Ash Wednesday – a poem

Ash Wednesday.

A mark upon the brow, drawn with ash.

“Remember Thou, O soul, that thy body is dust
and unto dust it shall return.”

Feel this moment, here and now – notice;

Souls are produced and reprocessed,

in the world.Every other moment extinct.

At birth receiving features alien to

his own, Man daily looks in the mirror and

sees nothing but the world.

Sight approaching not himself but his


Man goes soul-searching

all his life-long time, and upon the last

gasp for a breath he never had – he

suffers in proxy for the death of a dream

impressed upon him at his arrival into

flesh. So grieves Man the loss of his borrowed

part; of spittle, breath and clay – an edifice,

a fabrication, wrought tightly around his

form, lest he looks and finds himself,

naked and unembellished.

Man is anasthetized – when he surfaced to

consciousness, it was only to be instructed

to count backwards from ten.

Such oblivion rarely contrasted in

the light of day, we have grown to

love the shadows dancing over our

walls, the safety of darkness bringing

sophoric memories to life.

Lord, I am gratitude, because when you planted me,

you planted me in good earth.

The soil pressing against my protective shell,

and the kernel within –

against which all soul and spirit lives and

moves, in contradistinction, in contrast,

in dissolving it without dissolving themselves.

To the prophet Isaiah a soft whisper attracted

by his disrepair and mourning over invisible

vanities, met his inner ear “Be still and know

that I am God” – such stillness is like cold ashes

, remains of the last great pyre, bereft of all but

essentials decomposed and unformed; a simplicity

left at the ascent of all moisture, quintessential calm.

With the deluge the world forgoed by water, life

suffocating life.. with this great fire, each particular

expires in a rapture unspoken of, again the world ends

only to loose itself completely to the battlements and

enclosures of a New Jerusalem.

In such garments, supernaturally black, may a soul

awaken to itself and see the world`s departure before

its sight, like a dark cloud dispersed and annihilated

by the piercing rays of a new sun. As interior meets

exterior – a twin of one essence embracing and kissing,

its lack of light receives light completely and the dark

sash becomes a luminous robe. The soul seats itself

in the garden with its companion, and draws with it its very

first breath.

@ copyright Terje Dahl Bergersen 2004