25 February 2009

A poem on Ash Wednesday (in light of the imposition)

"Restoration or Bust"

No ethereal home for me.
I’ll be flesh and blood and grist,
as stout a
s a tree, as barbaric
as the kiss from the bisclavret.
Earth is here to stay—no cataclysmic
implosion, no end of space and time.
I’ll be growing cabbages, without weeds,
tippling wine. Dirty fingernails
will be my lot; looking to the sky,
the laconic cowboy, lost in thought.
The final Easter morn, hardly rapturous,
will have no meeting in the clouds;
yet the triumphal procession proceeds
right on schedule, right through town.
We agrarians, I suppose, will lay down
our fronds, then it’s back to pruning
and planning, the late-November span,
the eggplants and pepper, the slow grape
and the aching hand. Our soil, dark
and nutritious; the weather, bright but cold,
lends vigor to our toil, renewal to our world.


Anonymous said...

So you're saying that President Obama is NOT the anti-christ?

Very nice... I like it a lot.

John Schaefer said...

Nobody expects the agrarian imposition!

Chris Donato said...

@ Brian: yeah, he's no more the antichrist than my monther-in-law, I gather. Thanks for the kind words on the poem.

@ John: No, they don't. That's one reason why they'll all be unready.

Anonymous said...

After sharing the poem with Denise, I'm wondering if this was inspired by another dream with a shirtless N.T. Wright.

Chris Donato said...

Thank goodness, no. I sketched this out the first time in 2004, I think. No doubt, though, that his thoughts on this subject played some part in it.

Evan said...

Very nice poem, Chris. Did you write it originally with thoughts of Ash Wednesday, or is it simply the sharing of it that's in light of the imposition?

Chris Donato said...

Hi, Evan, and thank you. When first writing this piece I did have Lent in light of Easter in light of the parousia in mind—but not specifically Ash Wednesday.

Yet when I carried on with my day this Wednesday with ashes on my head feeling simultaneously grimy and forgiven, I went back to this poem, revised it just a tad, and found myself wanting to share it in light of the imposition. I felt it somehow complemented the longing anticipation nestled in the liturgy of that day. Long answer to a short question. Sorry about that.

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