by JOYCE RUPP
The cosmos dreams in me
while I wait in stillness,
ready to lean a little further
into the heart of the Holy.
I, a little blip of life,
a wisp of unassuming love,
a quickly passing breeze,
come once more into Lent.
No need to sign me
with the black bleeding ash of palms,
fried and baked.
I know my humus place.
This Lent I will sail
on the graced wings of desire,
yearning to go deeper
to the place where
I am one in the One.
Oh, may I go there soon,
in the same breath
that takes me to the stars
when the cosmos dreams in me.
To Keep a True Lent
by ROBERT HERRICK
Is this a Fast, to keep
The Larder lean?
From fat of veals and sheep?
Is it to quit the dish
Of flesh, yet still
The platter high with fish?
Is it to fast an hour,
Or ragg’d go,
A down-cast look and sour?
No: ’tis a Fast to dole Thy sheaf of wheat And meat
Unto the hungry soul.
It is to fast from strife And old debate,
To circumcise thy life.
To show a heart grief-rent;
To starve thy sin,
And that’s to keep thy Lent.
The Comfort of Ashes
There’s something clean about ashes;
Rubbish reduced to uniform powder.
No heaps of trash to hurt the eye,
No rotting corpse to hurt the heart.
A gust of wind, a wash of water
And it’s gone for good:
It does not disturb me that I am such dust;
What the fire cannot touch
Never can be touched
By hand or flame or even eyes.
Let then the residual ash be blown
On the wind and be gone,
Returned to the kind earth
Whose bones gave me form
And let my soul go home unhindered.
Surely in the brow’s sweat we seek the good,
a jewel desired but in harm’s setting placed.
Gained at a risk, our lives on danger based,
a chasm ‘twixt what’s done and what we should;
Hurt and help are in the single circumstance
and evil taints the hope, the goal contaminates.
So Providence submits to bitter fate –
the cross; its partner in redemption’s dance.
Good comes by increments; so slow its speed!
Humanity rebuffs the pure, God’s Self!
Gives up! The good is placed back on the shelf
Two steps ahead, two back, progress indeed !
Try again! Smudge the tiny ash of grace;
God helps you make the world a better place!