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!