Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Approaching Lent

I suspect that many of us for whose lives the desert has become a primary metaphor have spent time contemplating Jesus' sojourn there as depicted in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.  This poem was unknown to me until this morning; I'm grateful to have discovered it.

Lent Darkness

Dragons lurk in desert spaces
Penetrating the mind with evil claw.
Serpent’s teeth seek out the chinks
insidiously, relentlessly, gnawing on the bone;
searching out the interstices of muscle and sinew.
Such is the pain of the wilderness.
Alone, alone, alone,
Christ sits
in the waste place of abandoned pleas and questions
until exhausted
at last
the realisation
that in the end
there is only
In the night-time of our fears
in the present reality of abandonment
when family and friends
turn and run,
be present, ever present God.
Be present with those
camped out in the fields of hopelessness
with refugees and homeless,
those who live lives of quiet desperation.
Be present until the desert places
blossom like the rose
and hope is born again.

– Kathy Galloway (ed.), The Pattern of Our Days: Liturgies and Resources for Worship (Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications, 1996), 130.

Kathy Galloway was the leader of the Iona Community when our church group spent a  week there five summers ago (I don't think she was there at the time).

 HT to Jason Goroncy at Per Crucem ad Lucem

Image: The hillside Columba climbed when he arrived on Iona in 563 CE and, according to legend, wanted to be assured, in his own loneliness and despair, that he would not have to see Ireland across the sea again. (In truth, he probably continued to travel back and forth.) (July 2006 photo)


  1. Poetry, and poetry to music, help express sorrow and loss better than anything else. I like this one, as well. It gives hope.

  2. I have this book but don't remember ever noticing the power of this poem before, think I will repost it... Thanks for sharing it, I have enjoyed reading some of your recent posts too.