Welcome to April’s poetry blog, the second in our series on the Christian Students Uniting motto: Keeping Faith, Doing Justice, Building Community. As we emerge from Holy Week, having grieved Jesus’ death and celebrated his resurrection, I encourage you to contemplate how, in the face of injustice, we dare to write narratives of hope. (Content warning for brief mentions of violence.)

Son of Mine (To Denis)

Oodgeroo Noonuccal

My son, your troubled eyes search mine,
Puzzled and hurt by colour line.
Your black skin as soft as velvet shine;
What can I tell you, son of mine?

I could tell you of heartbreak, hatred blind,
I could tell you of crimes that shame mankind,
Of brutal wrong and deeds malign,
Of rape and murder, son of mine;

But I'll tell you instead of brave and fine
When lives of black and white entwine,
And men in brotherhood combine –  
This would I tell you, son of mine.

- from We Are Going: Poems


alternate ending

Safia Elhillo

the dead boy is poured back into his body

i try to leave home but the ocean bares its teeth

& where i'm from is where i'm from & not

where i was put    it’s morning & my grandmother

pins hot colours to the clothesline    i'm still on a date

& the words    say something to me in arabic

fall backwards down his throat

 - from The January Children


A Poem for Pentecost

Gabrielle Cadenhead

we are the Ethiopian eunuch,

the hemorrhaging woman,

the blind man,

the tax collector,

the Pharisee,


lost in a wilderness

of binaries:

clean and unclean,

powerful and powerless,

righteous and sinful,

occupier and occupied.


we gather

on sacred, stolen ground

and are transformed

by the Holy Spirit:


by those who bear her face,

who heal with her hands,

who break with us

and make us whole.


the Spirit stares us in the face

and disarms us,

fight or flight superseded

by aching wholeness,

as we recognise each other

in the image of God

and glimpse a new creation.


the Spirit cannot be contained:

though we feel safe here,

she pulls us from our sanctuary.

we stare into the face of the world:


notice cracks in which to plant blessing,

power imbalances to overturn like tables,

trees become crosses for our planet’s crucifixion.

there is work to do in the wilderness.


we cannot be a Spirit people

if we speak only

the syntax of the coloniser,

the grammar of the misogynist,

the punctuation of the transphobe,

the vocabulary of the ableist.


we cannot be a Spirit people

with our eyes firmly shut,

ears refusing to listen

to voices shouting from the margins.

in her new creation,

there is no centre.


we cannot be a Spirit people

if we do not transform

the wilderness,

confront its injustices,

break down binaries

and ache into wholeness,

just as we are transformed and

transformed and transformed and


the story does not end here.

Pentecost follows us

out these doors

and into the world.


we are the Ethiopian eunuch,

the hemorrhaging woman,

the blind man,

the tax collector,

the Pharisee.


we are the disciples,

emerging into the wilderness

left by an empty tomb,

our eyes wide open.

may we be a Spirit people, too.