Category Archives: Liturgical

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.”


Good Friday 2014

It was the day of the hammer
The day of the nail
It was the day of the storm
And of the earthquake

For how could the earth
Not shudder and crack
With the blood of its maker
Spilled upon it?

And we huddled in our homes
Beneath the bruise-black sky
And waited for creation
To burn us for blasphemy

And the earth did open
Beneath we, the accursed
But out of the depths
Came not fire, or water

But our beloved, who were dead
Now quickened,
And laughing
And running to embrace us.


Ash Wednesday, 2014

Thirty winters’ wind and rain

Wore the features from our bones

Till all the is remaining

Is a ring of standing stones

 

Take up the Lenten hammer

That we prayed you’d never swing

Set your chisel to our cheek

Make our silences to ring.


Ordinary Time

In the winter after Christmas,
the night after the lights come down
In the barrens after feasting
the silence when the music ends

This is when it really matters
this is when we need to believe
That what has come to pass in us
is stronger than January.

That daily He abides within
the dirty stable of our hearts
to wake, and live, and die with us
to go down and to rise with us.


Christmas (2011)

Glory to God in the highest,!
And on Earth peace, good will to men

For when the hammer of winter fell
And we wept in the trenches of ourselves
He came stooping like a falcon down
To pluck us from our last cold ending
With talons that smelt of summertime.