Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ash Wednesday

"Lord, help me to forget myself and to know Thee."

Reginald Somerset-Ward

"What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from."

T. S. Eliot

Whoever on that medieval day
decided that it had to be ashes
to sign the season, was in touch with death
but he'd forgotten the place of red earth,
remembered in the gut by those who know
dirt mixed with the blood of woman giving birth.

The flesh of one so full of hope cries out,
comes pushing now the growing, wintered well
in her womb, wailing songs of the longing
for life and love and gentleness of green
and a springtime sun to be welcoming
for us, to warm us out of these our tombs
to bid us light and peace and graciousness.

So we are signed with earth - with death and birth.

Mary Claire van Orsdal

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