Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ahs Wednesday Ashes

I haven't written here in a long time.  I don't know why.  Yes I do.  Unlike when I'm writing poetry or fiction or even sermons, I'm not worried about what my reader is thinking about what I'm writing.  I'm conscious of my reader, and seek to be in communication with them, but worry doesn't invade the creative process.

Not so with this blog.  I want to write something significant, but in the back of my mind (ok, the center), I'm thinking "this better be ... good, profound, challenging, whatever."   That's not helpful.  So if I write on this blog in the near future (iffy, since I'm having carpal tunnel surgery next week), it will mostly be poems I want to share.  Here's one for this Ash Wednesday:


Peter warmed his hands at the fire
before the denying; did he warm
them at the fire before the restoring?
One palm still shows a bit of green,
as if it did not know how to die.                   
The rest crackle as we break them
into pieces into the foil-lined pot.
It is always windy the day before
Ash Wednesday, as if the spirit
cannot abide before it is commanded
to be still, to repent of its waywardness,
to settle into the flesh which must return
to dust.  We light a match, we touch
it to the severed fronds.  The fire leaps
quickly into the air, devouring, then
settles into embers that glow red
before they crumble into black.
Some years we forget to bring gloves
and the pot burns our palms. Some
years we use snow to keep the ashes
from flying.  There have been so many
deaths, so many immolations.  Black
lives matter.  Black ashes simmer.
Children set on fire.  Families deported
in half.  The wind stirs the pot.
The smoke on our fingers won’t go away.

On one side of our church sign, it announces "Ash Wednesday" service for tonight; on the other it says "Ahs Wednesday".  I trust the second one is true, because there is much to "ah" about in this joyful season.

Be beauty. Be justice.  Be dust, but be not afraid.


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