28 February 2010

Lent - The Jerusalem Mile Project

A group of pilgrims from the Diocese of Virginia (including our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston) are in Jerusalem and are also blogging at "The Jerusalem Mile."  I encourage you to follow along with their pilgrimage, and I have to say that I am envious.

You can also follow along with another pilgrimage, my friend from seminary, Fran, who is blogging at White Mountain Musings or at http://whitemountainmusings.blogspot.com/

I pray I will one day also make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Check them out HERE at http://jerusalemmile.wordpress.com/ and White Mountain Musings or at http://whitemountainmusings.blogspot.com/

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

Psalm 137:1-6 Super flumina

1By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept, *
when we remembered you, O Zion.
2As for our harps, we hung them up *
on the trees in the midst of that land.
3For those who led us away captive asked us for a song,
and our oppressors called for mirth: *
"Sing us one of the songs of Zion."
4How shall we sing the LORD'S song *
upon an alien soil?
5If I forget you, O Jerusalem, *
let my right hand forget its skill.
6Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you, *
if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy

27 February 2010

George Herbert

Love (III) 
by George Herbert

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
 Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
 From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
 If I lacked anything.

"A guest," I answered, "worthy to be here":
 Love said, "You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
 I cannot look on thee."
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
 "Who made the eyes but I?"

"Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame
 Go where it doth deserve."
"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"
 "My dear, then I will serve."
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."
 So I did sit and eat. 

The Collar 
by George Herbert

I struck the board, and cry'd, No more.
                 I will abroad.
     What? shall I ever sigh and pine?
My lines and life are free; free as the rode,
     Loose as the winde, as large as store.
        Shall I be still in suit?
     Have I no harvest but a thorn
     To let me bloud, and not restore
     What I have lost with cordiall fruit?
                  Sure there was wine
Before my sighs did drie it: there was corn
        Before my tears did drown it.
     Is the yeare onely lost to me?
        Have I no bayes to crown it?
No flowers, no garlands gay? all blasted?
                  All wasted?
     Not so, my heart: but there is fruit,
                  And thou hast hands.
     Recover all thy sigh-blown age
On double pleasures: leave thy cold dispute
Of what is fit and not. Forsake thy cage,
                  Thy rope of sands,
Which pettie thoughts have made, and made to thee
     Good cable, to enforce and draw,
                  And be thy law,
     While thou didst wink and wouldst not see.
                  Away; take heed:
                  I will abroad.
Call in thy deaths head there: tie up thy fears.
                  He that forbears
        To suit and serve his need,
                  Deserves his load.
But as I rav'd and grew more fierce and wilde
                  At every word,
Me thoughts I heard one calling, Child!
                  And I reply'd, My Lord.

from Poets.org

26 February 2010

Lent - "Hold this space" blogs the 40 words of Lent

Check out "Hold this space" blog and their posts for the 40 words of Lent!

Here's a sample:

40 words of Lent

it begins again
but i need no god to make my wilderness
i find it of my own volition

as discipline this year
i give up nothing
but guilt

the road to crucifixion,
after all,
is paved with failed intentions

25 February 2010

24 February 2010

The Episcopal Café makes the top 100!

Whoo Hoo!

Thanks to all who visit and comment at The Episcopal Cafe!!


The Episcopal Café appears in a ranking of "nearly 100 of the most influential blogs that contribute to an online discussion about religion in the public sphere and the academy." (The proprietor of Spiritual Politics, Mark Silk, wryly notes, "OK, you're asking, how many non-influential such blogs are there? Now now, the number, no doubt, is legion." )
The report by the Social Science Research Council is intended to "spark discussion among religion bloggers that will take their work further, while also inviting new voices from outside existing networks to join in and take part."
About the ranking:
To get a quantitative picture of how influence is distributed in the religion blogosphere, the blogs included in this report were ranked according to three public, Web-wide services: Technorati, Alexa, and Compete. Technorati (1), which specializes in blogs, bases its “Authority” metric on how many other blogs link to a given blog in their posts. Alexa (2, 3) and Compete (4), on the other hand, derive their numbers from the subset of web users who use their respective plug-ins in their web browsers, not unlike the “Set Meters” that companies such as Nielsen use for television ratings. In addition, the number of comments on each of the last 10 posts from every blog was averaged (6)....
Metrics such as these are part of the picture but not all of it. Kathy Gill (2004) has argued that more pointed measures need to be used for mapping the blogosphere in addition to Web-wide services like Technorati, Compete, and Alexa. She observes that they fail to capture, among other things, the influence of a site within particular subcultures, as we see from the differences between these raw numbers and the network analysis of the religion blogosphere above. It will be helpful, therefore, to consider the sites cited as trusted sources by the religion bloggers themselves. The IssueCrawler data (6)—from December 13, 2009—shows the sites that are most linked-to by other sites in the religion blogosphere.
[Another] list (7) derives from the survey of bloggers conducted for this report ... [in] which two or more respondents described as among their favorite and most trusted sources for content.

In old-guard organizations like the Catholic Church and mainline Protestant denominations, blogging has created space for discourse that leans against prevailing trends. At sites like Progressive Revival, Episcopal Cafe, and the Christian Century’s Theolog, mainliners maintain a rich public conversation about the present and future of their communities. They do so, meanwhile, often outside the auspices of traditional ecclesial bodies (whose populations are in a state of decline), possibly pointing toward a shift in the locus of intellectual leadership.

Lent - Bp of Haiti offers Lenten reflection

The Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, the Rt. Rev. Jean Zaché Duracin, offers the following Lenten reflection, commenting on the situation in Haiti and the need for faith, prayer and renewal in the midst of devastation:

From Episcopal News Service

January 12 was a terrible day for the Haitian people. The earthquake left not a soul untouched. There is not a single family that did not lose a close friend or member: Mothers, fathers, siblings, in some cases entire families disappeared.

As for resources, we have next to nothing. The wreckage is beyond imagination.

However, this situation delivers us into faith. I look at this as a baptism. We who are still alive have had the blessing of survival, but in many ways we have died to the ways of the past. We have the opportunity to rise up and start anew. In this moment of grief and mourning, life must continue.
During this Lenten season, it is important for us in Haiti to turn inward and rediscover all that is just within us. It is imperative that we be reborn in this moment. We will live without the physical trappings of the church because we still have the same spiritual guidance, the confessions, the conversations, the reflections.

We need faith. We must go forward with confidence and hope. The Haitian people are fighters. We will not give up. We must see within this situation the possibilities that exist. Jealousy, anger, hatred – this is not the time for these. We turn to Jesus Christ, who did not fall into temptation; though he was in hard situations, he overcame death in victory.

Read the rest HERE

23 February 2010

Lent - Polycarp on Forgiveness (from Scott Gunn)

Scott Gunn reminds us of the beautiful words of Polycarp on forgiveness.

Scott writes in his blog, "Seven Whole Days" and quotes Polycarp.

Thank you Scott, just beautiful!


Today the Church commemorates Polycarp, bishop and martyr. He lived from the mid-first century to the mid-second century. His only surviving work is a letter, “Polycarp to the Philippians“. I’m fascinated by those from the earliest decades of the church, who embraced a glorious life not a glorious institution.
Here are Polycarp’s words on forgiveness. They’re very fitting for Lent.
For I am confident that you are well versed in the Scriptures, and from you nothing is hid; but to me this is not granted. Only, as it is said in these Scriptures, “Be ye angry and sin not,” and “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” Blessed is the man who remembers this, and I believe that it is so with you. Now may God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the “eternal Priest” himself, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, build you up in faith and truth, and in all gentleness, and without wrath, and in patience, and in longsuffering, and endurance, and purity, and may he give you lot and part with his saints, and to us with you, and to all under heaven who shall believe in our Lord and God Jesus Christ and in his “Father who raised him from the dead.” “Pray for all the saints. Pray also for the Emperors,” and for potentates, and princes, and for “those who persecute you and hate you,” and for “the enemies of the Cross” that “your fruit may be manifest among all men, that you may be perfected” in him.
Good advice nineteen centuries ago, and good advice today.

Lent - To keep you in all your ways

"...he shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways."
~Psalm 91: 11

22 February 2010

Lent - "Lent. What is it for?"

My article last year (2009) in the "Daily Episcopalian" at "EpiscopalCafe.com"....

May your Lent be full of blessings,

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

Lent. What is it for?

By Peter M. Carey
Entering Lent each year I tend to hear people at church (including myself) say that we should “give something up,” or (more recently) “take something on”. Giving up chocolate, or alcohol, or negativity are some choices that I have heard about. Taking on such things as praying daily, reading the Bible, or tending to one’s spiritual life can be wonderful disciplines. Often, however, I get focused on the obstacles. I get focused on (and obsessed with?) the thing I’ve tried to “give up,” or I find myself focusing on the thing that I’ve “taken on.” This is the wrong focus, perhaps like a hurdler focusing on the hurdles so much that she hits every hurdle and crashes. Obviously, the hurdles are not the focus of the race. Focusing on the obstacles can obscure the goal. I imagine this may be true of others as well.

This year, I have tried to really consider the question of the reason that we observe Lent at all. What is the reason to “give up” or “take on.” There are probably tons of reasons, but, for me, as someone with a busy house of three children under 6, and a busy ministry of serving as a chaplain to a large and complex school, the main reason to observe Lent at all has been to give some time to remember God. I have attempted to focus on God, rather than the things I’ve given up (Facebook), and rather than the things I’ve taken on (reading the Bible and theology daily with greater focus).

As simple as it sounds, the practice of giving time back to God, so that I might remember the ever present reality of God, can become difficult.

Read the rest at "Episcopal Cafe"....

21 February 2010

Lent 1 sermon

Sermon for Lent 1

Lent 1 Sermon
The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Emmanuel Episcopal Church
Greenwood, VA

I pray that we each might strive to keep a holy Lent, and a good place to begin is to examine Jesus’ own time in the wilderness, to see the blessings that it offered him, and to see the blessings that it offers us.

After his baptism by John in the river Jordan, Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit. 

Bursting, in fact,
bursting with Joy,

Jesus also had the sense and the feeling that something great was about to happen, that he would be doing great things, and that God would empower him to do it.  So after he was baptized, he returned from the Jordan.  Returned perhaps to home, wondering what would happen next.  Wondering what the Holy Spirit would be doing in him and with him.  It was, perhaps, like riding a great wave, a tsunami wave, in fact.  Getting one’s board up on the crest and then riding that energy and that wave, being in some sense one with the wave.  Knowing, in fact, that the wave is powerful and supporting, but also a power beyond ones self.  Jesus returned from the Jordan.

And then was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, or perhaps more likely (as Mark wrote), was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness.  Perhaps Jesus returned home after his baptism and realized that he “could not go home again” in the same way that he had before.  Perhaps Jesus realized that he needed to be away for awhile, that he needed the testing and the formation of the wilderness in order to discern and figure out what would happen next.

As he was driven into the wilderness, in Luke’s account, Jesus was tempted by the devil after forty days of hunger.  Like any of us when we spend time sitting in meditation, when, in Lent, we give up sweets or chocolate or soda or any of our desires, temptations come to us.  Luke recounts that Jesus ate nothing at all during those days, surely he was tempted, at least tempted by the desire to eat.  Jesus was tempted by the devil in those forty days in the wilderness, and his time in the wilderness give us a model, perhaps, of the way that we might keep a holy Lent.  The number forty is a holy number in the Bible – forty years in the wilderness for Moses and the Israelites.  Forty days of rain for Noah and his animals.  Forty signifies a holy time, but a time of wandering.  Forty signifies a time set apart, hoping beyond hope to find home. 

Between Jesus’ baptism and the beginning of his public ministry, he returns from the Jordan, but then is driven into the wilderness where he is tempted by the devil, where he ate nothing at all, and where “he was famished.” 

“Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

In the midst of his hunger, the devil tempts him with three temptations which are recounted by Luke.

First, the devil says, “if you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.”

Jesus answered him concisely and eloquently, despite his hunger, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’” 

Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 

And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all their authority; for it has been given over to me, and I will give it to anyone I please.  If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”

Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’”

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “if you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone..’”

Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

 So, Jesus is tempted by physical temptations – temptations of eating, of surrendering one’s ideals and one’s commitment for a slice of bread.  It reminds me of Esau, who when famished returned to his house and was so hungry that he gave up his birthright to his brother Jacob for a lousy bowl of lentil soup.  As a kid, I could never understand why he would do this – because I hated lentil soup.  I am far more spiritually advanced now, however, because lentil soup is quite tasty. 

And Jesus is tempted by worldly power, that he will be given temporal power over all the kingdoms of the world, if only he surrenders his love for his Father, if only he surrenders his own calling, if only he surrenders his own sense of being full with the Holy Spirit.  He is offered it all, but is not willing to lose his soul in order to gain the world. 

And also Jesus is tempted by religious power, much like worldly power, but here the devil imagines that the angels will save Jesus.  Here, the devil imagines that if Jesus puts God to the test that God will, of course, command the angels to save Jesus’ skin.  But, Jesus refuses this temptation as well.  Though he is famished, likely weak, likely tired, likely lonely, has moved through these tests and is, perhaps, ready for what is to come.  Though empty, he is full of the Holy Spirit.  Though weak, he is strong in his Faithfulness.  Though tired, he is enlivened by his success over the devil.  Though lonely, he is comforted by God’s presence and love.

Having been baptized in the river Jordan Jesus is full of the Holy Spirit, Jesus returns home, but is driven into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit, where he does not eat for forty days, and he is famished.  He is tempted by the devil, but casts off these temptations, and is prepared, in a deep and abiding way, to do what God has called him to do.  His time of hunger, of weakness, of tiredness and loneliness, have yielded blessings and power beyond “all understanding.”  His time away, in the harsh wilderness, has yielded blessings of holiness and hope.

So, we too, as we enter into this season of Lent, we are offered the opportunity to accept the fullness of the Holy Spirit, which has come to us in our own baptism.  We can cast off some of the things that remove us from the love and the real presence of God in our lives.  As we move through the season of Lent, even our own feelings of being famished, of weakness, of tiredness, of loneliness, can yield blessings.  We know that God feeds us, give us power, gives us energy, and offers us love and companionship even in our darkest times. 

I pray that we each might strive to keep a holy Lent, and a good place to begin is to examine Jesus’ own time in the wilderness, to see the blessings that it offered him, and to see the blessings that it offers us.

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Lent - Jesus in the desert

I find this to be a powerful depiction of Jesus' time in the desert. We will read Luke's version of the story of Jesus' 40 days in the desert this Sunday, the 40 days of fasting and temptation by the devil which follow Jesus' baptism. Take a look.

20 February 2010

Lent - at SSJE

SSJE - St. John the Evangelist Society
The St. John the Evangelist Society, the Anglican monastic community in Cambridge, Massachussetts will be offering a variety of Lenten resources this Lent.  There will be a daily reading from their rule of life, as well as weekly reflections by various of the brothers.  I highly recommend checking out their site (and paying them a visit, if you have a chance.)

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

You can access the "SSJE" Lenten site HERE

Lent at the Monastery

Lent is the season in which Christians prepare for the Resurrection of the Lord. It is a time to renew our commitment as disciples of Jesus by adopting practices that deepen our relationship to God. 

Monastic Wisdom for Everyday Living
We invite you to join us, either in person or virtually, for our Lenten preaching series, Monastic Wisdom for Everyday Living. Each Tuesday in March, the 5.15 Eucharist at the Monastery Chapel will feature a sermon reflecting on a specific practice from the SSJE Rule of Life. After the service there will be a soup supper and further conversation with the evening's preacher.
If you cannot join us in person, check back here for a weekly update, featuring an audio recording of the sermon and suggestions for further reading. 

To be yourself

'To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.' 


hat tip to the Rev. Bosco Peters and his "liturgy blog" and twitter account

18 February 2010

Lent - Reflections by the people of St. Paul's Memorial

Another great blog which is offering daily reflections is hosted by St. Paul's Memorial, Charlottesville, VA.  The daily reflections are offered by different parishioners and staff for each day of the 40 days of Lent.  Check out the blog HERE or at http://stpaulslent.blogspot.com/. The opening post was offered on Ash Wednesday by Anna Askounis and I have reposted it below.

Do check out this blog, and what will prove to be a wonderful selection of reflections.

Prayers for a holy Lent,

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

Joel 2:12-18, Psalm 51, 2 Corinthians 5:20-62, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Rend your hearts
return to me
broken and contrite
let us journey together
into the
keep me, these forty days,
in the
of your

Anna Askounis

"Blogging Lent" at Santos Woodcarving Popsicles

We are now in the season of Lent.  One of the practices that I am taking on is to blog every day with a post on Lent.  Sometimes reflections, sometimes sharing of a video, sometimes poetry, sometimes a word on scripture, sometimes art, sometimes music.  These "blogging Lent" posts can be found HERE and there will be new ones every day of the 40 days of Lent.  Today (below this post) you will find the Archbishop of Canterbury's reflection on Lent that he posted on YouTube last year (2009), it is quite good and I hope you check it out.

May we all strive to keep a holy Lent,

Pax et Bonum,

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

Lent - Archbishop of Canterbury reflects (from '09)

From Lent 2009, Dr. Rowan Williams offered up a Lenten YouTube video, it is quite good.  Check it out,

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey 

 The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, reflects on Lent as a time to: 

"Sweep and clean the room of our own minds and hearts so that the new life really may have room to come in and take over and transform us at Easter".

17 February 2010

Ash Wednesday at CCBlogs

Services are done, now to watch some snowboarding at the Olympics, but I suggest that you also check out the wonderful reflections, sermons, prayers and such on Ash Wednesday over at "Christian Century Blog Network" - CCBlogs.   Click HERE to see the posts.

And, stay tuned for some daily Lenten posts here at Santos Popsicles for the next 40 days, come back for a virtual smorgasbord of offerings from now until Holy Week,

May you strive to keep a holy Lent!

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

Ash Wednesday around the network

It’s Ash Wednesday, and the CCblogs network is filled with thought-provoking posts.
Ashes are dirty, says Debra Dean Murphy, like coal dust. They get under Pamela Fickenscher's fingernails, and they get Roger Lovette thinking of other smudges. They take to some foreheads more readily than others, as Darren Cushman Wood details, and we bring them out on what Maria Evans points out is the one service of the year in which we go to the altar twice. James Schaap explores the ashes’ effect on a fifth-grade classroom.
What are you giving up or taking on for Lent? asks Nancy Fitz. Paul Stroble reminds us to keep it Christ-centered, and Frank Showers talks about what constitutes true treasure. Lent has the potential, says David Henson, to be a time of self-importance; Chris Brundage warns against the perils of public piety. Shawn Wamsley notes that Lent disciplines are rightly personal, though Michael Marsh reminds us that each individual journey takes place within community. Although Lent disciplines are complicated, Martha Hoversonassures us that they are “not intended to ruin your life.”
Bob Cornwall draws from Joan Chittister on the urgency of repentance, while Mark Powell points out that we already know how. Will Willimon talks about preaching on the cross; Ed Sunday-Winters pushes for a less safe Jesus. Warren Hicks asks: what has your attention?
Milton Brasher-Cunningham prays for disquiet; Amy Julia Becker longs for grace that disrupts routine. Lent is about transformation, says Julie Clawson, not denial; Ernesto Tinajero points out that self-control is itself about being transformed. How will Lent change Ryan Dueck?
James Lumsden describes his eucharistic angle on Lent this year and offers a short reading list. As for Weston Williams, he comes from a church “non-tradition” in which it’s a stretch to observe Ash Wednesday at all. Joshua Hearne offers that the reason we prepare for Lent’s journey is that we can’t see Easter yet. One way to prepare, according to Ellen Haroutunian, is—well, was—to party.
Angela Shier-Jones talks to God about being dust, while Dianna Woolley and Rachel Hackenberg offer poems. Janet EdwardsJan Richardson and Elmer Ewing reflect on the lectionary readings. We are creatures, says Steve Woolley. Still, Allan Bevere doesn’t want to die.

Ash Wednesday by T.S. Eliot

by T S Eliot

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope

Because I do not hope to turn

Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour

Because I do not think

Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place

And what is actual is actual only for one time

And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

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.


Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper-tree
In the cool of the day, having fed to satiety

On my legs my heart my liver and that which had been contained

In the hollow round of my skull. And God said
Shall these bones live? shall these
Bones live? And that which had been contained
In the bones (which were already dry) said chirping:
Because of the goodness of this Lady
And because of her loveliness, and because
She honours the Virgin in meditation,
We shine with brightness. And I who am here dissembled
Proffer my deeds to oblivion, and my love
To the posterity of the desert and the fruit of the gourd.
It is this which recovers
My guts the strings of my eyes and the indigestible portions
Which the leopards reject. The Lady is withdrawn
In a white gown, to contemplation, in a white gown.
Let the whiteness of bones atone to forgetfulness.
There is no life in them. As I am forgotten
And would be forgotten, so I would forget
Thus devoted, concentrated in purpose. And God said
Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only
The wind will listen. And the bones sang chirping
With the burden of the grasshopper, saying

Lady of silences
Calm and distressed

Torn and most whole

Rose of memory
Rose of forgetfulness
Exhausted and life-giving
Worried reposeful
The single Rose
Is now the Garden
Where all loves end
Terminate torment
Of love unsatisfied
The greater torment
Of love satisfied
End of the endless
Journey to no end
Conclusion of all that
Is inconclusible
Speech without word and
Word of no speech
Grace to the Mother
For the Garden
Where all love ends.

Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and shining
We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to each other,

Under a tree in the cool of the day, with the blessing of sand,

Forgetting themselves and each other, united
In the quiet of the desert. This is the land which ye
Shall divide by lot. And neither division nor unity
Matters. This is the land. We have our inheritance.


At the first turning of the second stair
I turned and saw below

The same shape twisted on the banister

Under the vapour in the fetid air
Struggling with the devil of the stairs who wears
The deceitul face of hope and of despair.

At the second turning of the second stair
I left them twisting, turning below;

There were no more faces and the stair was dark,

Damp, jagged, like an old man's mouth drivelling, beyond repair,
Or the toothed gullet of an aged shark.

At the first turning of the third stair
Was a slotted window bellied like the figs's fruit

And beyond the hawthorn blossom and a pasture scene

The broadbacked figure drest in blue and green
Enchanted the maytime with an antique flute.
Blown hair is sweet, brown hair over the mouth blown,
Lilac and brown hair;
Distraction, music of the flute, stops and steps of the mind over the third stair,
Fading, fading; strength beyond hope and despair
Climbing the third stair.

Lord, I am not worthy
Lord, I am not worthy

but speak the word only.


Who walked between the violet and the violet
Who walked between

The various ranks of varied green

Going in white and blue, in Mary's colour,
Talking of trivial things
In ignorance and knowledge of eternal dolour
Who moved among the others as they walked,
Who then made strong the fountains and made fresh the springs

Made cool the dry rock and made firm the sand
In blue of larkspur, blue of Mary's colour,

Sovegna vos

Here are the years that walk between, bearing
Away the fiddles and the flutes, restoring

One who moves in the time between sleep and waking, wearing

White light folded, sheathing about her, folded.
The new years walk, restoring

Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring

With a new verse the ancient rhyme. Redeem
The time. Redeem
The unread vision in the higher dream
While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.

The silent sister veiled in white and blue
Between the yews, behind the garden god,

Whose flute is breathless, bent her head and signed but spoke no word

But the fountain sprang up and the bird sang down
Redeem the time, redeem the dream

The token of the word unheard, unspoken

Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew
And after this our exile


If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken

Word is unspoken, unheard;

Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.

O my people, what have I done unto thee.
Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence

Not on the sea or on the islands, not

On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice

Will the veiled sister pray for
Those who walk in darkness, who chose thee and oppose thee,

Those who are torn on the horn between season and season, time and time, between

Hour and hour, word and word, power and power, those who wait
In darkness? Will the veiled sister pray
For children at the gate
Who will not go away and cannot pray:
Pray for those who chose and oppose

O my people, what have I done unto thee.
Will the veiled sister between the slender
Yew trees pray for those who offend her

And are terrified and cannot surrender

And affirm before the world and deny between the rocks
In the last desert before the last blue rocks
The desert in the garden the garden in the desert
Of drouth, spitting from the mouth the withered apple-seed.

O my people.


Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope

Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross

The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying

(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices

And the weak spirit quickens to rebel

For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth This is the time of tension between dying and birth The place of solitude where three dreams cross Between blue rocks But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood

Teach us to care and not to care

Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

'Ash-Wednesday', from Collected Poems 1909-1962 by T S Eliot, © T S Eliot 1963, Faber & Faber Limited