God is in the Question

My mum swears I was born asking, ‘Why?’

I think she exaggerates. I don’t even remember asking ‘Why?’ until I was eleven years old and was under pressure to expand a review I’d written of Anne of Green Gables. Instead of the usual paragraph, the teacher wanted an entire page on why I’d liked it. I did some soul-searching and then asked myself, ‘So, Anne, why exactly do you like it?’

That’s influenced my reviewing ever since. If you check out my reviews at Goodreads, you’ll find I often write a lot, simply to try to articulate my liking (or disliking) for a book.

Nonetheless, my mother says it started earlier. I was relentless in my quest for answers as a toddler and would not be put off by half-hearted replies. Somewhere along the line, I learned that if you ask God seriously and are patient enough, He takes you seriously in turn and always gives answers.

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Curdie found


at last. In an upper room atop

a dark fugitive winding stair

where a fire of roses


Its folded flames were

as gentle as dove’s wings,

ardent as the burning bush,


glowing with innocence.


from the rose

Dante saw

at the heart of eternity,

burning with divine


holy beyond all knowledge,

enfolding the universe

in its petalled wings.

That first epiphany of love,


was unmatched

until Bethlehem.

There were angels then



as once before they had gloried

on seeing the ornament afire

on the breast of God,

close to his heart: this kosmos.

This chaos. This nightmare world.

This day. This night.  Still and ever,

the dark fugitive winding stair

of the universe is cold

without the upper room and the heat

of His terrible




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