Poem 6 The mud pool

Carrying on from yesterday's theme of coming into freedom and the spacious place , away from dank , dark , dead religion... Sorry quite a lot of words here !!

Many years ago on a trip to Turkey, my wife and I visited a mud pool.. This is a common thing for tourists and not unlike the Dead Sea , you are able to go into the mud pool and taking big handfuls of sludge to smear it all over your body and leave it to dry in the sun . Many consider this to have healing qualities , but for me it was just a lark ... Our guide for the day is described in the writing, and he had a wonderful time as did we.

I was struck at that time with the direct contrast that there is between a stagnant mud pool where nothing enters it apart from rain, and there is no outlet, with very little growth around it no creatures or life in it..

Compare this with the moving river which juxtaposed the pool and there is a beautiful contrast of life and movement and growth and energy

I felt in my spirit I did not wish in my life to spend long in the mud !!

The River in this passage can be seen as God's freeing Holy Spirit

Ezekiel 47 9 +

9 Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. 10 Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea. 11 But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”

He took us to the mud pool,

The little wiry boyish Turk

The Turkish guy

Full middle-aged

Yet Mowgli- like from Kipling‘s Jungle Book

Agility and energy

A cheeky grin

He said ‘come follow me’

Upon which he came

Towards the thick grey pool

And jumping in

He urged us all to do the same

Taking handfuls from near his knees

He swathed his busy body

In a thick grey slimy sludge

Which baked dark grey and dry

Within moments under the scorching sun.

Making his skin

Thick and mud encrusted,

Like elephants at the watering hole

To shouts and calls

We charged like mad fools

And jumping in

Smeared and caked ourselves in glorious mud

Hippos bathing in the stagnant pool

Thus encrusted we tried to move! Oh oh !!

Treacle treading

Trudging sludge

Squelching mud

Encased our legs

Four strides to water’s edge

Seemed like marathon

Joy turned to doubt

Will I ever get out ?

And doubt to fear

Will I get stuck here?

For Mowgli and the crowd had disappeared

And I was left alone

Cheeky smirking boyish man

Turkmanish guy

Had run up river

To shower and to wash

To roll and tumble

In and around the swirling splash

Spinning as if in washing machine

Stealthily avoiding rocks

Going with the flow

Pushed and rushed along

An easy moving spirit

This way – that way

Freely playing

About his cleaning business

Like darting minnow

Leaping salmon

Cleansed within the torrent

Washed clean

In the free flow

Of the mighty river

In this I saw

Two invitations to follow ...

One like legalistic religion

Closed up

Hemmed in

Deadly, sticky ,dry,

Hard , tiring slog

Stultifying, holding down

Wallowing in sludge

No amount of washing in that pool would make you clean

Freedom so hard to find and to attain ....

Stuck in the mud

The other

Like Spirit’s freedom

Life Abundant

Living Water

Exhilarating

Open , wide

Living free

Revitalised

Cleansing me

From mountain brook

To mighty open sea

Horizon of my destiny

Life giving

Fast flowing stream

I know where I would rather be !

John Nuttall March 2018


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