Betwixt and Between - Waiting for Ascension and Pentecost

This selection of poems is influenced by a whole range of thoughts working through me in this waiting period between the Ascension and the coming of The Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The first four are all by W.S. Merwin. In Christ's final words of promise to His disciples that He would be with them always, I too have come to recognise the living presence of Christ in the here and now of my life, and the gift of faith that I have received. That my life is coloured by the lives of the communion of saints and countless other Christians before me, I have no doubt. For over two thousand years, Christians have lived in the expectation and hope of experiencing God in their life, in their death, and in eternity and I pray to God to help me to sustain that faith and play my small part in carrying that candle of hope forward.
 Image source 
Plein Air Evelyn Dunply

All day the stars watch from long ago
my mother said I am going now
when you are alone you will be all right
whether or not you know you will know
look at the old house in the dawn rain
all the flowers are forms of water
the sun reminds them through a white cloud
touches the patchwork spread on the hill
the washed colors of the afterlife
that lived there long before you were born
see how they wake without a question
even though the whole world is burning.

This second poem has me thinking of the Ascension of Christ, and how it was to change everything once again for the disciples...
Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

 This next one makes me realise how I always return to the Scriptures and those final words of Christ before his death on the cross and after the Resurrection. They are still so important. Whatever we face in this life, Christ has been there before us.
 Worn Words

The late poems are the ones
I turn to first now
following a hope that keeps
beckoning me
waiting somewhere in the lines
almost in plain sight

it it the late poems
that are made of words
that have come the whole way
they have been there

 This poem below is similar to the saying attributed to the 14th Century German theologian
 and mystic Meister Eckhart : "If the only prayer you say in your entire life is thank you, 
 it will be enough." I have so much to be thankful to God for in my life and I need to express gratitude
more often !
with the night falling we are saying thank you 
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings 
we are running out of the glass rooms 
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky 
and say thank you 
we are standing by the water thanking it 
smiling by the windows looking out 
in our directions 

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging 
after funerals we are saying thank you 
after the news of the dead 
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

Over telephones we are saying thank you 
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators 
remembering wars and the police at the door 
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you 
in the banks we are saying thank you 
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us 
our lost feelings we are saying thank you 
with the forests falling faster than the minutes 
of our lives we are saying thank you 
with the words going out like cells of a brain 
with the cities growing over us 
we are saying thank you faster and faster 
with nobody listening we are saying thank you 
we are saying thank you and waving 
dark though it is 

Extract from Ulysses
by Alfred Lord Tennyson
I love the humour in this painting by Georgio de Chirico 
and the message to keep striving in our own small way

                                                           and brief explanation of the tale of Ulysses here

Though much is taken, much abides; 
and though we are not now that strength which in old days
moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are, 
One equal temper of heroic hearts. 
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield

Click here for a wonderful video interview with the poet W.S. Merwin on the PBS Channel. (It won't let me embed it.) There is also a full transcript of the interview underneath the video.

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