All night we pour out bitumen;
by day we mark out new lanes, construct
the avenues of better days,
the now-not-yet of our ways.
We close our eyes before the promised land;
passed over, we pass over the times
when paddock became mill became smelter.
Not done with the smelter yet, and yet
when the day is done, we wash our feet
after kneeling and washing
the paths for all feet. This new command
we half-receive as ash turns firm as clay.
Fire is the colour of the eastbound sun
lighting the face of the dusty sky.
Ash is the colour of this roadwork black,
of tarmac where the plane lost flight.
Red is the colour of the traffic light,
gold the colour in the new day’s eye,
and ash to ash is this road we drive;
no dust be lost today.
Well, as Easter week draws to a close so does my series of Lenten and Easter reflections. But Easter season continues for some weeks now, and my prayer is that we can all use this season to remind ourselves of what is a daily truth: that God’s people are a resurrection people.
Here, to bring the project to a close, is the whole sequence of poems, collated as “Remember our dust: Poems for Lent and Easter Week”, with the final poem – today’s poem – included at the end. I hope and pray that it can be a blessing to all of you as you read it.
Rock-hard hearts: stone rolled away;
see God shake us in His way.
Unseeing eyes: look and know;
cast off doubt at heaven’s show.
Fearful feet: stop and see
the empty tomb, the mystery.
Dust-born flesh: He knows and heals.
The heavens ring with Easter peals…
And all our stony, ashen flesh
is changed now in His endlessness.
Grain’s sown in soil to make us bread;
Man shall not live by bread alone.
The kingdoms of the earth are dust;
The Son of Heaven left His throne.
Our bones are brittle and will break;
All of your bones will stay in place.
The earth has cliffs to claim our lives.
My heart says of You, Seek His face!
The desert eats for forty days;
Yet He will guard You with His wings.
O God, remember: we are dust;
Beneath Your wings, we sing.
The soil says that we are dust;
In dust and soil we stand.
A voice from in the wilderness
Calls out, Prepare the way…
In dust a child lays its head,
In sawdust whittles wood
And takes on ash and dust for us
And washes in the sea.
In ash and dust we wait for you;
Our soiled souls now wait.
You take our ash, you take our dust
And wash us as you bleed.