Saturday after Ash Wednesday

“Lord, open my lips,” I sing, “open my lips,
that my mouth may proclaim your praise,”
my breviary wind-whipped, rain-soaked
and my prayer the prey of the gales.
I sing psalms from the narrow place:
He answers from wide spaces
in the hush between gust-bursts,
in the patterns he paints on the face of the waters
and the cats’-chase down in the fields.

“Con chiên cua Chúa,” they sing: “Lamb of God,
who take away the sins of the world,”
one voice which calls from one end of the earth to the other,
southeast Asia to southeast Portland
and my brother’s heart to mine,
because I hear the smile in his voice
as he says in Vietnamese to the Only Begotten One
“I am not worthy,”
and I whisper with him: “non sum dignus”
in the face of such a golden rapture.

“Pray for us,” we sing, “mother of God,
pray for us, that we may be made worthy,”
a few voices badly out of tune,
a few hearts wounded by love in the deep-dark:
but she can hear the smile in our voices
and we can see her smiling back at us
in that precious luminescence
of heart in tune with heart
in tune with Heart.

This is day 4 of Labia Munda, a series of forty poems during the forty days of Lent. 


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