Borrowed Ashes Lent
What’s your fire, the force 
that empties you to ash?
The options are only two: 
both fear and love consumes; 
it’s up to you to choose. 

The wood of this cross 
goes up in dancing flames 
and after the forest burns 
wildflowers first return 
and seeds of dead trees open. 

Burnt our broken dreams 
and signed upon our foreheads 
to remind us who we’ll be 
when we get to where we left. 

Fire throws its light 
on faces that see faith 
everywhere is everything 
raised an aching offering 
raised on fractured wings. 

Help us wait and pray 
then help us pray to wait, 
for we’re too deadly quick 
to ease the slightest itch 
while deeper wounds go missed. 

At night desert cold 
invades speechless stars 
to this a savior’s sent 
to this the Spirit sends 
to this the world is lent.

A video musical reflection of this poem is found here -

Greg Kennedy, SJ works as a spiritual director at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre in Guelph, Ontario. He is author of Reupholstered Psalms volumes I, II, and III; and Amazing Friendships between Animals and Saints (Novalis Press).

  • Grace Colella
    Posted at 01:32h, 19 February Reply

    My favourite lines are: “both fear and love consumes; it’s up to you to choose” and
    “for we’re too deadly quick to ease the slightest itch, while deeper wounds go missed”

  • JYC
    Posted at 02:38h, 19 February Reply

    Thank you Greg for a twin-gift of poem and song : )

  • graeme quinlan
    Posted at 05:39h, 19 February Reply

    “To this world we are lent,” one of the lines of the song that struck me . It means we are here on God’s time. Therefore, it is up to us to make the best of out time here.Our life can be made . It can be broken and it can be healed.When we received the ashes of renunciation of our worldly sinfulness . May we get to where we left.And return to Him who bought us here.

  • Peter Chouinard
    Posted at 07:01h, 19 February Reply

    Wonderful poem Greg! I didn’t see anywhere to access the music video.

    • CJ Martin
      Posted at 23:27h, 08 September Reply

      Peter – click the word “here.” 🙂

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 14:26h, 19 February Reply

    Thank you very much Greg!

  • Eric Jensen
    Posted at 16:17h, 20 February Reply

    One of your best, Greg!
    Great closing line!

    Correction: both fear and love consume

Post A Comment

Subscribe to igNation

Subscribe to receive our latest articles delivered right to your inbox!