Priest Poem

Lenten Incense

The boy kneels as the Father prods the coals
that glower in the thurible. The gray
ash sticks, then crumbles, shifts and falls away.
The embers surge orange before the granules,
like tiny jewels, are spooned onto the fire.
It is a simple ritual—almost quaint–
done with ancient courtesy and restraint.
In the burnt brass bowl, like a little pyre,
the fire and fuel co-mingle and produce
a waft of smoke that lifts to curl and cling,
and break the chains of human suffering.
It’s a burnt offering; Pentecost– A bush
blazing in the desert where I roam.
It’s the smoke on Sinai; the still, small voice–

and the sweet, cloudy pillar that leads me home.

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  • I like this, I’ll have to run it past Christian as well.

  • Jeron

    Who doesn’t love incense? I say the more the better!

  • I love incense, too, but I’m reminded of a story. My father, a non-practising Protestant from a Catholic family ( My mother was a non-practising Catholic from a Protestant family. ), hated the smell of incense. Back in the mid 60’s, one of my cousins was married in a Byzantine Catholic church. Full procession to the altar. The altarboy with the censer managed to swing it about a foot from my father’s nose. Poor man almost passed out.

  • Our parish goes light on incense because too many people start wheezing! Apparently problematic for people with allergies and asthma. (These same folks, of course, step outside the parish hall during coffee hour to burn a fag.)

  • I’m suspicious of people who don’t like incense because I know the devil doesn’t like the stuff. It makes me wonder who’s really doing the coughing.