Ash Wednesday

February 22, 2012 § 1 Comment

I thought it appropriate to share some of T.S. Eliot’s poem Ash Wednesday with you all today. Had my old computer not bit the dust, I would have shared a poem I wrote about Ash Wednesday a couple of years ago. Two stanzas in particular stand out to me from the first section of the poem.

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

The refrain of “teach us to care and not to care, teach us to sit still” is repeated as the poem comes to a close, and it seems to me to be the motivating force behind the poem. Indeed, this plea embodies the spirit of Lent, and it is my prayer for this Lenten season.

For the whole poem:


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