Lent is a tree without blossom, without leaf,
Better than blackthorn in its winter sleep,
All unadorned. Unlike Christmas which decrees
The setting-up, the dressing-up of trees.
Lent is a taking down, a stripping bare,
A starkness after all has been withdrawn
Of surplus and superfluous,
Leaving no hiding place, only emptiness
Between black branches, a most precious space
Before the leaf, before the time of flowers;
Lest we should see only the leaf, the flower,
Lest we should miss the stars.
Sightseers into Pilgrims
I used to think –
loving life so greatly –
that to die would be
like leaving a party
before the end.
Now I know that the party
is really happening
that the light and the music –
escaping in snatches
to make the pulse beat
and the tempo quicken –
come from a long way away.
And I know too
that when I get there
the music will never end.