Monday, September 21, 2009

Harvest and Consecration

This poem, authored by Elizabeth Jennings (1926-2001), was brought to my attention by my colleague, David Lyle Jeffrey:

Harvest and Consecration

Elizabeth Jennings


After the heaped piles and the cornsheaves waiting

To be collected, gathered into barns,

After all fruits have burst their skins, the sating

Season cools and turns,

And then I think of something that you said

Of when you held the chalice and the bread.


I spoke of Mass and thought of it as close

To how a season feels which stirs and brings

Fire to the hearth, food to the hungry house

And strange, uncovered things --

God in a garden then in sheaves of corn

And the white bread a way to be reborn.


I thought of priest as midwife and as mother

Feeling the pain, feeling the pleasure too,

All opposites together,

Until you said no one could feel such passion

And still preserve the power of consecration.


And it is true. How cool the gold sheaves lie,

Rich without need to ask for more

Richness. The seed, the simple thing must die

If only to restore

Our faith in fruitful, hidden things. I see

The wine and bread protect our ecstasy.


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