Ash Wednesday Before Dawn

So it begins…

Another Lent has come

With its demands of piety, privation,

Discipline, devotion,

Confession, contemplation,

Absolution, abstinence, 

And ashes.

Awake before the spinning world

Turns my face to the cheery sun

You summon me from rest

To this, a consecrated concentration

That rests, in its own way,

My whirling mind.

“Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,” 

You said so long ago,

That those who heard 

(And those who heard from them),

That even I

Might lay aside tomorrow’s cares and ills

To live entirely in today.

Such a facile phrase!

Yet has there ever been

A task more trying?

So here before dawn’s rosy fingers

Stretch across the hills

I tune my thoughts,

Settle my spirit.

Let the disquiet and distractions

Kindle with the leaves of last year’s palms

And fill this solemn season

With ashes of anxiety

All aglow with grace.


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