Ash Wednesday

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man’s gift and that man’s scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the agèd eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow,
for there is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessèd face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself
I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again

Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us
Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

– T.S.Eliot

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18273400174674296136 Susan Peterson

    This isn’t the whole poem, is it?Where is “Will the veiled sister pray/for those who will not go away but cannot pray?”SFP

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    This is only the first part.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01718162592660319087 Radical Catholic Mom

    I LOVE this part. I have it memorized because I find it so beautiful.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05227411938775535934 Jeffrey Smith

    Whoa. That’s powerful.


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