Writings by Trish Harris from “Oh Light” publication of the Disability, Spirituality and Faith Network of Aotearoa New Zealand

The gathering and editing of gifted writer Anna Gilkison, “Oh Light — An Anthology of writings and reflections to enrich the spirit,” was one of the most wonderful gifts I received when I was in Aotearoa last … southern hemisphere spring. It contains words of writers familiar to me and new, famous and blessed. Three — Robin List, Rosalie Sugrue and Trish Harris — have been involved in publications of mine, and it was Trish who sent this book with a friend to a workshop I was leading. I am sharing some of her work today with so much gratitude and close with Anna Gilkison’s departing blessing:


the chaplains are generous
with their offerings of
the body of Christ
in this building full of bodies
in this building full of Christs.


the cross
like a twig
or a small
sprout of growth
or a flag
not setting itself
up as ‘the ultimate’
but as
something that grows out of
a bedrock
of other things —
a shifting bed
of pain and traumas.


You looked after me. You held on to the fragments so that I would not disintegrate. You knitted furiously with any old scraps of wool that you could find to stop the rapid unravelling at the other end. You said, ‘You will not be destroyed.’ You said, ‘I am with you always, until the end of time.’ You said, I am not a magician, only God. there is no spell I can cast, but I can knit. I can hobble together these scraps and I can knit. Once I find the right knitting needles, I can begin to catch and loop, twist and drop. It may only be a tatty old thing that we create, not the brightest wool or the most even tension. But I promised you would not be totally undone. I promised there would be enough of you left to become whole.’


Call a priest.
Are you missing
a choir?
A congregation?
Or pockets
of light
splintering the dust?

Don’t worry
all is not lost.
This morning
I discovered
a cathedral
in my belly.

I don’t know
how it got there
or how it fits.

But I can
hear the harmony
singing out
my veins.

And from Anna Gilkison
Kia hora te marino
Kia whakepapa pounamu te moana
Kia tere te kārohirohi
I mua i tō huarahi.

May peace be widespread
May the sea glisten like greenstone
may the shimmer of light guide you on your way.

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