Posted by: Mark Nielsen | April 20, 2009

Ordinary Time (an original poem)

  Ordinary Time                                                        by Mark Nielsen,     April 20, 2009

From the former Warrenville Cenacle Retreat Center (land sold to DuPage County Forest Preserve, summer 2008)

From the former Warrenville Cenacle Retreat Center (land sold to DuPage County Forest Preserve, summer 2008)

 

 

 

Hands cold,

having been used as tools

in the wet soil of a spring garden

waiting to push up its blooms.

 

Heart warming,

having just ended the ashen journey

and a winter of discontent.

 

Yet it is still a brief time of waiting:

the ending before the beginning.

 

This soil,

these barely green branches,

lilac and lilies wait to send their scent–

the soil sighs with relief,

impatience,

as new life strains to break through.

 

I, too, am waiting.

Not the joyful wait for the first birth,

but the nervous wait for the second.

I await the Spirit,

and the fireworks flowering

to introduce our Ordinary Time.

 

“Go,”

I was told by his messenger

just the other day.

“He is going ahead of you.

There you will see him, just as he told you.”

 

And yet I also remember:

“Stay in the city

until you have been clothed with power.”

This, one of the last things he himself said.

And so I await the colorful clothing

that these my humble sisters in green

will soon put on as a signal to go.

 

While I wait,

I will make my heart naked–

utterly exposed to the Spirit,

not turning away,

heart now washed of its shame and grief.

For even now,

my glorious traveling clothes are being woven,

nearly complete.

 

  


Responses

  1. I like the last stanza especially. And bits of this make me think of T.S. Eliot, although I can’t really analyze why.

    • Yes, I had some similar lines from Eliot in the back of my head when I wrote “brief time of waiting: the ending before the beginning”. Probably because Ash Wednesday is sunk so deep in my psyche by now that I end up aping the man. Oh well, …I could be copying much worse poetry!
      And yes, the ending is clearly the “payoff”. In the writing of the poem, it all led to a bit of a reverie when I “discovered” those last lines… which had not been part of my thoughts when I sat down to write.


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