Category Archives: Liturgical

Ash Wednesday 2018

Lay me down in a winter grave

It need not be very deep

Just put some stones on top of me

So the coyotes won’t disturb.

 

Lay me down in a winter grave

But let it be a shallow one

For though I’m marked for dust with ash

I won’t be dead for very long.


Advent 2017

Every year it is the same

In November I begin

To stumble out in search of

A feeling that I once had.

 

I search the mud and dead leaves

For something colourful and

Warm and bright and sweet enough

To get me through the dark days.

 

For a message in the lights

For the song behind the song

I give until I feel good

But it every year eludes.

 

So it is one mad, cold day

That I search, frantic, through the trash

Of Decembers I have known

For a Christmas I can feel

 

And feel, instead, a hand placed

On the shoulder of my heart

And it breaks, and is remade

By the person Christmas is.


Good Friday 2017

 

Who can bear to read

The story of the humans?

Written as it is

In the bodies of their children.

Chlorine-choked

Ball-bearing broken

Wrapped in dust and laid

In the broken heart of the earth.

 

He made it his own,

The story of the humans

And let them write an ending

Upon his body there,

With fist and foot and implement

Son-and-daughter slain and rising

Up to bear their children out

Of the broken heart of the earth.


December Turns To January

The winter sings a song

Called There Is Not Enough.

 

Not enough propane in the tank

Not enough sunlight in the hours

Not enough numbers in the bank

Not enough mercy in the powers

 

Sing to me the silence

Called What Is Then Required?

 

Only a laying down to die

Only a raising from the dead

Only a mouthful of the wine

Only a mouthful of the bread.


Advent 2015

Carolers come, and let us sing

Of when He came in like a thief

To the camp of the enemy

In the dark of the moon, and year.

 

Past the sleeping watch of history

The guard-fires, fences and the dogs

As swift and silent as the snow

To our long-accustomed prison.

 

There to break the ancient chains

And then to lead us one by one

Beyond the ring of firelight

Into His Father’s holy dark.

 

And in the morning when they came

To kick us back to wakefulness

And lay our earned judgment on

They found there sentenced in our place

 

An infant, come red and wailing

To a world like a winter sea

They laughed, the drowning and the frost

Who saw their doom, and knew Him not.


Ash Wednesday 2015

One Wednesday when the world is grey

And the wind is calling

We leave the covers and the bed

And open wide the door.

 

For ancient reasons, half-believed

We trade the warm indoor

For the flurries and the howling

To be clothed by the gale.

 

We go out in just these bodies

Too fat, too thin, too old

Praying with our mouths full of dust

And our eyes sealed with ash.

 

The wind blows where it pleases, and

It tears the shroud from us

Until we see what we’ve become

Beneath our winter things.

 

Now forty days is far too long

To live thus, in winter

They will bury empty caskets

And give our things away

 

Till one Sunday when spring has come

They find us on the porch

Fast asleep, finely dressed, faces

full forgotten by Death.


Epitaphios

We brought him out

To hear the caroling.

All the long pilgrimage

From the couch to the kitchen chair.

Half-carried, he barely found his steps

Like a man walking on the sea-bed

He was somewhere we were not

Far away from Christmas in long-term care.

With Advent he slipped away

His bones each there to be counted

The man nearly gone from his eyes

Stolen away by the nameless

He had forgotten how to stand,

Leaning back against our arms

A living icon, out of season

Christ taken down from the cross.

The voices startle and amaze him

And though he is sore afraid

And cannot see the secret choir

Their carol is for him:

“No more let sins and sorrows grow

Nor thorns infest the ground

He comes to make His blessings flow

Far as the curse is found.”