Excerpt from the Introduction:

While compiling this collection I have been reminded of the progress of the years, not least by the physical deterioration of the body. Some of this has provided material for a light-hearted approach expressed in verseófor me, humour is a good way to cope with some things.

At the same time though, such events and conditions are reminders that I am much closer to the end of this life than the beginning. The early days can seem so far away and, at the same time, as a Christian, I can look forward to far distant times of eternity with great anticipation. The title "Far Horizons" well expresses these feelings.

As in earlier collections, I have told of past events, expressed some thoughts of current happenings, presented some challenges, and added quite a bit of humour for balance.



I first met Tom Chapman, and his wife, Gwenda, when I was assigned to be the student pastor of the tiny congregation of Baulkham Hills Baptist church, in 1967.

Tom was the pianist for the group that met each Sunday in the tumble-down timber School of Arts building, on Windsor Road in Sydney's north-west. Routinely we swept up cigarette butts from parties the night before, and tried to ignore the pungent aroma of stale beer, not to mention the pigeons that lived inside the edifice. The piano itself was a musician's heartbreak, with missing keys, and rarely in tune. But Tom coaxed lyrical praise to heaven from this battered instrument. We were to spend many years as 'words' and 'music' to a growing vibrant congregation that looked beyond such unaesthetic features. It was one of my life's highlights when he asked, before a service ( by then held in the local high school auditorium ), if he could "play" Psalm 143 on the piano while the people read along in their Bibles. Spontaneous composition. He had not done this before, or since. A unique moment inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Back at the beginning, Tom worked for Honeywell, a computer firm. None of us really knew what this meant, but we did know that Tom was a highly intelligent, rational, scientific, emotionally detached Christian man. His knowledge of the Bible was accurate and profound. Over years, and many human adventures the detachment dwindled. We saw him cry.

The poems you are about to read express the well rounded spiritual man in Christ. In the serious verse you will see the soul with ear cocked waiting for the sound of the trumpet. While his comic pieces display the typical Aussie laconic humour. Tom is still a loving husband, father, and these days, grandfather, and now great-grandfather. And to meómy old mate.

Richard Ansoul: MA, BD
Tanunda SA