian poet is Andrew Lansdown” (Image, Issue 64, Winter 2009-10). The poems in this short collection, a series of dramatic monologues exploring the life of the prophet Elijah, help to explain why.



A poem from The God of the Glimpses



They Came from the West


I followed the brook upstream into the hills

and found the cave where I used to play

when I was a boy and didn’t know

the world was a lost and lonely place—

a place where holiness is hard as iron

and the will is soft as wood.

And forgetting myself I remembered

when my mother and father were alive

and I was loved and lived without care.

Oh Lord, grant me a glimpse of your glory!

Falling sheer down a sheet of stone, the stream

collected in a pool before the cave

then ran on, wrinkling around rocks,

meandering in its shallow bed. A white heron

thrust its spear into the pool. The wind

ruffled its feathers and feathered the water.

I climbed the ravine and awaited the ravens.

They came from the west, swirling

like ash—black cinders in a blue sky.

I scrabbled back to the cave and the birds

alighted with a flurry at my feet,

left the food and stepped with dignity back.

They cocked their heads like misshapen dogs

as I lifted the first morsel to my mouth. 

As if to disprove their plumage, their eyes

were white—the iris like a sandstone rim around

the black shaft of the pupil that plunges

to the bottom of the brain. I submitted

to their quizzical glances. Satisfied

they strolled to the stream like sheiks:

Bedouins in black robes, hands behind backs.

First one, then another, thrust its beak

into the running water, tipped its head back

to let the liquid trickle down its throat

where its larynx wobbled as it swallowed.

It gave me pleasure to watch them drink,

guzzling the water into their gizzards.

Surely the Book of the Beginnings

is right: God made everything good, very

good. It was not until they had gone

and I had eaten that I began to wonder:

Who baked the bread the ravens brought?

Who slaughtered the lamb for the meat?

               Copyright © Andrew Lansdown

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