Psalms for the City
115 pages

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115 pages

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Psalms for the City is a beautiful collection of original poetry and stunning illustrations inspired by both the psalms and the scenery and sounds of urban life.
The whole of life can be found in the psalms. It can also be found in our cities.

Psalms for the City is a beautifully illustrated book of poetry that offers comfort, inspiration and encouragement for the heart and soul, as John-Paul Flintoff puts into vibrant, captivating and sometimes heart-wrenching words the pockets of peace he has found in the midst of the non-stop noise and colourful chaos of the city.

Inspired by the psalms – some of the oldest and most soul-stirring poetry in the world – Flintoff’s fluid style and technical skills take us on a private tour of our most-loved urban landscapes and reveal the spiritual nourishment in some of its most famous sights. In countless churches and sacred spaces, he shows us locations to lament; he teaches us to discover joy in crowded marketplaces; and shares how he found hope searching the horizon atop Hampstead Heath.

With his own hand-drawn illustrations to accompany the poems, Psalms for the City is a book that poetry lovers will treasure and is perfect for fans of Charlie Mackesy. Presented in a beautiful hardback format, it will also make a wonderful gift for friends and family, and for those who love the diversity of city life.

Open and honest, these are modern day psalms that chart John-Paul’s discovery that the extraordinary places welcomed the ordinary, and that when we’re looking closely, the ordinary places can become extraordinary.

Psalms for the City is an invitation to take your imagination on a pilgrimage across the city, experiencing the full depths of what it means to be human today.

Introduction ix

1 Chocolate Box 2

2 Psalm Psunday 4

3 Sing a New Song 6

4 Annunciation at Grenfell 8

5 Mary, Five Minutes Later 10

6 A Pea, in Kew 12

7 Don’t Belong 14

8 FAQs 16

9 Smiting Time 18

10 Room 320 20

11 Grateful 22

12 Lifetime 24

13 Verbal 26

14 Pray for You 28

15 Next Year 30

16 Seasons of Google 32

17 Not Exactly Babylon 34

18 Consequences 38

19 Breathing Haiku 40

20 Twelve 42

21 Rejoice in the Lord 46

22 Books Have Wings 48

23 Thirty-two Boroughs 50

24 Parents Making Music 52

25 Recording Device 54

26 Really Into It 56

27 Fresh Start Haiku 58

28 Baiku 60

29 Regent’s Park Flyover 62

30 Passover, Chez Jesus 64

31 99 Names 66

32 Soho Square 68

33 Where Do Ideas Come From? 70

34 Poetry 72

35 False Hope Haiku 74

36 Unstressed 76

37 List Making 78

38 Genesis in Childs Hill 80

39 Parables 82

40 Neighbours 84

41 Dead Poets 86

42 Reflection 90

43 The Integrated Self 92

44 Pope Francis in Westminster 94

45 Weeds in June 96

46 Trellic Tower 98

47 Retreat 100

48 Revelations 102

49 The L Is My S, I Shall Not W 104

50 John-Paul’s Letter to God 106

Write Your Own Psalm 108



Publié par
Date de parution 27 octobre 2022
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780281086054
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0900€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


‘Absolutely gorgeous . . . a beautiful, quirky, comforting little book.’
Annalisa Barbieri , columnist, The Guardian and The Observer
‘I’ve found Psalms for the City charming, intriguing and challenging in equal measure. I’m tickled by the wit and wordplay. I love the illustrations.’
Edward Canfor-Dumas , author of The Buddha, Geoff and Me
‘This book is a delight. Keeping quirky and cheerful, it suggests serious things without taking itself seriously. It could make even the most complacent sceptic laugh and think again.’
Richard Harries (Lord Harries of Pentregarth)
‘This intimate, approachable book provides a collection of day-by-day songs, or psalms, that fit our busy contemporary lives. Always thoughtful, often celebratory, sometimes painful: these rueful verses – and their gorgeous, witty illustrations – build up into something both serious and delightful.’
Fiona Sampson , author of Common Prayer and Come Down
John-Paul Flintoff is a writer, artist and performer. His books include How to Change the World for The School of Life, and most recently A Modest Book about How to Make an Adequate Speech . Psalms for the City is his first poetry collection.

1 Chocolate Box
2 Psalm Psunday
3 Sing a New Song
4 Annunciation at Grenfell
5 Mary, Five Minutes Later
6 A Pea, in Kew
7 Don’t Belong
8 FAQs
9 Smiting Time
10 Room 320
11 Grateful
12 Lifetime
13 Verbal
14 Pray for You
15 Next Year
16 Seasons of Google
17 Not Exactly Babylon
18 Consequences
19 Breathing Haiku
20 Twelve
21 Rejoice in the Lord
22 Books Have Wings
23 Thirty-two Boroughs
24 Parents Making Music
25 Recording Device
26 Really Into It
27 Fresh Start Haiku
28 Baiku
29 Regent’s Park Flyover
30 Passover, Chez Jesus
31 99 Names
32 Soho Square
33 Where Do Ideas Come From?
34 Poetry
35 False Hope Haiku
36 Unstressed
37 List Making
38 Genesis in Childs Hill
39 Parables
40 Neighbours
41 Dead Poets
42 Reflection
43 The Integrated Self
44 Pope Francis in Westminster
45 Weeds in June
46 Trellic Tower
47 Retreat
48 Revelations
49 The L Is My S, I Shall Not W
50 John-Paul’s Letter to God
Write Your Own Psalm
Some time ago, I started dropping into churches. Not just occasionally, but often. Near home, and further afield.
I was coming out of a breakdown. In therapy, I’d found myself talking a lot about faith. Specifically, about lacking faith – in myself, in my future, in everything.
This was odd, because I hadn’t thought of myself as a person who had ‘faith’ in the first place.
After my therapy sessions, I’d drop into a nearby church to think about what I’d said and heard. Why? It was cheaper to go into a church than a café.
I had no idea what to do, and felt sure that I was doing it wrong. But I watched somebody kneel silently in front of a particularly beautiful Mary and Jesus, and when she left I did the same.
I found the experience powerful, in a way I can’t begin to explain.
Another day, overwhelmed with anxiety, I dropped into a church that provided leaflets containing suggested prayers for a variety of occasions.
I learned some of the prayers by heart, and when I felt troubled I repeated them, to silence my self-critical thoughts. I carried that leaflet for months, until it fell apart.
I mentioned these developments to my therapist, and to others I knew to be religious. As well as Christians (I didn’t know many), these people included Jews and Muslims.
It would be dishonest to say that everybody was encouraging. But most were.
One in particular comes to mind: a Muslim friend encouraged me to get baptized, and after I did she asked me to read prayers to her in hospital, as she was dying of cancer. She asked me to read at her funeral.
I chose Psalm 137. It had become a favourite, as had psalms generally.
Many of the people closest to me are Jewish. I could imagine that my becoming a practising Christian might be uncomfortable for them. I looked to the psalms as an inheritance we can share.
One Jewish friend read me a modern translation of his favourite psalm. I can’t easily explain why this was so much more moving than if he had read me a favourite poem. It just was.
Though brought up in no particular faith, I’d become familiar with the Bible when I studied English literature. I’d also studied illustrated psalters.
My favourite, the Luttrell Psalter , is a priceless book commissioned by a prosperous family, combining the psalms of David with illustrations of biblical scenes and of everyday life in medieval England.
Much of what we know about how people lived 500 years ago comes from marginal illustrations in the Luttrell Psalter .
It occurred to me to create a modern psalter – to illustrate the psalms of David with images from my own part of London in the twenty-first century.

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