Dust and Glory

Sorry for disappearing, friends. I started this poem over a month ago on Ash Wednesday and just now came back to it, as Lent nears the end. Which is actually pretty cool, now that I think about it.

stained-glass-cross-in-chapel
*

 

i.

Paint a cross of ash
Upon my ashy face
My face and skin of dust:
From dust I was formed and to dust I will return
To dust, and glory

The spirit is willing
But the flesh is weak
Is it weakness to prefer sun to sleet,
To long for sweet springtime grass beneath my feet?
Winter is waning, why
Should I sit here any longer in sorrow?

The ash darkens my skin and the lights
Go out
Darkness falls;
I sit in sorrow—
Your sorrow that was my sorrow that You bore for me
My sorrow on Your shoulders,
The blackness of history bleeding
Into eternity
But for the blood that stanched its flow

Such sorrow
Such sweet spring

Winter’s grasp is tight,
And though we know the spring will win, still
The sleet darkens the stained glass windows
And we sit in silence, stained
With ash

Baptized with ash

ii.

The spring’s Son has won
And warmed us with His winning
So we wait for the warmth
In this cold cathedral,
Cold crosses on cold skin
The slick grit of dust
To remind these dust-bound bodies
They are destined for glory—
For glory, when the spring comes

So I’ll weep and dance at the western wall
and sing of the way you’re making all things new
Cause the kingdom’s here, but I know the kingdom’s moving in
.
So maybe I’ll meet you here next year
In the New Jerusalem, in the New Jerusalem…
.
~ Andrew Peterson, “Maybe Next Year”

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