Wednesday, 20 July 2011


Whilst driving home yesterday evening, I was struck by the vividness of a rainbow which appeared.

Armed with my trusty mobile phone,  I took the attached two photos of it, and I'm rather pleased  with them, particularly since I was stationary in the car at the time, as opposed to being outside with time to compose the shots in more detail.

When I attended a biblical poetry class last year, we studied a poem by William Wordsworth called "My heart leaps", and the teacher asked the class to compose poems about rainbows. Here is a poem I composed, which is an alphabetic acrostic, i.e each line commences with the first letter of the successive colour of the spectrum. The rhyming scheme also follows that of Wordsworth's poem.

My poem touches on the theme that the rainbow is the sign from God that after the Flood (Noah's ark etc), God promised Noah that  he would never again destroy the world.

Since there are seven colours in the spectrum, and Wordsworth's poem has nine lines, the last two lines of my poem are the acrostic for Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet.  This poem will also appear one day as the Shir Hashavua for Noach.

"When God sees Red
Rumbling of thunder, flaying of rain.
Oh, no; howling wind as well.
You'd better watch out. prepare to repent.
God's on the warpath. Listen to him vent
Bolts of lightning. He's really angry again.
In case you forgot, God, your rainbow will tell.
Vengeance must be tempered with merciful intent.
I respectfully remind you that the rainbow is the lid on your anger.
Unfailingly, when you see red, the rainbow stops the danger."

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

English Heritage Festival of History

Michael Morpurgo talking about his book "War Horse"

We attended the Festival of History last weekend, and really enjoyed it. There was something for everyone; talks by famous writers such as Michael Morpurgo and Simon Scarrow; music; historical pageants and demonstrations; wargaming; shopping opportunities; wargaming; and more historical re-enactors of various periods of history than one could shake a stick at. What follows is a poem, and a selection of photos of various historical re-enactors.

The following poem came to me:

"The Re-enactors"
In costumes first worn long ago, they bring to life our history
With artifacts original, they dispel many a mystery
Their search for historical accuracy has infinite capacity
They'll tell you of their character with passionate sagacity.
They replicate what past folk wore with perfect authenticity
And camp in tents on wet weekends. Such zealous eccentricity!

Edwardian self-defence demo. Lady 1, Ruffian 0

                                                      So which of you guys is Norman?

Shir Hashavua - Mattot


(to the tune of “In the Navy” by Village People)
‘Book of Numbers tells us that the tribes of Reuben and Gad and Manasseh, too
Said to Moses “we don’t want to cross the Jordan.” (Check out Chapter 32).
Moses said “Now hang on, that might be a problem. Our chance of victory it might harm.”
“Okay” said those tribes. “Our men will march before you, every man equipped and armed.”
(Chorus )
In the army, River Jordan we will ford.
In the army, every man will bring his sword.
In the army, we’ll be fighting for the Lord.
In the army. In the army.

In the land of Gilead, we will build new cities, for our wives and little ones.
Then our men will march with all the other tribes. We’ll stay until the job is done.
After that we’ll come back and we’ll settle down, and to the Lord we will give thanks.
While we’re fighting with the Lord God on our side; we don’t need any planes or tanks.
In the army, we must face up to our fears.
In the army, we’ll be gone for seven years.
In the army, we will fight with shields and spears.
In the army, in the army.
In the army, we will be in many fights.
In the army, we’ll see lots of gruesome sights.
In the army, we will beat the Canaanites.
In the army, in the army.    

Friday, 15 July 2011

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Shir Hashavua - Pinchas

This week's Parasha is named after Pinchas, Moses' great-nephew, who halted a plague by skewering two lovers with a spear.  

(to the tune of Battle hymn of the Republic [John Brown’s body])

The daughters of Zelophehad went to Moshe and said
We don’t have any brothers and our father now is dead
We will have a major problem when we want to become wed
If we marry outside our tribe.

We don’t want to lose our money
In the land of milk and honey
We don’t think that it is funny
If we marry outside our tribe.

Moses scratched his head and said “I haven’t got a clue.
I have never faced this problem yet so here’s what I will do.
I will ask the Lord for guidance and I’m sure he’ll answer you
When the question  I describe.  

God came back to Moses and these are the words he spoke.
Each girl is free to marry any eligible bloke
But only from her tribe for  in the wheel it puts a spoke
If she marries outside her tribe.

We don’t want to lose our money
In the land of milk and honey
We don’t think that it is funny
If we marry outside our tribe.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Shir HaShavua - Balak

This week's Parasha is about Balaam, a non-Jewish prophet willing to be hired by Balak, king of Moab, to destroy the Jewish people, yet his eloquent language in praise of them is still part of the Jewish liturgy today.


“Attack, attack” to Balaam said Balak.
“Curse me these people. Get them all back.
They’re all over my land like a great infestation.
Help me get rid of this Israelite nation.”
Said Balaam to Balak. “I’d like nothing more
Than to be the great hero in your forthcoming war.
But before I can curse , and you may think it odd,
I first need to check that it’s okay with God.”

As he slept God appeared to Balaam in a dream.
“You may go to Balak   but I’m not very keen.”
Next day he set off on his faithful donkey
Till they came to a roadblock Balaam couldn’t see.
God’s Angel stood there and said “You shall not pass.”
Balaam’s mount crushed his leg, what a pain in the ass.
Balaam’s anger was kindled and made him see red.
“If I had a sword, Ass, you now would be dead.”
The ass laughed. “You plan to kill people by word.
But to kill me you need a sharp blade?  How absurd”.
Balaam fell to the ground and to God he did pray.
God said “Go to Balak, only speak what I say.
This nation is blessed, and I won’t let you curse
No matter how much Balak fills your purse.”

Well you know what came next. How the hill he did climb,
Saw the whole camp of Israel which he thought was sublime.
Then Balaam built an altar and praises did sing
Which really upset his employer the king.
Balak said; “To curse Jews is why you were hired.
You have failed in this task, so Balaam, you are fired.”