Art and LiteraturePoetry

Rising from Ruin

Ash Wednesday Reflections


Tonight, ashes smear
Across my face
From priest’s thumb—
Sin’s dark drear
Mingled with oil
Leaves a smudge
On my skin
And my soul

Last year’s palms
Burn deep upon
My flesh and
In my memory—
All I see
Is ashen, grey,
Charred remains of
Promises and dreams

I peer inside
At my soul
Crumbling to coals
Dead and lifeless—
Not a spark
Or an ember
Of élan appears
To be there

Am I hopeless
In this heap
Of fine silt?
In brittle remains
Of others’ sins
And my own?
No, please, God,
Be my Hope.

From the dust
Sizzles a flame
Tracing the shape
Of burning wings—
From the ashes
Emerges a head
Fiery Phoenix: arise!

Resurrecting from ruin
Flames a Phoenix—
Jesus, the Redeemer,
Myth become Fact,
The Holy One,
Burning up sin,
Breathing His life
Into dead places

Last year’s ashes
Smear across skin—
Dreams and promises
Broken by evil
Are not all
That there is;
The Phoenix rises,
Hope still lives!

Healing can come,
Lives be redeemed,
Faith be reforged,
Truth grant freedom—
The locust years
Can be uneaten
And all things
Be made well.




Image Credit:

Johanna Byrkett

Johanna Byrkett

Johanna (Jody) Byrkett enjoys hiking various types of terrain, foggy mornings and steaming mugs of tea, reading classic literature and theological essays, studying words and their origins, and practising the art of hospitality. (She also has the singularly annoying habit of spelling things 'Britishly'.)

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