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Best Ash Wednesday Poems | Poetry

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The Best Ash Wednesday Poems

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Special Days

Special Days Written: by Tom Wright 4/13/2006 It seems that for almost everything We’ve set aside a special day. We recognize others for their work And sometimes for their play; There’s a day set aside for Mothers And likewise for Fathers too; I’m sure that in this hodgepodge There’s one that will cover you. There’s a day to honor our Veterans, Our police, firemen and teachers; A National Fan Day even exists For those who fill the bleachers. There is New Years, and Ash Wednesday, And Saint Valentine’s Day too. And yes, the hard working Secretary At last has been given her due. We honor a few past Presidents, Palm Sunday and beginning of Lent; Our calendar has gotten so crowded But Easter Sunday is time well spent. We’ve Christmas, and Thanksgiving And we recognize Flag Day too. Then there’s Martin Luther King Day And I suspect for a Boy Named Sue. Armed forces and Daylight Savings Each has their very own day. Labor Day and Columbus too Are remembered in this special way; We’ve Election Day, and Bosses Day, We honor the Devil on Halloween. And then there’s old St. Patrick’s For the donning of the green; There’s Boxing Day and Yom Kipper And the gobs between I’ve missed. That I classify as the minor ones I could name if you should insist. Birthdays, and Anniversaries, We treat really special too. With all these days to remember Just what is a guy to do? Even old Phil the Ground Hog His day has long been real. It’s enough to cause a country boy To shout, Hey, what’s the deal?

Copyright © Tom Wright | Year Posted 2015

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Bittersweet Journey

Nine years a stranger in a strange land
     Travelling to my island in the sun;
A native son returning a native strand
     Where the journey had all begun

So we by the grace of God survived
     The thrust and roar of engines loud;
Upon Bee Wee silver wings we dived 
     Into that misty archipelago cloud

Piarco tarmac on grassy plains below
     Soon upon the trail of Queen's Park;
Charting the maps of time long ago -
    'Twas late and the boulevard was dark

The Banyan trees, the rustling palms,
     Glow of that bright calypso moon;
To my soul a succour its island balms
     And balmy breezes a gentle boon

Down the Churchill-Roosevelt to the sea
     Beetham shanties and LaBasse go by;
But 'twas Port of Spain's restless quay
     That conspired to grab my roving eye

Fishing boats off the high seas berth
     Her old clamorous city docks and pier;
The Gulf of Paria's sleepy channel firth -
     And's Independence Square

Upon the corner of Sweet Briar and Gray
     Where as a boy I played in the rain;
Waking by carol song on Christmas Day,
     And hearken, Greyfriar's sweet refrain

See ancient Savannah parched and bare
     Tormented by season's blazing sun;
Yonder hazy hilltop ridges no better fare
     But soon the rains will in deluge come

Over blustery Northern Straits we flew
     To Buccoo Reef and blue island coral;
Tobago's Crusoe shores came we to view
     With her verdant hills rich and floral

Upon the Coast Road to Maracas Bay
     Drinking a fool's fill by the fire's flame;
But I was seventeen almost to the day,
     And at seventeen I was always game

I met a lass whose eyes through me tore,
     More lovely than words can convey:
Beauty I've not known since or before,
     I'd like to remember her this way

Fondly I gaze the dormant Oval grounds
     Rapturous but for a short lived respite;
At my window did roar out the sounds
     Of steelband and parang in the night

With February upon us quickly I fear -
     Carnival's sleeping tribes awakened;
I had no costume, no robes to wear,
     Yet my burning spirit was unshaken

Behold on Jouvay morn at break of light
     Spilled hordes out of Sparrow's tent;
Revellers in the streets day and night
   Till Last Lap, Ash Wednesday and Lent

But our time here had drawn to an end,
      And leaving again bittersweet to me.
Saddened alas but my heart does mend,
     For what once was can never again be



                    May 1992

Copyright © Keith Trestrail | Year Posted 2014

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Lenten Reflection

Self-denial is the doorway
that leads us closer to God.
To lose oneself is to gain
a deeper intimacy with Christ.

Self-doubt is the window 
through which the devil
makes his entrance.

3/9/11  Ash Wednesday

Copyright © Ellen Fahey | Year Posted 2011

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Ash Wednesday reminds vain man
That each must slay false pride's ascend.

This day we note a pious practice
Once learnt by rote in simple gist.

Man is mere dust that is alive
In a brief trust, by grace to thrive.

An ancient lore bears repeating:
From times before, repentance flings.

Man is imaged in God's likeness,
In brief passage till end brightness.

A Christian rite and clear ritual,
Ash cross we write on head visual.

A sign to show we remember
The tact each knows from dust embers.

We come from dust, to dust return;
Life here is trust that love now churns.

This Lent we think upon the way;
The path that links tidings that stay.

Forty days we reflect on deeds,
Look deep to see, atone for weeds.

A change of heart and will and mind;
Let penance start to seek and find.

A change of pace and touch and feel;
To await grace to cleanse and heal.

A change of sight from earthly things;
To see new light, sense Spirit's sling.

We, each must pass from muddy stores
To pristine grass in soul's kind shores.

A certain call springs to each soul:
To bear and bring a new zest whole.

Here as we stand on thresholds clear,
Our Lenten trends groom faithful cheer.

Now each man frames the path to take;
Heed inner flame to rise awake.

Aware of need, each heeds belief,
Feel truth that seeds what soul perceives.

The Christ said: "Choose your new life..."
The road is made beyond man's strife!

The middle way is for all men:
Each soul must stay with inspired span.

Come then with heart attuned to grace,
Let each man start to live love's space.

Love calls to each to gather now;
To touch and reach to glimpse endow.

We, each must learn to love and act;
Love that we yearn answers love's pact.

From dust we come, to dust the end;
Live love's sweet sum in daily trend.

Leon Enriquez
18 Apr 2014

Copyright © Leon Enriquez | Year Posted 2014

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A New Reality

(Another very old, slightly tweaked, piece from childhood)

"Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still..."
    T.S. Eliot, "Ash Wednesday"

When, drop by drop, slice by slice,
the wine and bread, body and blood,
are totally consumed -- when Unknown's
fantasies smash against the rock of Truth --
when medicine ball heads are obsolete
and emancipation's dream materializes,
when the age of majority is attained,
and playthings are put away in Mind's attic --
foibles and fables stored with childhood mementos --
then; perhaps then!

Copyright © Leo Larry Amadore | Year Posted 2016

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Ash Wednesday

confronted with the truth
I scurried in my ashes

searching for reasons
reasons I was spared

light came slowly
beckoning my soul

"walk with me" He said
"I'll tell you a story-
I hope you have time
your remaining life
it will take to tell"

listening each day
wonders await me

pictures seem fuzzy
then slowly reveal

His path filled with glory!

                       and beckoning


© All Rights Reserved

Copyright © James Marshall Goff | Year Posted 2012

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Ash Wednesday

Finally went to church today-Ash Wednesday
I went for company, communion and to pray
Liked the new people, what priest had to say
I really felt like I was forgiven for sins today

It used to be only God, hard to get Jesus into
My life and prayers, now it's bound like sinew
For money owed, no longer feel a need to sue
All's forgiven. Still talk to Bruce and sister Sue

Everytime attend church, learn something new
Everyday I pray alone, today was I born anew 
I will go again, really enjoyed myself, the brew
Was wine in a silver cup with bread pieces new

Dipped into the wine and eaten with the others
Fellowship in God's love with sisters & brothers
Told female priest -  many fathers and mothers
Baptized/confirmed Episcopalian and my mother

Sang in her Episcopal church, so sweet a voice
Larry dropped me off/picked me up, his choice
No singing, just prayer and sermon - REJOICE
When Jesus so returns -  Will I hear his voice?

As I do every night, I will pray for redemption
I believe it will be later in the souls convention
I will see my beloved brother, parents, baby
I will go to Heaven all around us, just maybe

Copyright © June Ellen Smith | Year Posted 2010

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He traveled down from Arkansas,
To New Orleans, for Mardi Gras.
"One evening of abandonment,"
That's what his trusted friends say,
"He frolicked on Fat Tuesday night,
And repented on Ash Wednesday."            

Copyright © William Robinson | Year Posted 2005

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A Touch of Grace

faith fills our hearts with love as sun through stained glass creates a different aura for each member of the congregation just forty days before the Son rises on Easter we move in procession, seeking the pastor's blessings Ash Wednesday is but a symbolic reminder our Savior took human form sacrificing, suffering and knowing of His fate all so we might have a touch of God's grace

Copyright © Carolyn Devonshire | Year Posted 2012

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A Lenten Dirge

A Lenten Dirge

Ash Wednesday I saw Quinn again,
first time in years, sailing the streets,
weaving through people,
his collar up, his head cocked, his arms
like telephone poles sunk
in the pockets of his overcoat,
the brilliant pennants of his long red hair
waving over the stadium
where years ago he took my handoff,
bucked off guard, broke two tackles,
found the free field and heaved
like a bison into the end zone.
Today, when Quinn wove by me muttering,
I should have handed him the ball
and yelled, “Go, Quinn, go!”
With the crowd on its feet,
he'd stiff-arm the lamppost,
take the free field in stride,
leave all in his wake to gawk
till he hit the end zone
and circled the goal posts,
whooping and laughing,
flinging the ball like a spear
over the cross-bar, into Iraq.

Donal Mahoney

published in print at
The National Catholic Reporter 
115 E. Armour Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64111-1203
March 6, 2009

Copyright © Donal Mahoney | Year Posted 2010

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Give me two in one,
Like shower gel and Shampoo,
Like Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s.

Rain dripped from my cap today,
It dripped back into my boyhood,
A different cap but the same cold drip,

Two in one, me and the boy, 
Walking the same, on a road.
Thinking the same – almost.

What’s really different now?
Nothing much I guess?
The indifferent drizzle is the same.

Give me two in one,
Like then and now,
Like Ash Today; and tomorrow Roses.

©dbyrne feb 2013 

Copyright © David Byrne | Year Posted 2013

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Opt to see truth with keen eyes sound,
Note dust from dust our common state.
Ask to know proof as feelings ground,
Sense what to trust through spheres of fate;
Heed the call now to know what's right.
Work then dear soul the path faith takes,
Embrace just how love brings insight;
Do work most whole the change you make,
Now is the time to check and see;
Etch heart and mind to forge anew,
Sense then clear chimes for you and me;
Do seek and find love that calls you,
Allow heart scope to cleanse and heal,
Yield faith and hope to love's goodwill.

Leon Enriquez
09 February 2016

Copyright © Leon Enriquez | Year Posted 2016

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These were letters written in tablets of blood
We wrote the pains of yesterday today wittily 
On this seaside of swaying embargo of tablets

She was the song swept in pity and cruelty 
Daring the concubines that surround mother earth
She shared piles of honest sorrows in the street

When smoke of lies corrupted our honesty
We became captives of earthly idols to rule
Slaying bundles of watery hopes in our hands

For flesh was the demon that deceived
Our blood, the host empire sagging evil
Folly of today harbored crime of tomorrow
In sand of time have we seen this flesh 
Where water occupied the trinity of our being
Rays of light paddled off boats that guide lives

She cooked for all to eat and dance
They ended up slaying her into the pot
Exit the tortoise from its shell and cooked another lie

For her testimonies of the saints roared 
Armed and naked, cruelled and shallowed
they made honey through their sinful mouth
Till this very end, we’ll have this palm frond
Till another ash Wednesday to mourn her
For these tablets are full of deceitful truth
When she was younger and tender at heart
She showered her pink happiness to lips
Dressing emptiness to renew the wind

We are windows of thought to her soul
Dreams of new breeds, damaged in a
Satirical veracity that makes spirit ponders

For her flesh covered us in dusk and nightfall
Her blood, a sacrificial substance to the believers
Like the peacock, she spread her feather to protect

Africa is the genesis of mankind and evolution
She came yesterday with a song in her throat 
Here was the photography of our dreams she held
When she told of a neighbor who killed with mouth

For this diamond called home and house
Would not exit us through shadows and ashes
Through visible weightless wind among trees

Dust became grains in our eyes when she fell
People made others virgin of an oily wanderers 
Ronin and roving like dark armless sinister

When she looks at her children, time looses 
Concentration; staked and unbalanced to her
The flower may have lost a home to the wind
Depictions of bones, broken in families of lovers

Finding her children in a broken home of the past
Skulls scattered like grains of millets in the forest
Spirits wore bodies of new traveler to invade into
The emptiness that generated fouled originality

For flesh and blood, we would match forward
The rivers flowing out from our eyes would ceased
Africa is a green plant in the eyes of children 
Who killed her? Who damaged her fleshy thought?

Copyright © john chizoba vincent | Year Posted 2017

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Grace for Ash Wednesday


                            We pray to you LORD this Ash Wednesday,

                            To thank you for this hoard of plenty,
                            For us to be charitable to those not so

                            Well possessed of the world's largesse.

Copyright © Peter Dorr | Year Posted 2014

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On Ash Wednesday

As many Catholics make a trip to church
on this particular day which marks the beginning –
Lent, in its threshold of another liturgical event,
they wear that smudge on their foreheads.

This calls everyone to a conversion journey
it means turning to all who suffer in their lives;
fasting and praying and giving alms to the poor,
form the essence of what Lent really means.
A particular discipline especially in prayer
provides a continuum in God’s focusing;
it’s something that shapes us from within
a constant encounter with His divine presence.

Sackcloth and ashes are signs of repentance,
like those incidents with some prophets
such as Isaiah , Daniel , Joel , Jonah , or Judith 
in their quest for a life worthy of God’s grace.

It’s a season of renewal as baptized Christians,
a reminder of our nature as mortal ones,
our identity that embraces to come to a fuller life
in the life of Christ who gifts us his love.

Described as a community of sinners,
with its strong need of repentance and understanding,
this event of Ash Wednesday that leads us to pray –
in our journey of conversion and transfiguration;
brings us to new life and closeness to Easter celebration.

Copyright © mark escobar | Year Posted 2012

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Rossetti-quatrain prayer

Dear Lord,dear Lord,be with me still
Holy Spirit,today refill
each word I speak and step I take-
      Is now,Your will

Dear Lord,dear Lord,be with me still
Lord Jesus,show me,now your will
as this disciple,follows your steps-
Come now,refill

form after style of Christina Rossetti- Ash Wednesday

Copyright © Brian Strand | Year Posted 2011

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Ash Wednesday

The palm crosses burned, ashes and oil, anointed
On the foreheads in snapshots and video stills,
Surrendering everything in my memorials,
Of her, submitted, the tatters and fragments.
The soft focus flesh and delectable smile,
Hair sweetly tousled, brushing cheek and shoulder,
Freckles on cleavage, faint and appealing,
Her breath frozen still, scented with jasmine.
Let something, one thing, remain, please.
Pennant spiked in the brain as a moon flag,
Claiming a clandestine spot, a crater of belonging,
A broach clasped onto the heartache lapel.
Giving up, the penance of love unrequited,
When the ashes and oil dry to dispersion,
And cast their molecules to the windswept palms,
Beyond lost horizons, out of sight and mind.

Copyright © Tony Bush | Year Posted 2006

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Brunch on Easter Morning

Easter Brunch is a big deal
in the metropolis where Fred lives.
Restaurants run their ads 
Ash Wednesday through Good Friday.

Years ago brunch began at 11 
for Catholics coming out of Mass. 
Protestants arrived at noon or so 
depending on the sermon.

Back then everyone dressed up  
in Sunday suits and Easter bonnets.
Children had on brand new outfits.
But Fred says Easter Brunch this year 

started at 9 and no dress code prevailed. 
Church was not on everyone’s agenda.
The weather was sunny and nice.
Shorts and sandals sufficed.

Donal Mahoney

Copyright © Donal Mahoney | Year Posted 2017

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Ash Wednesday

Leaves from palm trees burn,
Die into black ash. 

Like these leaves move from life,
To death, the lamb of heaven is slayed. 

The light of the world, 
Extinguished by his created world. 

His precious blood spilt, 
His anointed head crowned with a thorny crown.

Ashes from ashes, dust from dust, 
To ash and dust I shall return. 

My wish is that I may make it to heaven,
On today, the day, ash Wednesday.

Copyright © Kudzai Mhangwa | Year Posted 2017

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Ashes to Ashes, a Hutinashro

Ash Wednesday, one day to reflect
why Christ our souls would resurrect.
Good it is to be in accord,
time spent in fasting and prayer,
repenting of sin and despair.
Good that forgiveness is implored,
not fearing fickle consequence
or flaunting lack of confidence.
Good, relationships are restored 
between servant and the Master,
triumph instead of disaster.
Good is one day spent with the Lord.

Ash Wednesday, one day to reflect,
any Wednesday in retrospect.
Better to find a church with worth
where there are friends who’ll help you cope
worshiping One who brings new hope.
Better for you God’s truth unearth -
studying the Scriptures with friends,
learning God’s wisdom never ends.
Better to know in wealth or dearth,
your faith in God is paramount;
note circumstances do not count.
Better in time, discern re-birth.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust!
Best done daily, thank God for Christ;
realize He’s One you can trust.

written May 11, 2018
contest:  Hutinashro, my First Contest, by Connor Lotts

Copyright © Reason A. Poteet | Year Posted 2018

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FEBRUARY 14th, 2018 was Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day. A meaningful day, a day where happiness is found in exchanging flowers and cards. A day that lightens up the workload of school. Fun for students and teachers. A day where some show up with ashes on the forehead to signify the beginning of Lent and 40 days from Resurrection Sunday. A day where one lone gunman decides to rob families of their joy. The final line is to say our system failed. 


a day of fragile hearts and ash faces
love and hate in eyeball stare —
again our children failed


Copyright © Kim Rodrigues | Year Posted 2018

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Ask to know truth as dust funds dust,
Sense a deep feel of joy that binds;
Heed love's sure proof in poise you trust.
Watch how touch heals true face you find,

Etch a pure zest that frames bold quest,
Dream of good times that outlast bad;
Note how time tests that primal fest,
Endow fond chimes when things go mad;

Stillness in poise can counter pain,
Deep dazzle dear can make you blind;
Attest clear choice to anchor gain,
Yes sounds most clear when heart knows mind;

Trust in the way love brings new light,
Hurl warm feelings in a deep vein;
Opt to obey that calm insight,
Urge bold living in style laid plain;

Great is the trip on journey road,
Heap happy here where fashion greets;
Taste sparkles grip as soul bears loads,
Swift mellow cheer new flavours meet.

Leon Enriquez
31 March 2018

Copyright © Leon Enriquez | Year Posted 2018