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Lenten Pause - The Truth In Ash

Posted on March 9, 2014 at 12:10 AM

My second Lenten pause is quite an ongoing theme in my mind and heart: The Eternal Circle and how it's echoed in myths and legends, religions and seasons and in my own life, over and over again.

This past week, I wrote, amongst others, two poems that reflect that theme: "The Truth in Ash" and "Fascinated by Thistles".

I find it helpful to think of religious ritual and tradition in terms of metaphor. (Actually, I find it helpful, as evidenced in much of my poetry, to think of almost everything in terms of metaphor...) Lent, Ash Wednesday, Easter, are no exception. On Ash Wednesday I was wondering about Ash...


The Truth in Ash

- By Ruth Calder Murphy -

All those Hosannas,

twisted into crosses

and burned…


rising in palm smoke on the breeze,

an eye-watering liberation

of leaves,

in memory of a man

who carried Divinity on the back of a donkey,

then died on a turning tide

where hosannas began to sound like


All those hosannas,

turned to ash

and returned to dust,

in memory of madness

and mortality,

pierced feet and side and head and hands

and a second set of swaddling bands…

By the light of a candle,

bitter herbs and a crown of thorns;

a rumour of resurrection

and angels

and dawn,

but first the gloom of dark despair

must pass -

to discover the hidden truths

in Ash.

Fascinated by thistles

- By Ruth Calder Murphy -

My daughter's fascinated by thistles -

their thorns,

their purple

and their downy descent -

their dreams of death

on the cusp of falling to purple again.

She wants to touch them,

thorns and all,

and feel how thistles feel,

all bristles on the surface

and downy potential

in their purple soul,

growing where other things dare not grow,

in the hard places,

between rocks and stones...

My daughter is fascinated by thistles

and delighted by life -

arms full of flowers and thorns and featherdown dreams -

not minding the scratches or even the nightmares

as she presents them, proud,

declaring purple in awed tones

and bringing bright rainbows

from silent stones.

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Categories: Poetry, Musings