Heaven in Ordinarie www.fosten.com
Heaven in Ordinariewww.fosten.com


Thursday 3 August 2023

Once again much water has flowed under many bridges since last I added to this site. No need for tedious explanations, rather I'll offer this selecion of recent birthday pieces and a couple of re-discoveries linked loosely  to this time of year.


Friday 8 January 2021

Ah, yes, a rather full five years have elapsed since the last update. Way too much to cover in this setting. So I'll just add some pieces from those years and then make it my intention to use and add to the site more often from now on.


3 October 2016

It's been a busy time since the last entry. Here is a piece which captures a few minutes during the Summer. 'Cafe by the Ardeche'.


9 April 2016

Spring has arrived, vigorously ... my new hip is settling in well... and off we go again though never quite as before - se 'The last onion'.

13 January 2016

Having passed 60 at Christmas I'm thinking that it is time to stop worriting on with questions of purpose and mortality, and simply get on with living. 'Re-Calibration' is my attempt to do just that.


20 July 2015

Pastoral church newsletters are not usually considered ground breaking literature, but having sweated over this one I thought  it might be of interest to a wider readership than the Norwich Area churches for whom it is intended.

July 2  2015

A day of hot, crackling sun which reminds me of other days like this from a long time ago. The border pinks from our childhood garden which are now blooming here in Pakefield reinforces that good memory. See 'Pink Buttonholes'.

June 15  2015

After weeks of waiting and willing the peony buds to open out into blooms today seems to be the day!

Also a hand out which accompanied two Praying with clay workshops held last Sarurday at the  URC Eastern Synod day out in Cambridge. No expertise was offered by me or required by the particpants but, rather like the peony, creativity bloomed anyway.

April 27 2015

A new week and a new poem relating how events of some 30 years ago came to an unexpected resolution - see 'Miss G's Revenge'. This is followed by a collection of pieces produced for last year's May Day event at the Seagull Theatre.

April 21 2015

Spring is well under way, the sun shines and a quiet few hours have enabled the website to go live. You will see that it is far from complete but some recent material is now available and other archive stuff will appear soon.

March 24 2015

After many months offline the fosten.com website 'Heaven in Ordinarie' is gradually returning. The new site will grow as and when I acquire some 'how to do it' knowledge and find a few moments in which to post material




If you have always wanted to ask me something, now is the time to go for it!

...........Heaven in Ordinarie............

Poetry, articles, videos and other miscellany from Ian Fosten

Welcome to this website. The title. 'Heaven in Ordinarie' is borrowed from the 16/17th century clergyman poet George Herbert. In his sonnet, 'Prayer', he harvests his experience and then offers up a basket full of images, none of which explain prayer, but all of which provide a fragment of understanding. 'Heaven in ordinarie ...' is one of those fragments.

Like Herbert, my working life has been within a variety of church settings - and when church is about community, faith, generosity and understanding it is a good place to be. When religion assumes the role of master rather than enabling servant, it is not.  

From a very young age 'God stuff' has made as much sense to me out of doors, in real life events, in songs and poetry as it has within the confines of doctrine and religious tradition - quite often, much more so. Consequently my purpose in writing is to record that 'sense-making' and offer to anyone who choses to loiter here some glimpses of 'heaven in ordinarie'.





Something Understood (after George Herbert : Prayer)


Written at Huttopia, Douarnenez, Brittany. August 2019.


The near stillness of these oak trees

is not God,

nor do they represent God;

yet, together with 

the view across the bay,

the cautious movements

of a campsite waking into day,

the radio music and sounds

of preparation from the cafe wagon,

and me - sat here,


alive to all I can and cannot 

be and think and know and do - 

all this, and so much more than anyone

can see or hear or feel or understand - 

all this is the presence, purpose, life and love 

of God - 


in which,

if we are wise or sufficiently humbled by life,

we might participate.


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  • Denise (Tuesday, February 13 18 03:33 pm GMT)

    Hello Ian
    I always enjoy your thoughts in Fresh from the Word, they are wise, and easy to understand.
    I am really enjoying a creative writing course which is opening up my world (put it off for years!), and hence turned to your site for your poetry etc.
    I knew I would like it.
    Thank you
    Best wishes..
    Thank you I will slowly enjoy at my pae

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