Ash Wednesday, Matthew 6:1-6 and 16-21, Poetry

the cinder in my eye

(a poem for ash wednesday matthew 6:1-6 and 16-21)

i was pleased to be there
pleased with myself
pleased to be shiny and holy

i smiled

-perhaps i beamed-
lit up by the company of faithful
nearby to Jesus

many wednesdays have passed
ash or not
but that one sticks

it prickles

the preacher said
why are you smiling?
so holy! so pious!

why do you smile?

give your alms in secret
say your prayers in private

i felt it then
the cinder in my eye


i grieved, repented

but this wednesday
ashed or not
i remember

Jesus said
“do not look dismal”

so i wash my face
and when i see
the cinder in my eye

i don’t rub
i touch it gently
i lift it out

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