As we approach Advent, I thought it might be an idea to do something different here. As some of you know I come from Wales originally, and still love the north Walian landscape, the mountains and the sea. As some of you know, I am immoderatly fond of poetry, and one of my favourite poets combines just about everything I love – Wales, churches, rural landscapes – and God – and that is R.S. Thomas. Chalcedon451 bought me, for my recent birthday, the book featured in the photograph heading up this post – Frequencies of God by the Revd Dr Carys Walsh, who is a curate at All Saints’ Kettering. I would like to use this as the cornerstone of our new idea – an Advent Book Club.

I have to confess I have never even been part of a book club, let alone run one, but with the invincible optimism that keeps getting me in hot water and then out of it, I’ve decided, with C’s approval, to go on and do it.

Once a week I propose to do a post on the theme of that week’s poems. Dr Carys has divided them thus:

Week 1 – Waiting: Poems: The Coming. In a Country Church. In Church. Kneeling. Suddenly (1975). Suddenly (1983). Sea-Watching.

Week 2 – Accepting: Poems: Amen. This to do. The Moor. The Bright Field. Emerging (1975). The imperative of the instincts. In Context.

Week 3 – Journeying: Poems: Wrong. Migrants. Pilgrimages. Evening. I know him. The Moon in Lleyn. Llanno

Week 4 – Birthing: Poems: The Un-born. Blind Noel. Nativity. Top left and angel. Energing (1978). Other incarnations, of course. The Gap (1978)

Week 5- Seeing: Poems: The Kingdom. Tidal. The Absence. Adjustments. The God. That there … . The first king.

Her chapters on the poems are simply wonderful, and that’s why I recommend it so strongly. I think it is the sort of things which readers of this blog will find spiritually enriching. To quote from the introduction:

R.S. Thomas, the Welsh priest and poet (1913-2000), is a profound and compelling guide for this season. A parish priest in Wales for all of his working life … he wa a prolific writer of poetry that explored his beloved homeland, the people among whom he ministered, and the beauty of the natural world. But it is for his startlingly original, prophetic and devotional religious poetry that many know and love him.

That’s just an example of the beauty of Dr Cary’s writing. As you might be able to tell, I just love the book, and talking with C it occurred to me that it might do us here very well – if I only knew how to do a book club! But goodness, let’s go, all the same.

What I will try to do is to comment on the theme of the week with reference to the poems for that week and to what Dr Carys writes. Let’s see how that works. It may of course, sink the blog, but my best efforts so far have failed, and even my little stories at Neo’s place, have not managed to sink his, so, buoyed up by all of that, I thought I’d have a go here.

I do hope that some of you will buy the book and benefit from that, and that you will join us on our prayerful journey through Advent.