Free verse poem in anticipation of the first Sunday in Advent, 2017

No pristine altar cloths here.
Only 10 school shirts, mostly white
(brown around the second-hand collars won’t come off),
which he irons with the care of a sacristan.

The Ikea lamp is a little wonky
and not the best for reading by
but does the job as good as a red one to signal that
someone is here.

No bells either. I yelled the call to dinner a few times, does that count?
“Where’s the candle wreath?” The purple hurricane will have to do.

They bring me empty plates in offertory procession.
Steam will pour from the dishwasher later just like the incense
in me, hidden longer and more secretly than the children were.
Except it’s only in the form of little pebbles yet,
the full force of a Magnificat waiting for release.

I genuflect everywhere, happily or not.
To catch whispers and hugs, tears and bathwater,
and pick up a thousand graces from the floor.
Leaves torn from my favourite peace lily
By the little one (wilful one!) out of spite.
Again? Why?? I don’t remember.

Rushed bedtime prayers, “Don’t forget your last wee!”
I probably need a confessional, but there’s only the spot where we two sit
after bedtime, exhausted.
Oh, and the teenager by the Christmas tree,
trying to look invisible.

Stay awake?
Ok, but not too alert maybe
You need to vivify us again

But God is not here!
And of course he is here.
Among the latest retreat wisdom:
‘There’s no good or bad in what happens but how we see it.’

I know how I want to see it:
Everything is in order in this house tonight.
And God is coming to light me and I don’t know when.

peace lily.jpg


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