Once Upon Ash Wednesday...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written in 2009

 

It was the same date as today

Ash Wednesday of that year

An opaque sky heralded

the bleak disciplines of Lent

Cremated palm leaves made soot

as fine as stoneground cornsilk

Echoes of long-past hosannas

Fading in the deadened air

 

Metanoia, said the purpled priest

Examine the inward heart

Don't stint a loving God who pours

out on his children all he has

Cherish not what must be left

behind. Toss in the season's pyre

security and vanity

And mercy will rain down

 

Was forfeiture of wine enough?

The giving of hard-earned alms?

Precious time bestowed upon the

forlorn and sick and exiled?

A rigorous schedule of

study, abstinence from all

forms of twentieth century

gluttony? And hymns of praise?

 

No! None of that would answer

A different sacrifice was due

My best-beloved of seven years -

bound in deep-forged chains I dare

not break - must be relinquished

Would God stoop low to pity me

as he had for Abraham

wanting no filial holocaust?

 

He did not spare the harrowing,

but gave me Grace to acquiesce

and view a bigger picture

Three corners is unstable

They buckle in turn and beg a fourth


Three demands death, two is viable

That Good Friday, my birthday,

swallowed my thenself in its grave

 

All's history today. And what

should I conclude? Some kernel of

evergreen truth was broadcast there

without a context of its own?

Wrong time! Wrong place! Wrong life! Wrong...!

But, now, its essence thrives for ever in

the Land of Resurrection where there's

no melding or giving in marriage



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carl Spitzweg - Ash Wednesday, The End of the Carnival

Copyright

© Rosy Cole 2009 - 2016

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