Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent is tomorrow and I came across this poem by T.S. Eliot called “Ash-Wednesday”, which is the first long poem written by T. S. Eliot after his conversion to Anglicanism (or the Church of England) in 1927. The entire poem was a big long for one blog post so I have made it available here in a pdf: Ash-Wednesday by T.S. Eliot if you want to read the entire poem. The full text can also be found at this website. I love how it ends:
Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still Even among these rocks, Our peace in His will And even among these rocks Sister, mother And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea, Suffer me not to be separated And let my cry come unto Thee.
This is an interesting poem by T.S. Eliot. It straddles the line between secular and Christian poetry but opens the door for his later “Christian” poems. He shows the need for God, his lack of hope for everything in the world, and how “unworthy” we are when we come to God in our natural sinful state. A background reading of the book of Ezekiel would be a good idea prior to reading “Ash-Wednesday” as some who have analysed the poem far more than I have said it helps in a more full understanding of the poem.
I would love to hear how you or your church is observing Ash Wednesday and Lent this year. I’m looking forward to this time of reflection myself.