Dispatches from Central Africa

The John Bradburne Memorial Door

Panels 09 - 12

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Panel 09

John writes poetry at Mutemwa

 

I am returned, at typewriter I sit:
I thank Thee, Lord, for fingers, keys to hit

 

Note that the carvers have given John a word processor…

John plays music in the Chapel while Fr. John Dove listens

 

… and an electronic keyboard, of which it is doubtful that John would have approved!

John prays

 

In space both God and man stop proper breathing,
The realm of glory is within our bounds,
Invisibility is simply seething
With prospects heavenly on earthly grounds;
Though the centrific drumming of Christ's heart
Pervades the cosmos with persistent beat,
Within this atmosphere is best His art
Of love made perfect by the Paraclete

John talks with a leper

 

In that I've always loved to be alone
I've treated human beings much as lepers,
For this poetic justice may atone
My way with God's…

I did not ever dream that I might go
And dwell amidst a flock of eighty such

Panel 10

At prayer on Chigona Hill, above Mutemwa

 

So I sang the great 'Laudate' psalm
And the whole of creation rose up in the calm
To praise the Lord on the height of heights
Where the body stands while the soul delights

 

The carving shews the lake atop Chigona Hill and the 'prayer track', which John wore into the rock with his peripatation.

The country around Mtunthama village is not dissimilar.

John with his Brothers: Chameleon –  for the Chewa people, messenger of life and eternity –  Eagle, Cat and Dog

 

Hawk-eagle, lanner-falcon, bataleur
And chanting-goshawk, with exalted ease
Remind me of a motto – I refer
To 'Watch and Pray' – on anything they please!

 

Can anyone imagine then
That our all-loving God
Will ever look with scorn on love
Man bears for cat or dog?

John invites Bees to share his Study at Silveira House in order to safeguard his solitude

 

First may I say that honey-bees
Live lives like lives of saints…

Their comings in and goings out
The Lord their Master keeps:
Sing psalms I may and type but shout
Nor stamp I'll not lest reaps
Unpeaceful conduct such reward
As much I'd merit if I spoiled accord…

These thirty thousand persons in my cell
Busy composing theirs could give me hell

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Panel 11

John is expelled from Mutemwa by a new committee, which is hostile to his work, and pitches a tent on Chigona Hill

 

Mtemwa means 'You are cut off'…

'You are cut off' – from what? A world that would
Tempt more to evil, less augment your good

 

April, 1973

John is frustrated by his inability to help the lepers

 

Confounded be my musing, if it leads
To thoughts chaotic, not to ordered deeds

Mutemwa

 

We want to make it very clear
And easy for you all:
The casting out, by Love, of fear
Is Terrorism's fall

Panel 12

John lives in a tin hut which was erected for him by a local farmer…

… and looks across the fence which separates him from the lepers of Mutemwa

John extends the hut in order to be able to receive guests

John rejoices to be able to help a leper again

 

The Piper is merry,
Resilient very
Is grace

 

If Lord I should a leper be
Let it make leap
Into eternity

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