Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lent, again -- a poem for Ash Wednesday

I wrote this a few years back and now post it for annually for Ash Wednesday.

Lent, again

Small Baptist church
Edge of the city
Family farms were gone
Ever widening streets
Car lots and early stage
Of strip malls
Good people
Almost "country folk"
My mom's people

They knew the Bible
They loved it
They tried to live it
No creeds of rituals so
They believed

Lent was bad, almost evil
Empty routine of
False religion
Catholics and Lutherans
Maybe some others so
Far from faith

Home is not so distant
Four or five hours down the freeway
Decades later, now about four

Yearly ashes to my forehead
The joy of sorrow
The smudge of death
The touch of some pastor
I hardly know

What was once forbidden
Now is my food, my life

I worry for a moment that I may later see
Someone I know at the
Store who won't understand

Six weeks Wednesday at noon
Sitting with Glenn
Sometimes others join us
A hymn or two
Short sermon
Some good, some not

Lunch in the basement
Church cookbook casserole
Creamy salad
Water or tea
Neither of us drink coffee

Talk of family and sports
Maybe the sermon
Church friends and politics
Work updates
We say our goodbyes

Giving up something, maybe
Remembering, anything to help

Holy Week, the beginning with
Sword ferns posing as palms
Maundy Thursday
It took a long time to
Understand the "Maundy"
Good Friday
It's trite,
But who ever thought to
Call it "good?"
The dark, quiet and waiting

Easter and
It's over
Day of joy
Get my life back, again
Not sure I want it
At this cost
The seasons end

I hope it will come again
Next year
Or maybe, I hope
I'll be here next year
To remember that
It happened
Jesus suffered
And I live


  1. I loved this last year (or was it the year before). Still do.

  2. After reading a book on the church year recently, I've determined it's good for me to at least be aware of where the church is in its year. Lent is a season I've sometimes observed, other times just been too lazy. A friend not only "gives up," but gives in addition to, and, this year plans to give away. I can at least be diligent in reading relevant Scripture and remembering Christ's resolute trek toward Jerusalem and the cross. Great poem, always.

  3. Hi Jim, I included a link to your wonderful poem on The High Calling's Lent resources page.

  4. Hi Jim, I included a link to your wonderful poem on The High Calling's Lent resources page here: http://www.thehighcalling.org/season-of-lent

  5. Sandra, thanks for including my work.

  6. Enjoying your poetry and thoughts in general, Jim. Glad your path and Crossings' have crossed! Like you, I try to make sense of wordless inner things through poetry. kevinreeve.wordpress.com