Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Annual Appraisal: Indicators of Esteem. A Poem


Having just published my latest book, of which I am very proud (How to Eat Bread: 21 Nourishing Ways to Read the Bible ), I found myself revisiting this poem I wrote several years ago. I was working at Durham University, and one of the sections on my annual appraisal form was headed 'Indicators of Esteem'. That's where you put invitations to give keynote lectures, to be an external examiner, and so on. It made me think, as you can see, about how we value ourselves. Enjoy!

Annual Appraisal: Indicators of Esteem

The box in which I am to volunteer my worth

Expands as I type.


But can it expand enough to include

That moment, at the tail-end of winter,

When I took my tantruming toddler for a walk in the woods?


When, on our way to the stream,

She jumped down a log step

And grinned, gleeful with triumph:

'BIG step!'


And I smiled back,

Thankful for the distraction,

And complicit in her joy.


It wasn't a big step, really.


But for a moment it seemed that I was she,

And God was I,

And all my achievements - 'Look, a book!' -

Like an infant proudly presenting her nursery paintings.


And as she smiled back at me,

Truly delighting with me

In both the big step, and in my pleasure in it


For that moment I understood